Authority VS Credibility

I realized recently that all too often we fail to realize the difference between authority and credibility.  Authority is given and its assumed.  Authority can come from a promotion, an election, by birthright or by chance.

But credibility is earned.

So why does that difference matter?  

It matters because too often parents think that because they have authority over their children’s lives, they also hold credibility in their children’s eyes.  But that’s often not the case.  You can make your kids do all sorts of things for no other reason than because you’re their parent.  But without credibility your kids won’t take you, or your rules and advice, seriously when you’re not looking or when they’re grown.

It should matter in organizations like police departments, where authority is assumed, but is nearly useless without credibility.

Or in churches, where people sometimes try to represent God’s authority without building credibility as people worth listening to.

Hypocrites can have authority, but they’ll never have credibility.

Authority figures say, “Do as I say”.  People with credibility say, “Do as I do.”

You can only have authority when someone else gives it to you.  But no one can take your credibility from you, you’ll have it as long as you’re willing to work for it.

People are pushed by authority, but they’re led by credibility.

If you want to make a difference in the lives of your family, your church, or where you work….Build credibility.