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As a leader, trust and credibility are two of the most important qualities that you need to have. In this blog post, I will share with you what I believe to be the key difference and why it is so important to know the difference in 2022.

What is Credibility?

Credibility, simply put, is believability. To be credible is to be believable. Credibility seems to be based more on logic, or from the head.

So, what does it mean to be credible? It means that people believe what we say, that we can and will do it. This means people believe that we have the skill or expertise, as well as the honesty to follow through and do what we say.

People who are credible usually say what they mean and do what they say. They don’t make promises they can’t keep or change their story every time it suits them.

To Build Credibility

  • Be Consistent in your words and deeds (follow-through)
  • Be Competent (skill or expertise)
  • Be Honest (tell the truth)

Considering the above, credibility could also be defined as trust based on evidence.

Your credibility impacts how others see your leadership ability and whether or not they will take action on it.

What is Trust?

Trust comes from the heart, and it’s what allows us to open up our vulnerabilities to others. Trust is the emotional connection we have with someone.

Trust, or trustworthiness, goes beyond credibility into the realm of character and intent. While trust can be built by building up one’s track record (i.e., people may trust you because they’ve seen you take responsibility for your actions), trust also has to do with a person’s underlying motivations and beliefs.

Trust is emotional, not just logical. Trust creates an emotional connection that can make us want to follow someone to the ends of the earth.

I recently wrote about trust being the currency of business, but it could also be said that trust is the currency of leadership, and just as true: trust is the currency of relationships.

Trust implies that you are exposing yourself to another party in a way that they could cause you harm, but you are willing to do so because you believe they will act in your best interest.

To Build Trust

  • Start with credibility
  • Truly care about the other person
  • Act in their best interest, even if it costs you something
  • Put your own self out there and trust people

Good Leaders Lacking Credibility

I’ve seen countless leaders, beloved leaders, who have the best intentions towards others but lack credibility because they consistently fail to follow through on their commitments. This failure to follow through on their commitments destroys their ability to lead.

Although they are often the most caring and beloved people, they inadvertently injure those around them when they let them down through broken promise after broken promise. Good intentions don’t build trust.

Trust vs Credibility

It is important to understand the distinction between trust and credibility because trust has to do with character and intent, which are difficult (if not impossible) to change or fake. Credibility, on the other hand, is based on evidence or track record or reputation over time.

Trust is emotional, while credibility is fact-based.

Trust or Credibility Only

Leaders with high trust but low credibility often find it difficult to get people to take action because their followers don’t believe in them. Leaders who are highly credible but lack trust often find it difficult to keep followers because they don’t trust them.

The key difference between trust and credibility is that trust is based on character and intent, while credibility is based on evidence or track record over time.

For trust, it is essential that your followers trust you as someone who has their best interests in mind. As for credibility, having your followers believe what you say and do – even when they might not want to – is key to establishing trust with them.

It bears stating again: Trust seems to be emotional, while credibility is more logical. Trust involves belief, confidence, faith, and hope. Credibility is about a track record.

When someone is believable, reliable, consistent in their actions and words, and considered to have the best intentions, trust is established quickly.

Why is Trust so Important in 2022?

So now that we have established the differences between trust and credibility, why is it so important to know this in 2022?

Companies everywhere are hiring. They are desperate for help. I’ve spoken to a number of companies who have lowered their standards just to get some warm bodies in place to do the job. It is a job-seekers market.

People would rather work for and follow a credible leader, boss, manager, or company or one without credibility any day. But in today’s economy, people have more choices. Job Seekers don’t want to be just a number. They don’t want to work in toxic environments just to get a paycheck.

People today want to do something that matters and they want to do it with people they like and trust. As employers and leaders, we get to decide the type of environment we are going to nurture. If we want the best team players, we need to create trustworthy teams, trustworthy companies, and above all, be trustworthy ourselves.

We need to earn trust, win trust, give trust to other people, inspire trust, and even make it one of our core values.

When people trust you, they will give you their hearts. You can buy their hands for a paycheck, but you cannot buy their hearts. You have to earn those. This is the critical difference between trust and credibility. It’s the difference of the heart.