Want to know how to build and sustain credibility as an HR professional? Practice your communication so that it delivers the desired results that will allow you to be viewed as a credible resource. Does credibility of your function really even matter? It most certainly does. As a matter of fact, it matters for every function within an organization, regardless of the role you have within it. Here are just a couple of tips for you to establish, maintain, and become the trusted resource for providing credible information.
When someone asks for your assistance, listen to their request. Ascertain if it’s reasonable, and if the request isn’t “up your alley,” then redirect the person making the request accordingly to the accurate person or area. Don’t waste his or her time by providing vague answers or answers that you think are correct. However, if you choose to redirect the request, take that extra step to ensure the requestor has been given a response by doing a quick follow-up with the requestor. Keep in mind that any lack of further response from where the requestor was re-directed may provide the requestor with a negative perception of you. Do this a few times and your credibility perception will quickly, but subtly spread. Take the time to follow up. Appropriate follow-up builds credibility.
Don’t make promises you can’t deliver on. This sounds like a no-brainer but really, think before you speak. Don’t say anything affirmatively to anyone without having all of your facts straight then think you can simply retract it later on because you didn’t do the appropriate fact-finding. Don’t kid yourself. This erodes credibility in a big way as well.
If someone knows more about a certain topic than you do, don’t try to “one up” him with your knowledge. People are looking for you to deliver specialized expertise and advice to your organization for the information that you are most familiar with. If there’s even a hint or illusion that you don’t know what you are talking about, people will stop seeking guidance from you within your specialized area of knowledge or expertise. In some cases, they may even find a way to work around you. Allow others who are viewed as the experts in their field to apply their expertise. This is one of the hardest habits to break.
So what do you do about it? Well, we’ve all heard about 360-degree reviews, right? You’ll need to do this assessment on yourself. Start right away. Don’t ask your friend or your best colleague. They may not give you the honest, open feedback you need in an attempt to spare your feelings. Don’t ask your direct reports either. After all, you sign off on their reviews and hold a key to their future. Do you really think they will tell you what you don’t want to hear when it comes to this? You have a couple of choices here. You can seek the input of someone who others view as credible, not who you view as being credible and ask them for an honest assessment of what their honest perception is of your credibility and hope they give you the honest feedback. It’s advisable to tell them first that in order to become a better leader, there are always ways where one can improve upon themselves. So, since this is one area that you want to improve upon for yourself, you are soliciting their feedback and honest input. Or, you can just reflect upon yourself, admit you do these things and begin to change your behavior now.