Said by a perplexed employee to a co-worker: "When will my boss get off my case? Sure, I made a huge mistake last month that nearly caused the client to drop us, and I was a little late to tell my boss about it. I've apologized and am changing my ways, but my boss keeps questioning everything I do. He's treating me like I'm a new employee."

Trust and credibility both are rooted in logic and emotion, which creates a complicated and fragile bond that requires much time and effort to grow, and unfortunately only a nanosecond to tear apart. A big mistake coupled with tardy disclosure is a surefire recipe for wiping out your boss' faith in you and your abilities. Lots of time and work are involved in regaining what you've lost.

Credibility, the quality of being believable and trustworthy, is a precursor to trust, a "firm reliance on the integrity, ability or character of a person" (according to thefreedictionary.com). To rebuild trust, you must re-establish your credibility, which is composed of three elements: competence, character and charisma.

Use these tips and pointers to build your knowledge, skills and abilities in each area:

Competence

You know what you know and what you can deliver, but what's really vital is how others perceive your abilities. Dr. Laurence J. Peter, formulator of The Peter Principle, tells us, "Competence, like truth, beauty, and contact lenses, is in the eye of the beholder."

To help shape those perceptions of your competence, you need to:

--Underpromise and overdeliver.

--Freely share, without tons of ego, information, resources and insights.

--Offer relevant suggestions to improve outcomes.

--Offer up personal success stories (just minimize the chest-thumping).

Character

H. Jackson Brown Jr., author of "Life's Little Instruction Book," offers a great definition: "Our character is what we do when we think no one is looking." To build character:

--Be fair: Present both sides of an issue, topic, etc.

--Be consistent: Walk the talk.

--Offer assistance and follow through -- and up -- to make it happen.

--Manage inclusion and avoid stereotypes.

Charisma

This is impossible, you might say. Don't be so hasty! Dr. Nick Morgan, author and former Harvard professor, offers up his "Principle X," which says "authenticity and charisma derive from becoming open, connected, passionate and listening with and to" those around you.

You may find out that you have charisma after all if you:

--Show genuine enthusiasm in what you do and in those around you.

--Smile. Connect with others.

--Operate from the glass half-full perspective.

--Listen; really listen, for meaning and understanding.

Credibility matters. Credibility leads to trust -- the cornerstone of relationships, and relationships are the building blocks of your personal and professional success. It's up to you to make it all happen!

Jane Perdue is a consultant, coach, speaker, author and CEO of The Braithewaite Group. The Job Coaches are experienced volunteers from the Center for Women's Job Counseling Program. Ask them a question by calling 763-7333 or e-mailing info@c4women.org. If you would like further assistance, make an appointment; a donation of $10 is requested for appointments.