Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.
- Helen Keller

Building your Personal Credibility and Influence


Self trust can be described in four parts: Integrity, Intention, Capability and Results. The first two describe character, the final two competence; leaders need both. How often do you keep promises to yourself? Are you taking time to work on your career development? How is the work-life balance?

Steven M.R. Covey’s book “The Speed of Trust” neatly breaks down trust into actionable insights for developing self-trust as a foundation for building trust with others, with markets and society as a whole. This blog is a précis of some of those ideas, along with my own experience of quickly establishing trust as a consultant with many and varied organisations.

Some definitions

  • Integrity: Honesty (including no omissions), ‘walking the talk’, humility, reputation for being truthful, courage.
  • Intention: No hidden agendas or motive, not trying to deceive (or protect someone).
  • Capability: Expertise, skill, knowledge.
  • Results: Track record of results in other situations and expectation of continued performance.

Why build trust?

  • Economics: If trust goes up, speed goes up and cost goes down.
  • Speed to market is now the ultimate competitive weapon
  • Low trust leads to hidden agendas, politics, defensive communication and layers of bureaucracy and governance.
  • The ability to establish, grow, extend and restore trust is a key leadership competency in a global economy.
  • Leading organisations, via 360 degree feedback, found that the answer to the question “Do you trust your boss” is more predictive of organisational performance than any other question.

It starts with self-trust.

Many years ago I went on a course run by Didi Hopkins (MD of Skirting the Boards) she gave a fantastic workshop on gravitas and employed her acting skills to great effect. During the workshop we experimented with inner vs. outer confidence – the conclusion being that we intuitively know when someone is ‘faking it’ and that can cause a question over our Integrity. When there is greater alignment between what we think, say and do others notice.

Many people make goals, promises and commitments to themselves, but don’t keep them, and over time that can erode self confidence. Are you in the 92% of people who will not follow through on their New Year’s Resolutions, or the 8% who will? (see earlier post). By routinely doing what you said you would, for yourself and others, you can rebuild the trust in your ability to make and keep commitments.

To take an online automatic scoring questionnaire (20 questions) to assess your personal credibility and get specific tips on how to improve go to

Following high profile breaches of trust many companies have policies on “Ethics and Code of Conduct” which explain how their values translate into behaviour, but enforcing compliance of rules cannot take the place of character.

Key Messages about Self-Trust

  • Trust is the ultimate root and source of our influence
  • Trust is one of the most powerful forms of motivation and inspiration, people want to be trusted.
  • Most massive violations of trust are violations of integrity
  • The greatest trust-building key is results
  • All four quadrants are vital to credibility and trust
  • Leaders need a moral compass that works all the time
  • Long-term trust relationships are the key to profitable growth
  • Character is constant, competence is situational.

It’s the little things day to day that build or destroy trust. What quadrant needs some conscious effort? How can you share this information with others?

Happy to discuss, let me know your thoughts on this blog post

Best wishes



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Wow, I had a whole factory of lightbulbs going off in my head. Angela's questions created amazing insight, and she totally changed my mindset on a fundamental area of my work/life that was really holding me back. If you haven't yet talked to Angela, give her a call!
- Private coaching client (first session), MD of marketing company

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