How to Achieve a Great Professional (and Personal) Reputation
You care greatly about what people think of you — that’s good!
How you’re viewed by others directly affects your career. You know that when others like you, working with them will be easier, you’ll get more referrals, and you’ll be considered for possible opportunities, like promotions, working with bigger clients, seats on boards, or more.
But wanting a good professional reputation isn’t the same thing as having a good professional reputation.
And right now, you might be wondering how you can get people to like you in a genuine and long-lasting way.
What is the definition of the word ‘reputation’?
Reputation is your standing in the eyes of others: It’s what other people think about you and how they feel about dealing with you.
A good reputation is built on trust, integrity, competence, and likeability — all qualities associated with leadership.
Your reputation is built over time through experience and word of mouth. You need to ensure that every customer has a positive experience with your company so that they will tell other people about their experience with you.
This way, your company’s reputation grows bigger every day, and more people become aware of it.
Why is it good to have a good reputation?
In business, having a good reputation helps open doors for you.
People want to work with reputable and reliable people because they know their time will be well spent; they also know that if anything goes wrong, there will be someone there to help them deal with it quickly and efficiently.
Your reputation is an important part of your brand, it defines you and tells others who you are and what they can expect from you.
If people have a good opinion of you, they will be more likely to engage with you in the future and support your business.
On the other hand, if they have a bad opinion of you, they will probably not buy from you or recommend your product or service to others.
How to build a good personal and professional reputation
1. Put forth your best work.
Here’s the easiest place to start: Look at the tasks you do on a regular basis and consider whether or not you’re working to your full potential. If the answer is yes, keep it up. Showing up every day and putting in the effort is exactly what shows others you’re capable and trustworthy.
If the answer is no, don’t beat yourself up. Instead, take the time to reflect on ways you can improve and put in the effort to make those enhancements in the near future. Then, analyze again. What’s changed? What can be improved upon further? Keep stepping up, and others will notice.
Next steps: overdeliver whenever you’re able. Being generous with your time, skills, and experience will make a huge difference in how others view you. When you go above and beyond, you’ll be remembered — in the best way possible.
2. Do what you say.
One of the next best ways to have a great professional reputation is to keep your word. It’s as simple as that. If you say you’ll do something, do it! This is related to anything big or small, and both sized commitments uncover a lot about a person.
For example, if you constantly show up ready and on time for meetings, you’ll be known for being prepared and having superior time management skills. However, if you regularly waltz in late, or worse, forget to show up for a video conference call, you may become known as someone who doesn’t respect the time of others. And that certainly won’t help your reputation.
Similarly, if a major problem occurs in the workplace and you’re the first to jump in to offer a hand and clean up any mess, you’ll be remembered for these actions.
When you show others that you do what you say you’ll do, then you teach them you can be counted on.
3. Connect the right people.
Helping others is a great way to build a solid reputation, and a smart way to be of assistance is to connect with the right people at the right time. This may have been easier in the past during in-person networking events, but there are still opportunities for connection, maybe even more so in this digital, remote-working environment.
When you connect with like-minded people who hit it off, you’ll be remembered as a professional “matchmaker” of sorts. But, to earn this distinction and be well-regarded by your peers, you need to take the time to get to know the people in your network to make sure you’re really connecting the right people together. Connecting two people just to be an introducer can backfire, and you want your connection to help bolster your professional reputation.
Consider relevant skills, personality quirks, and other facets about your peers before introducing them to someone in your professional sphere that you also think of fondly.
And, if you think it’s less of a mutual benefit but that one party needs more from the other, make sure to ask permission first before connecting the pair. For quality relationships to form and your reputation to blossom, you always want to ensure that the connection is well-received by both parties.
4. Lead with kindness for a strong professional reputation.
How you treat people is how you’ll be remembered.
So, if you want a great professional reputation, start by paying attention to how you talk to, act, or behave around the people in your overall network, such as your coworkers, clients, receptionists who answer your calls, vendors who drop off goods — anyone you interact with.
Kindness carries weight, and when people process their interactions with you, they’ll remember that you showed them respect and warmth.
5. Consider your reactions.
You could lead all of your interactions with kindness, make the best effort to connect with like-minded people, and overdeliver on your work. Yet, you’ll still be faced with frustrating or even anger- or anxiety-ridden situations. Some things are simply out of your hands, but what is within your control is how you respond to your environment.
How to repair your professional reputation?
If you are a professional and your reputation is damaged, it can be difficult to get back on track. However, you can take steps to repair your professional reputation if it has been damaged.
Step 1: Be Honest with Yourself
The first step in fixing your professional reputation is to be honest with yourself.
Start by asking yourself a few simple questions:
- What did I say or do?
- Who was affected by it?
- How did they react?
- How can I repair my reputation with them?
If you have made mistakes in the past that hurt your reputation, then it is important to acknowledge them before you can move on.
Step 2: Seek Professional Help
If you have damaged your professional reputation, consider getting help from a consultant or advisor who has experience repairing reputations.
A consultant can help you come up with strategies for restoring your reputation and rebuilding trust among colleagues and clients.
Step 3: Apologize Publicly When Appropriate
If people are angry at you because of something negative they think you did or said, then it is important to apologize publicly whenever possible.
This will show others that you regret what happened and that it was not intentional or malicious in nature.
It also shows that you care about other people’s feelings regarding how they view your character and personality as an individual.
What do you want your reputation to be?
If your reputation is important to you, make every effort to always appear professional. This means no venting about a coworker or sharing frustrations with a client. Don’t allow yourself to explode or storm off in a heated conversation. You’ll be judged by how you respond.
Do you really want to let your frustrations get the best of you?
Remember, it takes a long time to build a solid professional reputation — which can quickly be destroyed in a quick moment.
By putting in the effort and showing up every day as your best self, you’ll constantly improve how you appear to the people around you.