Was 2013 a bad year for your credibility rating? If you’re honest, you might have to admit to a slip-up or two. (Maybe not on par with the most notorious celebrities and politicians, but bad enough!) Perhaps you were late more times than you would like to admit, you missed several deadlines, you told a few white lies to clients, and somehow you turned into one of the office’s top gossips. There may even have been a couple of bigger transgressions: like promising to increase your sales by 50 percent and then coming in way under the mark (tanking your department in the eyes of the higher-ups).
Is it too late to redeem yourself?
Probably not, say Julie Miller and Brian Bedford, coauthors of “Culture Without Accountability—WTF? What’s the Fix?” Chances are you haven’t hit the credibility point of no return just yet—but salvaging your image requires making a herculean effort to be more accountable in 2014.
Here, Miller and Bedford share a tip to help you repair your credibility after it has taken a hit:
Credibility Repair #1: Cop to it when you screw up. It’s only human nature to make excuses when things go wrong. How often have you said, “It wasn’t my fault,” or worse, “It was his/her/their fault, not mine,” when you knew perfectly well that the blame should be placed at your feet?
It’s always best to “fess up” as soon as possible and take the heat, because as Miller and Bedford write in their book, “The truth almost always comes out, and the impact is worse than it would have been if the person had owned up to it in the first place.” Plus, points out Bedford, the way you handle your screw-ups defines the kind of person you really are. Are you credible, or are you a lying weasel?
“By the way,” he adds, “if you’re feeling especially brave, proactively address your 2013 screw-ups with your boss and coworkers. Let them know that you’ve seen the error of your ways and that you will be changing your behavior in 2014. It won’t be easy—fessing up never is. But they’ll respect you for acknowledging your faults, and that respect will increase as you boost your credibility with your improved behavior.”