Reputation is a curious concept. Initially, it’s created by you and your approach to leadership: your feelings, your attitudes, your behaviours, etc. However, your reputation very rapidly becomes controlled by a committee, eventually developed and shaped by the perceptions of others. As a leader, your reputation is comprised of the mutual beliefs and opinions others have, of you. You’ll never have complete control of it, at most you can only influence your own reputation.
It’s quickly apparent why your reputation as a leader or even the reputation of your business is incredibly important; especially when considering the saying: “Your reputation proceeds you”. As it suggests, people are likely to hear about you before they actually meet you. This can make it challenging to create a good first impression, as an individual meeting you for the first time could potentially possess a preconceived opinion or judgement of you.
How to Build a Good Reputation
As is the case with most things, building a positive reputation as a leader is considerably more difficult than building a bad one. Building and maintaining a favourable reputation takes effort, time and arguably most importantly; consistency. Reputations are fragile and can potentially be destroyed quickly with a single mistake or error of judgement.
So, how do I build a good leadership reputation? The most important thing to do, is to be a leader who deserves a good reputation. Think of the qualities, attitudes or behaviourisms that a leader with a good reputation would have and emulate them. Consider behaviourisms and attitudes such as:
Take on additional responsibilities and successfully fulfil them
Go beyond what is expected of you
Always treat others with kindness and respect
Present good body language – your body language often communicates more about you than your words do
Ensure you’re always presenting a positive attitude, even during stressful situations
Commit to doing the things that you say you’ll do
The Benefits of a Good Reputation
There are some fundamental and rather obvious benefits to having a favourable reputation, such as others trusting your leadership and your business. Some other, more intricate benefits to having a good leadership reputation include:
It is motivating – Building and maintaining a positive reputation acts as motivation to continue performing your best while simultaneously ensuring that you are at your best.
It inspires others – A good reputation inspires others; especially subordinates within your work or business.
It helps you stand out – from a business perspective, user reviews, testimonials and experiences are easily available for anyone to seek out when they’re looking for a new company to do business with. The business with the better, more consistent reputation is generally always going to be selected over their competitors. The same is also true for leaders as individuals.
Constructing and maintaining a positive reputation will not completely prevent people from speaking negatively about you or your business but will minimise the amount of people that do. Additionally, if your leadership has earnt you a good reputation, other people are more likely to speak out and defend you when someone criticises or speaks unfavourably of you, even when you’re not present. In the situation where someone communicates something untrue about you it could be considered defamation. As a leader who is aiming to earn the respect and trust of others, a good reputation is worth protecting.