When you land a new gig, job number one is building credibility in that new job. There will be a lot of other activities you undertake in your first 90 days including cultural acclimation, learning new systems, andmeeting the team. However, gaining credibility early on can be the difference between wildly succeeding and struggling to keep up.
Credibility, also known as endorsement, can be earned quickly by possessing and showcasing five skills in the workplace. Once you’ve achieved credibility, you not only have the support of those who find you credible, by extension you have their resources at your disposal to help you succeed even more.
Credibility is a two-edged sword that can be equally good or bad. Just as having credibility is beneficial to a new employee, a lack of credibility can be disadvantageous. When you have people on your side, and the benefit of their resources, your job becomes much easier to perform.
Certain skills are essential for success, especially in trying to land those ever-important early wins. Having a certain competence for a job is paramount, but it is only part of the equation. Being a good communicator, asking for and acting on feedback, and having a positive outward appearance all play a role in establishing credibility. Surrounding oneself with key people is also essential for long term success.
Build credibility in a new job through competence
Certainly, having technical qualifications to do a job well is part of the equation but it’s not everything. Keeping up with changes in the way people get work done is important. For example, you may love Microsoft Word but may discover that converting to Google Docs gives you an interactivity with your co-workers that you just don’t have with Word. You have to be willing to adapt to new technology and new ways of doing things.
Having a plan will also help you achieve credibility early. Create a calendar and block off time for meetings, work sessions and study.
Competence shouldn’t be confused with knowledge. You don’t have to know everything, you just have to know where to find the information. If someone asks a question that you don’t have the answer to, admit you don’t know, but find the answer and follow up with that person. By performing this simple task, you will build credibility.
Anticipating future trends or simply staying one step ahead will help you own the day rather than allowing the day to own you. Practice proactivity and learn to predict what people will want and need in advance so you can be prepared to deliver - in advance! When you do, you become credible in their eyes.
Gain endorsement with stellar communication skills
Competence in communication is a critical skill to master. Some people prefer direct and concise communication while others prefer more details. Certain people use a lot of body language when they talk while others may be put off by communicating in this manner. Identifying these differences will help you communicate successfully with all types of personality types. While proper verbal communication is essential, it is just one style of communication to consider.
What does your written communication look like? Do you take the time to proofread your work to ensure it is correct? Do you use proper grammar and correct spelling? All of these factors add up to gaining credibility in the workplace.
Being proficient in the multimedia world can also build credibility. Use your social media network to gain and share information. Create the message that cuts through the clutter and captures people’s attention. Get comfortable in front of a camera or behind a microphone. The more ways you can be of value to your company, the more credibility you build.
Seek feedback at every turn
Sometimes, people feel asking for help is a sign of weakness. Quite to the contrary, asking for feedback shows maturity, intelligence and the willingness to learn.
Using the feedback to improve your work performance will not only make you a better worker, it will help you gain credibility with your co-workers. When a co-worker knows that you value their opinion, they will be more apt to share helpful hints to make you capable of performing at your best.
The key to accepting feedback is to never get defensive. The person giving the feedback is taking a risk by offering it in the first place, and if you show an openness to receive it, you will receive it more freely.
When you feel the feedback can benefit you, implement the advice into your daily work routine. In other words, take action! Always acknowledge the value of the feedback, even if you don’t adopt the recommended actions.
Dress for success
How do you project yourself with your appearance? Do you appear confident and in command? What does your body language say about you? When speaking with fellow employees, are you courteous and aware of your manners? Do you ask people how they are doing, and actually hear their response? What do your clothes say about you?
Everything having to do with your appearance sends a message, good or bad, about who you are. Be sure to send the right message because you get one chance to build credibility.
Select your office friends carefully
In any office there are top performers and hangers-on. By aligning yourself with the go-getters and top performers, you can learn by watching their example and be challenged to excel yourself.
Don’t just get by, be the best you can be. Successful people can teach the right way to do things and just by being in their presence you can pick up useful habits and best practices.
If you’re looking to build credibility, why not build it with the more successful people within your company? Build a great working relationship with your boss and your boss’s boss. Don’t be afraid to befriend the company president. It’s always good to have friends in high places.
How to achieve greater credibility
- Know yourself. By taking assessments, such as the DISC profile, you can learn the “how” behind the behaviors that you exhibit. These behaviors can point out strengths as well as areas of needed improvement. Once you understand how you behave, you can adapt that behavior to be most effective in the workplace.
- Know others. Once you understand how to interpret yourself, you can apply this construct in communicating optimally with your co-workers. Learn the words that work and, more importantly, words that don’t work, and be actively aware of these words when communicating to ensure you achieve your best results.
- Do something for others. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses and could benefit from your expertise. Be willing to lend a hand to help someone and they will be more likely to help you when you find yourself needing help. Go out of your way to pay it forward and, in doing so, rest assured you will build credibility.
When starting a new job, establishing credibility at work is critical. Building credibility quickly will help you not just survive, but thrive in your new career.