Credibility is trust and is developed based on one’s combination of knowledge, experience, longevity and most importantly, RESULTS. Credibility has nothing to do with how much a person speaks on any given subject.
For example, it should be obvious that the person married for 30 years is a more credible advisor for a newlywed than the serial divorcee. Shockingly though, this is not obvious to far too many people, especially if the divorcee is conspicuously loud and riotous.
For many, the ‘realest’ or most authentic person is determined by who is the most boisterous or who attracts the most attention with their incessant talk. It’s as if we determine that the loudest in the room must be the one who is the most qualified.
This is misguided; and in most circumstances, this can be counterproductive thinking-especially, when we are looking for leadership or for partners.
This is a must-have conversation for the Black community. Historically, we have been a people who operate largely on emotions and unrestrained passions. Too often, we are led by our feelings and decision-making is directed by what moods we are in.
This is not just based on my own observations. This is based on social science. We have been researched and studied and it has been concluded that what we ‘feel’ is what will lead us.
Take the example of matters of social injustice. We are known for exhausting ourselves in marching, boycotting and protests in response to gross racial mistreatment. And in the yelling and rallying, we are aroused and excited. However, weeks, months and even years later, - after the emotions have subsided - we rarely have significant policy change that will prevent further injustice.
This is why I absolutely love the example of Baltimore, Maryland State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby. In the wake of the apparent unjust treatment of Freddie Gray, she pushed forward with a prosecution based on the facts and evidence of the case. The goal was to secure a conviction of those she deemed responsible for his untimely death. In the end, there was no conviction, but the indictment and prosecution brought significant policy change within the Baltimore Police Department.
This is a great example of being effective, rather than loud. We must give people an opportunity to demonstrate their efficiency and mastery in a field before we get behind their leadership or partner with them. I was taught, before reading any book, to first study the author. This will afford a broader perspective because one will be more acquainted with the writer’s history, values and ideals.
We must be reminded in the Black community to be impressed by more than just a speaker’s volume or babble. We have to be discerning. We must listen for content. We must listen for wisdom, intelligence and logic. And we must get familiarized with the effectiveness (or ineffectiveness) that the individual’s wisdom has borne.
If we look for results behind the volume, we will quickly learn who is who and what is what. This type of discernment will save us time, and possibly, our own reputations.
Be very careful to whom you hitch your wagon!
Nurah strives to enlighten, empower and engage her readers with the wealth of knowledge she has gained from her own experiences and those of others from whom she has learned.