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Career credibility-builders

Reinforce that you’re a winner

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in Dealing with Bosses,Office Management

You earn credibility by doing what you say you’re going to do and proving your skills and abilities. The more you can show that you’re a reliable, knowledgeable asset, the faster you’ll rise to the top.

You can never overdose on credibility— there’s no such thing as having too much. Fast-trackers understand this; that’s why they always seek subtle ways to reinforce how their experience and expertise makes them invaluable to the team.

Take these steps to showcase your credibility:

Share lessons learned. If you’ve amassed years of experience sharpening your skills, don’t assume your bosses or employees realize how much you know. Most of your colleagues probably have no idea how many years you’ve perfected a skill or worked on a specific task.

When giving your opinion or analyzing an important issue, say, “From my __ years of experience with this, I have found _____.” Or say, “Back in 19__ when I was first learning this, I thought ___. Now experience has taught me _____.” These are relatively modest ways to remind others that you’re not shooting from the hip, and that your observations merit attention.

Give firm commitments. The easiest way to squander credibility is to make wishy-washy promises. If you mumble or give yourself an “out,” you’ll lose a chance to appear like a rock-solid, dependable doer.

For example, if your boss asks you to investigate a customer complaint, state exactly what you’ll do and when you’ll finish (“I’ll have a full explanation for you by 8:00 a.m. Friday if not earlier”). Then deliver as promised, beating your self-imposed deadline if possible. Do not say, “Sure, I’ll look into this for you and get back to you once I come up with something.” That’s too vague, and your boss may wonder when and if you’ll produce results.

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