Can one develop personal credibility? If you know your stuff and keep all your commitments, is a good start. But, what else?!
Another dimension of a political skill is percieved sincerity. And, I know, it might sound bad, but this is the idea that some people are seen in ways that make them seem genuine and believable and they’re likely to have much success with any influence effort.
This idea has been defined and described many ways and one way seems fair. Let’s use the principles set down by Sandy Allgeier in her book The Personal Credibility Fact:
- know your stuff – take the time to learn what you need to know. The connection to informational power is clear here but this is also about knowing how to do your job well whatever it is. You cannot overlook the very basic issue of being capable of doing what is expected of you.
- keep all commitments – continuing with the idea that you need to meet expectations about your work you should always follow through. If you say you’re going to do something just do it.
- honor confidences and avoid gossip – if you promise not to say anything, keep that promise. If you find out interesting information don’t go spreading it unless you have confirmed it and no one is hurt by you doing it.
- know your self the good and the bad – show a little humility and recognize that you do have weaknesses as well as strengths. This is related to referent power is your unlikely to be respected if you’re an arrogant jerk.
- choose to value something in others – show concern and empathy for other people finding something to appreciate and like in them. This is a good path to building relationships with anyone.
- ask more questions and listen – the best way to learn and to show interest in others is to ask questions so ask away.
- take conversations you have with other people seriously – take the time to really listen and get to know people.
To wrap up a political skill enables one to find the best time to use particular tactics and to then execute them appropriately. Taken together, power and political skill, are critical factors that determine the success of influence. Influential people at work develop their power bases in their political skill and they are deliberate in their selection of tactics that match them.