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What is the Source of Your Credibility (or Lack Thereof)?

One of the things that consistently comes up in conversation during coaching and training is the moving target of credibility. How to get it… what to do if you don’t have it… and how much of it is needed.

And just like any other “power source” it helps to first understand the sources of credibility, or the lack thereof. Once we understand where it comes from, we can then start a conversation around how to get it, keep it and use it.

So where does it come from? The short answer is “many places,” including the following three critical areas:

  1. The things you inherit (such as from your organization, or the lasting impact of your predecessor);
  2. The elements of your position (such as title, seniority, experience or expertise);
  3. The things you do or have done (your reputation and how you treat people).

Think of these three areas — the inherited, the positional and the behavioral — as critical sources of credibility. True and powerful credibility comes when all three are aligned. In that scenario, there is nothing standing in the way for you, and you should have more than enough credibility to strengthen whatever it is you are working on.

But when any of those three areas is a source of low or nonexistent credibility, we will likely have a problem that must be overcome. And the sooner we realize it, the better off we will be. Because if we lack the awareness to realize we have a credibility deficit, and the source of that deficit, we are almost guaranteed to have a problem, and to bump into it.

So… when thinking about your own power as a communicator, spend some time thinking about your credibility. Be honest with yourself. And ask yourself the hard questions… am I credible in this scenario? If so, what is the source of my credibility? If not, what is the source of my deficit?

You may not always come up with complete answers, but communication success and true credibility start by being honest with ourselves.

Once we identify if we are strong or not, and the source of that strength or deficit, then, and only then, can we have a good conversation about what to do next.

Have a great day!

At The Latimer Group, we believe that great communication skills can change the world. We transform people and organizations with simple, repeatable techniques and mindsets. We teach persuasive communication skills through an integrated platform of corporate training, coaching, and eLearning. To learn more about how we can transform your organization, e-mail us at

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