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Managing Image, Perceptions, Credibility & Trust, Part 2

March 23, 2015

SDS presentation-creationBuilding Credibility & Trust with Others

Ethics, Credibility & Trust

Sooner or later you’ll be faced with making an ethical decision. That decision could impact your relationship with followers, customers and other organizational stake holders. It may involve choices about your product, services and image or your competition, direction and mission. These concerns call for ethics in action and building credibility, reputation and trust in yourself and your organization.  When faced with an ethical dilemma, you’re challenged to figure out what is right and wrong and good and bad in regard to your motives, actions and outcomes.

Legal, Moral or Ethical

Some choices or decisions also have legal implications.  Sometimes things are legal but may not seem moral or ethical. Some choices may seem justified ethically or morally but are not lawful. Consider the case of a journalist who follows the ethics of “off the record” and “protecting one’s source.” In some cases the journalist may go to jail since those principles contrast with laws about providing information for court cases. There are many cases in today’s courts, or on the horizon for our justice system, which are a matter of ethics, morality and lawfulness.

Making Ethical Decisions & Choices

Making ethical decisions in a family, organization or community can be complicated by differing world views or principles, interpretation of the rules and exceptions people grant or take by their actions.  You may want to throw up your hands and ask, “What’s the use?” But remember, many common concerns tie humans together and provide plenty of reason for seeking ethical decisions. Those concerns include a common interest for civilization and survival.

Credibility and Credit

You could say that having credibility with others is very much like having credit with a financial institution.  In the case of a bank, a banker would know how much he or she could safely loan you based on your reputation, past performance, record and other factors having to do with financial management.  In the workplace, your constituents also weigh how much credit they are willing to extend to you based on similar criteria related to organizational management, and on   ethical choices you’ve made during your career.  Credibility has to do with how leaders earn trust and confidence from others (Kouzes & Posner, 2003).

The R.O.I. of Trust

If you’ve ever experienced hesitation, resistance, avoidance or lost time between yourself and another due to mistrust, and realized the associated costs, you understand that there is a price to be paid for a lack of trust.  There is also much to be gained from relationships that have a solid foundation of trust.  When you have trusted relationships with others, things get accomplished more quickly and more cost effectively (Covey, S. H.R., 2006).


It can take years to build your leadership image, credibility and trust, but only a few moments to tear it all down. Leaders today are always under scrutiny and have to consider the reality AND perception of their image.  Maintaining a good image, character, integrity, trust and credibility is a full time job in itself.

To purchase and view Drinon Leadership Express go to:

Drinon Leadership Express


Author’s Note

In several the blogs making up this leadership series books and articles are recommended that I’ve found helpful in my own development.   Several of those are cited below.  Each of these ranks highly in my choices for interesting, practical and, in most cases books that are well researched or pass the test of time, and that can help you develop as a person and leader.

Resources & Recommended Reading

  • Covey, S. H.R. (2006). The speed of trust. New York, NY: Free Press
  • Kouzes, J. M., & Posner, B. Z. (2003). Credibility: How leaders gain and lose it, why people demand it (First ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
  • Lennick, D. & Kiel, F. (2008). Moral intelligence. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Wharton School Publishing
  • Weinberg Dr., G., & Rowe, D. (1988). The projection principle. New York, NY: St. Martin’s Press.


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