Contrary to popular belief, your reputation and your personal brand are not the same things. While your brand includes everything that you communicate about yourself, from what you wear to how you enter a room, your reputation is a product of how everyone else receives that information.
We tend to think of reputation as fixed – either “good” or “bad”. In reality, it evolves with our changing goals and priorities. For example, if you want a promotion, then it’s not a good idea to be out dancing on tables every night or posting drunken pictures of yourself on Facebook. As your career progresses, your reputation aligning with who you are and where you want to go is essential.
The Importance of Reputation in The Workplace
Your reputation communicates whether or not other people should trust you. If you’re looking to step into a leadership role, building trust amongst colleagues and higher-ups is paramount to your success. Unfortunately, most of us tend to forget this when we’ve been working the same nine-to-five job for several years.
Many workers today believe they are entitled to a promotion because they’ve been with their company for years. In many companies, tenure is only one piece of the promotions puzzle. If you don’t work to better yourself and improve your reputation along the way, why should anyone trust that you can handle more responsibility and effectively lead a team?
Take Steps to Change You Are Perceived
If you were wild and crazy in your twenties, you might be worried that some people still perceive you this way. This concern has merit, especially if you’re on the job market and hoping for references from former employers or colleagues. Even if you’re just looking to network, remember that people tend to base their opinion about you on their most recent memory. If they know you as a partier, you’ll have to prove that you’ve changed.
This is especially true now that the internet and social media have made it possible for others to scrutinize every moment of our lives. Do you feel concerned about how your past behavior might be affecting your goals? Take these steps to clean up your image and change your reputation for the better right now.
- Change Your Mindset: How others perceive you starts with how you see yourself. If you’re continually picking yourself apart or engaging in negative self-talk, do some work to think more positively. Practice affirmations, meditate or read inspirational books.
- Change Your Attitude: Stop complaining about your workload, or your paycheck, or your title. If you have a reputation as the “office gossip,” nip that in the bud. You may think that your boss can’t hear you, but I assure you, they’re listening.
- Change Your Behavior: Be on time. Organize your desk so that it doesn’t look like a disaster area. Answer emails in a timely fashion and show up prepared for meetings. Little tweaks to your behavior can have a significant impact on how others perceive you.
- Change Your Performance: Step into the role you want before you have it. Go above and beyond to showcase your capabilities. Stay late and come in early when needed.
- Change Your Online Presence: Refresh your LinkedIn page with new pictures and make sure your resume is updated. Delete photos that show you behaving in ways that are out of step with the reputation you want to cultivate.
- Change Your Communication: Address problems as they arise. Always go up the ladder with your issues rather than down. Discuss what’s bothering you with a leader or handle it yourself in a respectful, constructive way.
It’s important to remember that your reputation follows you everywhere. If you want to progress, you need to make changes where you are right now, or you won’t get a job anywhere else. Ask yourself what kind of legacy you want to leave. Take steps to protect yourself from past mistakes, and project where you are today.
If you’d like to learn how a personal image consultant can help you improve your reputation and strengthen your personal brand, contact me.