Candor is easy. Direct, honest communication is the quickest way to get results on any front. Beating around the bush is a waste of time - so of course new supervisors should practice candid conversations!
Credibility is… not so easy. But as a supervisor, it’s absolutely necessary. Here are some things that I learned from the supervisor training program Workplace Conversations, and some tips for new supervisors who want to be taken seriously as leaders.
Tips for New Supervisors: Candor Without Credibility Causes Unintentional Conflict
Do you ever get the feeling your feedback isn’t taken seriously?
Or like you misstepped somewhere during the conversation, and maybe you upset someone when you didn’t mean to?
You may be experiencing the unfortunate results of speaking candidly to a person who doesn’t find you very credible. It makes you feel small and frustrated, and it can open a gap between you and the other person.
If you’re a frank communicator, this is likely a recurring (and confusing) theme in your communications.
What are candor and credibility?
When you speak candidly, you speak in a manner that is matter-of-fact, direct, and objective. When you don’t speak candidly, your words may come across as misleading, hypocritical, or unclear.
When someone finds you credible, they believe in you and what you have to say. They see that your words match your values and your actions, and are more likely to take what you say at face value.
When you speak candidly without credibility, it can seem like a personal attack or hypocritical micromanagement. Your employees may get upset, ignore your feedback, or avoid unnecessary communication with you.
When you speak candidly with credibility, people listen attentively to your feedback, come to you for advice, and respect and trust your judgment. They’re more likely to follow your direction willingly - which is the difference between true leadership and simple management.
For new supervisors, the difference can make or break relationships with your team. But don’t worry - if you feel like you’re lacking credibility, you can always build it from scratch!
Build Credibility to Avoid Unintentional Conflict
To build respect and trust with your team, ask yourself these questions:
- What are my values?
- Do my words and actions match my values?
- How do I lead in a way that aligns my thoughts, words, AND actions?
Remember: a lack of credibility is often a miscommunication or disconnect between perspectives. It doesn’t make you or your employee bad people! And you can definitely take steps to improve.
If all of this sounds relatable to you, you’re not alone. Personally, I didn’t make the connection until I was looking through the resources below. You may find them similarly helpful in realizing your full leadership potential!
Here are some resources that teach you how to build credibility: