5 Ways to Maintain Your Credibility As a Manager

04/17/2015 11:09 am ET | Updated Jun 17, 2015

Employees look to their leaders for continual direction and motivation. It can be exceedingly difficult to lead a team toward common goals if you have not established a credible rapport with your employees first. But what actually factors into your credibility? There's no single leadership characteristic that will answer this question. Your credibility as a manager is built over time through the careful interplay of strategy, dedication, trustworthiness, expertise, and character. Here are five ways to build your credibility as a leader for more effective operations.

Don't Lie or Overpromise

Trust plays an enormous role in workplace relationships. These bonds can crumple in stressful situations, especially if you've misled your employees with false information or promising too much. You might be tempted to stretch the truth occasionally, to keep your team motivated. But half-truths or inaccurate information can come back to haunt you, once your team discovers that you were wrong. Be as transparent as possible with your employees. If you're unable to disclose certain company information, then just say so, instead of using circuitous explanations or lies to avoid a tense topic. Build a reputation for being a trustworthy source of accurate information, and your employee will take notice.

Take Responsibility

Managers are responsible for the overall successes and failures of their respective teams. Be receptive to corrections and don't be afraid of facing your own mistakes. Managers who try to pass the buck and the blame onto their employees can quickly lose credibility. If your plans are not working, then own up to your failures and try a new strategy.

Don't Linger on the Details

As a leader, you must continually keep your eyes on the big picture. Your employees are there to handle everyday operations, tasks, and interactions. Don't let minor obstaclesinterrupt your focus on the big picture. For example, if an employee receives unfavorable customer feedback as a one-off, don't hang onto this incident forever. Show your employees that you are capable of moving on toward greater future success, and they will follow suit.

Cultivate Expertise

Managers who know very little about the work they oversee can quickly lose credibility. You won't be expected to know every little detail regarding subject matter, but professional knowledge is crucial when it comes to making daily operational decisions. Managers with subject matter deficiencies can also make decisions that put employees at risk, especially if they do not understand common dangers. If you feel underequipped to lead a particular team, see if your company offers additional training or academic programs so that you cangrow into your leadership role. Managers who make a clear effort to gain further expertise in their fields will gain respect from their fellow employees.


Many novice managers make the disastrous mistake of trying to be friends with their employees. This could work out for the short term, but it can lead to issues of workplace nepotism, decreased productivity, and a lack of credibility over time. Managers must maintain a certain level of professional distance so that they can assign tasks and review employee performance without bias.

Building and maintaining credibility doesn't just happen overnight. As a leader, you should continually review your workplace behaviors and understand the messages that you send to your employees.