Once you’ve lost your colleagues’ trust, it’s hard to gain it back.
4 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
The way we work is changing, but that’s not the only shifting thing in the workplace: Your credibility with your coworkers can also shift — and it can happen faster than you think.
Make a few loudmouth remarks, berate people too much, or make up a few loose facts, and you will be ostracized as someone who lacks credibility. It doesn’t matter whether you do this over Microsoft Teams or in the breakroom in the office.
To help you think about whether the words you say and the attitudes you espouse at work are causing people to question your abilities, here’s a list of the quickest and most efficient ways to destroy your credibility.
1. Announce your own success constantly
Have you noticed how the people who seem to toot their own horn have an image problem? And, it’s not a good look. They tend to reveal their insecurities: look at me, I’m awesome!
The problem is we know they are not so awesome, because people who tend to be successful never brag about it. In the end, we start thinking the person has some shortcomings and they lose credibility. We doubt their success because they talk about it so much.
Fortunately, there’s an easy remedy for this one. If we stop announcing our success, and yet we achieve major milestones, they always speak for themselves.
2. Talk smack about others
I’ve learned this one the hard way. Guilty as charged. When we talk about others, we think we are berating them and pushing them down the ladder of success where they belong.
However, the opposite is true. Eventually, your coworkers will start to realize your bad-mouthing is a sign that you can’t control what you say.
Sadly, this method of destroying your credibility is widespread and people often don’t realize it. Badmouthing destroys credibility because coworkers will wonder what other negative remarks you are making — especially about them.
3. Play fast and loose with the facts
Politicians often have their own set of facts. You might be tempted to do the same, coming up with half-truths designed to make you look better or escape blame. Maybe the sales success you touted wasn’t quite so pronounced, or maybe the marketing campaign you ran didn’t actually go viral.
It’s easy to pump up our egos and pretend we know what we;re talking about. Unfortunately, it’s also easy to fact-check us — because numbers don’t lie, and most of our colleagues don’t either. Eventually, people find out we’re not truth-tellers and we lose credibility.
4. Berate people endlessly
I’ve seen how this one plays out. A hot-headed boss thinks she’s “all that” and talks down to others, often scolding them in front of other coworkers. The super-smart techie person uses a pedantic tone, and we all roll our eyes about it.
The reason berating people makes us lose credibility in an office has to do with our own cachet. Eventually, the berating turns us into the type of person who berates. We’re all a bit scared of those employees, and we avoid them.
Mostly, you lose credibility because people won’t usually respect you for what you say and that’s it. They respect you for how you say it as well. Add a dose of humility and civility, and you’re credibility will go sky high.
Want more? Check out Brandon’s book, The 7-Minute Productivity Solution.