Reputation – overall quality or character as generally seen or judged by people.
Have you ever heard the saying that the people you surround yourself with make up who you are? It mainly discusses the idea that your closest support system is what shapes your mindset. You’ll likely develop those habits if you surround yourself with those who spend time gossiping and venting. If, instead, you commit to surrounding yourself with positive people who focus on discussing ideas and solutions, you’ll likely see yourself quickly progressing to your next level. It’s a lesson we’ve all been taught, but it isn’t solely introspective to mindset. It’s also what it creates outwardly: your reputation.
Reputation is a gateway that leads to trust. Think about it – aren’t you inclined to trust people who you view as successful? Don’t you want to listen to the people you’ve always seen be confident and authentic in your life? Do you repeatedly return to a specific brand because it provides quality service or product? The reputation people build is their brand, and culturally, we want to align with brands that don’t just share our values but effectively uphold them.
Coach, I don’t have a brand. Why do I need to focus on reputation?
You very much have a brand. You have a family, so you are a brother, sister, mom, dad, son, daughter, cousin, etc. You have a job, so you have a title or position. You have personal values, so you represent a self-identified moral and ethical code. All these things are your “brand.” You should ask yourself: How do I want to be viewed in the overall brand I represent?
That means exploring what type of family member you want to be – maybe the supportive kind, the motivational kind, the loving kind, or perhaps the kind that’s always there to help your loved ones laugh. It means discovering what kind of coworker AND employee you want to be – is it the friendly kind, the hard-working kind, or the one that leads a group of people to consistent growth and success?
Once you’ve decided which “kind” you want to be for each topic, you start to see that it’s your overall brand. Effectively, it’s a culmination of your identifiers or what “titles” you give yourself and how you represent them. Those titles come with a set of responsibilities. Do you live up to them? That’s your reputation.
I’m a fun friend and hard worker. I’d say everyone says that about me.
Okay, that’s awesome. Now prove it. Tell me what makes you “fun” to your friends and why others would perceive you as a “hard worker.”
People are always laughing around me, and I care about everything I produce at my job.
Sounds great, but people “always” laughing around you is concerning. I would hope people aren’t laughing when situations call for sensitivity. Also, those are a lot of possessive statements you’re making when talking about your job: “I care…. I produce… MY job.” Talk me through what actions people take around you. Your reputation is what you put out to the world and what it does for those who experience your behaviors.
No one ever tells me I’m bad at my job.
What can you do to be better then?
I don’t know right now, I’m a little defensive from this conversation, but that doesn’t mean I’m bad at it.
A defensive nature when talking about your potential reputation is common. The point of the discussion is to raise awareness for possible improvement. Push beyond the defensive nature by seeing that this conversation is to offer growth.
Now, what can you do to improve your job without evading the question?
Maybe I can get more done each day.
You said you’re a hard worker. If you could get more done, does that mean you’re not working hard enough? Try to get beyond the limiting belief that quantity will prove quality.
No, it just means that I’m sure there are areas I can improve.
What can you do to improve those areas?
I don’t know, Coach. What do you want me to say? I can go to my managers and see what they suggest.
Great idea! An open dialogue about ways to improve could help you explore your next level of growth. It could also outwardly show that you want to focus on achieving success. Acting on the goals you set or not would build your reputation with your managers. Are you the hard worker who explores growth with your managers or one who tells everyone how hard you work? It’s not about what you say but what you do.
There’s more to this, isn’t there?
If you offer a service to clients, provide leadership to teammates, or offer support to friends and family, your actions over time will grow your reputation. Here’s the catch: YOUR reputation directly affects ALL your groups. If you love to pick fights with every friend you have, you likely have given that friend group a contentious reputation. If you deliver a poor product to the clients you work with, you’re sullying the name of your company. Reputation isn’t just tied to you, but to everyone you’re connected to. That’s why it shouldn’t be so selfish. Reputation is NEVER about the “I” statements; it’s about the “we” statements. The more you use “I” statements when discussing reputation, the less likely you are to have a positive one.
Yea but you always talk about how I can only control MY actions. Now you’re telling me it’s about the group.
You can only control your actions, but your actions represent the support system around you. Focus on improving while seeing that you represent an essential piece of a larger whole. That goes for all support systems: friends, family, clubs, relationships, and work.
The best part of any support system is its strength when it communicates openly, honestly, and effectively. Growth becomes unlimited if everyone focuses on building a reputation of achievement while acting on it by collaborating. You would see more people join your support system, greater results, happier celebratory moments, and a consistently growing future.
Wouldn’t that be a great brand to be a part of and reputation to build?