This article was originally written while in the depths of a polar vortex in Canada, and it was colder than you can imagine virtually everywhere you went. Imagine my surprise when I turned the television on to our national morning show and saw the weather lady in a sleeveless spring dress. She was giving us all great advice to dress for the weather, to bundle up, not to have exposed skin, and to generally remind yourself that the cold weather was hazardous if you didn’t take precautions.
She was wearing a sundress without sleeves. I was freezing just looking at her.
I instantly yelled at the television asking her why on earth she didn’t follow her advice!
In my eyes, she lost all her credibility because she wasn’t doing what she was telling others to do. Yes, that makes me very judgemental, and I am aware that is wrong. However, it also made me realize that although judgment is wrong, it potentially hurts our credibility because we can’t control who judges us and who doesn’t.
[ctt template=”3″ link=”2dM0K” via=”yes” ]You lose credibility when you aren’t doing what you tell others to do.[/ctt]
How many times have we said things, and then our actions show entirely the opposite? We say we are very responsive at work, yet it sometimes takes days for us to reply to emails or follow up.
[ctt template=”3″ link=”9z8ds” via=”yes” ]Do you say one thing and then your actions show entirely the opposite?[/ctt]
Have you ever told a professional colleague that you have an excellent relationship with your executive? You describe how your executive treats you like an equal, offer the benefits of their perks such as first-class upgrades, and free hotel stays, and is the first to get you a coffee in the morning as opposed to the other way around? Do you listen with jealousy when others talk like that? Then in the very next breath, they are saying something negative about that person such as they expect you to be on call 24-7, they have a temper that is often unchecked, or they forget you on your birthday even though you remember theirs?
That is incongruent. When you are incongruent, you lose credibility with others.
[ctt template=”3″ link=”c9s0e” via=”yes” ]When your words and actions are incongruent, you lose credibility with others.[/ctt]
If you are saying one thing, then say one thing. Don’t contradict yourself by saying something completely the opposite in the next breath, or even the next day.
I remember speaking at a conference when someone walked into my workshop room and was more or less complaining to a friend that they didn’t need my workshop as they had been an admin for more than 20 years and knew all there was to know. Since I overheard the conversation, I decided to engage her in conversation and let her know that my workshop wasn’t about knowing everything, that the purpose was to point out the rules that had changed, and how expectations were different than in the past. She responded, somewhat glib, that she was good, but this workshop was the best of the rest for her so that she would sit through it.
That became a challenge for me to prove to her wrong.
Throughout the entire workshop, I could see the dawning of realization hit her that things had changed and that she needed to change with them.
Kudos to her for being open to that information. Many people who hear things they don’t like dismiss the information as wrong and blame the presenter.
I’m betting that the co-worker she attended the conference with was glad that she had been put in her place. I wasn’t trying to put her in her place, but trying (successfully) for her to open her eyes to the messages she was sending others and the inconsistency in that message.
You can’t say you are better than everyone else if you are not continually upgrading your skills. You can’t say that you are excellent with customer service if you avoid difficult conversations with others.
Check your voice mail. Does it say when you’ll get back to them or that you’ll return your call as soon as possible? If that is what you are saying, then ask yourself what that means to the person leaving the message. As soon as possible to someone with an urgent request or a client is usually a lot sooner than what it means to you.
Instead of saying as soon as possible, tell people you will return their call within two hours. Be sure you are congruent!
If you tell others that you are really good at taking minutes, working within Excel, or organization, then be good at those things. Just saying you are good at something doesn’t mean that you are.
I know that when I see someone with an overly messy desk, I instantly worry about their ability to keep track of details. They may be the most detailed person alive, but their desk is saying something different. It’s incongruent.
When I see an email out-of-office response that is filled with typos or wrong dates, I worry that they will never return my email. Think about it, should you email me and my email says that I’m out of the office and I’ll return your email when I return on January 1st (and it is April 15th), don’t you think to yourself that I seriously lack in attention to detail? If I say I am good with details and my actions so you something else my credibility is at risk.
I know I, and you, are human. We all make mistakes and sometimes what we say isn’t what we do, but we do have to be as congruent as possible.
I don’t enjoy the deep freeze. I don’t want to know that exposed skin will freeze within minutes. I certainly don’t want to know that you think we should dress for the weather if you are not. I can’t hear what you are saying because your contradicting actions are far too loud.
Article By, Rhonda Scharf