7 Surefire Ways to Gain More Credibility in the New Year

It’s the time of year where many of us are talking about what we want to lose–a few pounds, some bad habits, a toxic relationship. Today, I’m inviting you to consider what you have to gain– investing in a few key actions to improve your credibility and enhance your reputation.

7 Surefire Ways to Gain More Credibility in 2017

Focus on these behaviors, early and often to give your credibility a boost in the new year.

1. Admit a mistake.
No. not just a small one. I’m going to assume you do that every day. Is there a decision you regret? A strategic move that took the team down a rabbit hole? Or perhaps you let your personal stress bleed into your work, and were harsher in that meeting than necessary.

The truth is when you screw up, your team already knows. You’ll gain instantly credibility points by admitting it.

2. Stop doing something stupid.

I’ve yet to work with a company where folks couldn’t list the “stupid” things they are still doing for stupid reasons. Want credibility as a leader? Pick one of those things and figure out how to stop doing it. Your team will want to kiss you, and you’ll free up more time for them to work on their MITs (Most Important Things).

3. Take a stand.

I bet if I asked you to describe the leaders you most admire, or your favorite boss, we’d only be a few sentences in before you told me a story about them standing up for something that mattered.  Be that person. You know that thing you’re not saying because you’re too afraid? If it really matters, figure out a way to say it well.

4. Forgive a grudge.

I know. This is a hard one. But you know who you’ll gain the most credibility with if you can pull this off? Yourself. There’s huge value in knowing you’re the one that can take the high road and give someone a second chance.

5. Open a door.

The most credible leaders are ones who help people when they have nothing to gain. Building a reputation as a door-opener is a great way to catalyze credibility, not to mention karma.

6. Have a real conversation with your boss.

I was exchanging stories with an old boss the other day about times where we had found ourselves being the only ones having the tough conversations with our bosses. That audacity has served us both well over the years, and has helped me build the muscles I need to now be a successful consultant. There’s huge power and influence in being viewed as the person who will speak the ugly truth in a way people in power can hear it. Gain credibility by being the one who will own the ugly and work to make it better.

And guess what? If you do it well, your boss will start proactively coming to you asking for advice.

7. Rock your role.

Of course you can’t beat the credibility that comes from being ridiculously great at what you do. Show up every day with your A game. Give 10% more than is necessary to every task. Be constantly learning.

Credibility is built through small and consistent actions over time. Imagine the power of paying some extra deliberate attention to a few of these vital behaviors as you turbo-charge your career for the new year.

Posted in Career & Learning, Winning Well and tagged , .

Karin Hurt

Karin Hurt, Founder of Let’s Grow Leaders, helps leaders around the world achieve breakthrough results, without losing their soul. A former Verizon Wireless executive, she has over two decades of experience in sales, customer service, and HR. She was recently named on Inc's list of 100 Great Leadership Speakers and American Management Association's 50 Leaders to Watch. She’s the author of 3 books: Winning Well: A Manager's Guide to Getting Results-Without Losing Your Soul, Overcoming an Imperfect Boss, and Glowstone Peak.


  1. Excellent points on gaining credibility! I would add opening your heart and trying to see someone else’s perspective that may be different from your own. I recently partnered with a senior leader who was having a difficult time sharing his ideas. When I stopped judging and just listened to why he was so passionate about a concept we were able to roll out a great presentation.

    Thanks Karin! Happy new year with Winning Well!

    • Terri, Happy New Year! Thanks for sharing your experience and insight. Such an important addition.

  2. I love #2 “stop doing something stupid.” It’s amazing – yet true to human behavior – that people need permission to stop doing stupid things.

    However, I challenge the DETAILS of #7. I agree with it all EXCEPT giving 10% more than necessary to every task. 100% is 100%. Overdoing everything is a recipe for burnout. Today’s world is “do more with less.” If we’re overdoing things by 10%, by definition, waste is involved. Lean and Agile methodologies do not advocate waste. I get your point, and I’m being nitpicky here, so I hope to get bonus points for “owning the ugly.”

    • Thanks Major Giese. It’s interesting, my co-author, David, and I have this debate all the time. I hear you…. giving it to everything would lead to burnout…. but it’s amazing what going one step further than necessary for customers, for employees, for the project can do to create a “wow” factor.

  3. All of these are great points, Karin! I especially like this: “The truth is when you screw up, your team already knows. You’ll gain instantly credibility points by admitting it.” It is foolish to think that others don’t see our mistakes and to not admit them makes us even dumber. When I hear leaders making excuses for their mistakes or blaming others, it’s both a sign of immaturity and the ego taking over…

    • LaRae, Thanks so much for sharing your insights as always! Totally agree… not being able to admit your mistakes is often a sign of immaturity. Happy New Year!

  4. Great & remarkable points. Very logical & practical ways. “Admitting mistakes” & honesty solves many problems / issues. Yes…..Credibility can be earn by many acts…. but it can be lost by only one.They (followers) watch your actions not your lips.

    • Zafarmanzoor, Thanks so much. Happy New Year. You raise a good point, it’s so much easier to lose credibility than to rebuild it.

  5. I’m not going to lie, I always had trouble with #4; still do. I never let it get in the way of the work that needed to get done but one of my top 3 morality points is trustworthiness. If I can’t trust someone it’s hard to forget a grudge.

    I love the rest of them though, especially #3. If you don’t stand for something… you know the rest.

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