7 Habits that Demonstrate Personal Credibility
What does it look like for someone to establish personal credibility? Although it’s a bit different for everyone, here are some of the features held in common:
1. Demonstrates integrity consistently
A children’s book defined integrity powerfully as “who you are when no one is looking.” If you are a Christian, people are watching. They watch the way you drive, interact with your neighbors, and how you treat restaurant servers. They will see if you aren’t practicing what you preach. When a Christian fails to act Christlike, the effects are devastating.
2. Does not compromise on biblical principles
Being a Christian means standing for biblical truth even when it’s not easy to do. There are plenty of gray areas in theology—those aren’t the hills you die on. But if your priorities compromise the Greatest Commandment or the Great Commission, your ministry is in trouble.
3. Presents oneself authentically
It’s true that sometimes we have to rise up beyond our feelings and circumstances but in ministry “fake it ‘til you make it” is a slippery slope. People looking for hope aren’t looking for perfection; they are looking to see how Jesus affects your real life circumstances in an honest way.
4. Holds oneself accountable
A Christian needs strong guard rails. Veering into the gutter could be disastrous. There is too much at stake to play around with vision, conviction, or obedience to the Word of God.
5. Proves to be trustworthy
Follow up is everything when building trust. What are the little promises you make? If you are saying you care, how are you showing it?
6. Handles sensitive information with discretion
Holding space for people to share their hopes and dreams–as well as their darker moments–is a great honor and a big responsibility. If you are talking to them about others, smart folks will assume you are also talking to others about them–and limit what they share with you.
7. Responds positively to constructive feedback
People aren’t shy about giving feedback to their senior pastors. Unfortunately, the bad and ugly can be much more common than the good. Believe it or not, most people are trying to help. And sometimes the Spirit will speak hard truths through others. But not everything you hear will be good advice or even accurate. Much may be more about the person talking than about you. In some cases listening is all that is needed. In all cases believe the best in others, listen well, respond humbly.
How well are you establishing personal credibility?
The two essential components of this question are 1) how you live your life, and 2) how you allow others to see you live your life. For instance, if you are living as you believe would be honoring to Jesus, you still may not be establishing personal credibility if you aren’t letting anyone close enough to see your life as it really is. We need to live with authenticity and honesty before others rather than in isolation.
If you would like to assess yourself in this area, take some time to reflect on the following questions. Write out your answers for more complete processing or talk them through with someone if you’re more of a verbal processor.
- How have you demonstrated your integrity… even when it was difficult?
- To whom do you present yourself authentically? Consider different levels of the closeness of relationships and the appropriate amount of transparency for each.
- How have you handled a time when you were wrong? What happened?
- To what degree do people feel comfortable sharing sensitive information with you?
- When have you received feedback with graciousness even when it was difficult?