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5 Credibility-Busting Responses You Need To Stop Using

These common responses are actually making people trust you less

Source | | GWEN MORAN

Leaders have a trust issue. According to the 2017 Edelman Trust Barometer, 60% of people believe that the average person is just as credible a source of information about a company as a technical or academic expert—and far more credible than a CEO (37%) or government official (29%).

In this atmosphere of distrust, leaders have a big job to build credibility and trust. When it comes to communication, one major problem is a lack of authenticity and truth-telling, says leadership communication expert Terry Pearce, author of Leading Out Loud: A Guide for Engaging Others in Creating the Future.

When it comes to habits that can ding your credibility, there are some common ones that many people either may not realize they’re doing—or may have even been trained to do, he says. Here are five credibility-busters you should drop if you want a better shot at building trust.


One way to damage your credibility is to offer a “non-apology apology” when you owe an authentic one, says Michael Maslansky, CEO of Maslansky + Partners and coauthor of The Language of Trust: Selling Ideas in a World of Skeptics. So, instead of, “I’m sorry if you were offended,” which puts the ownership of the issue on the other party, a sincere and effective apology acknowledges and accepts responsibility for a situation or transgression.

“You can often tell the difference based on whether there is an acceptance of responsibility—an authentic understanding of why the person feels or, the group of people feel like they were wronged,” Maslansky explains. In addition, in corporate context, the apology includes an agreement or a statement about what the organization or the individual is going to do to make sure that it doesn’t happen again or to address the wrong.

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