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Your Reputation is Your Capital

Business Coaching Articles: Keys for Creating An Outstanding Work Reputation

Reputation is what men and women think of us; character is what God and angels know of us. Thomas Paine

In the last sixteen years of business coaching, I have become aware that there are common denominators in behaviors that create success and advancement in a career. Building a long term career takes conscious caring for your reputation. First, let’s define what a reputation is.

Wikipedia tells us: Reputation of a social entity (a person, a group of people, an organization) is an opinion about that entity, typically a result of social evaluation on a set of criteria. It is important in education, business, and online communities.

Reputation may be considered as a component of identity as defined by others.

Reputation is known to be an ubiquitous, spontaneous and highly efficient mechanism of social control in natural societies. It is a subject of study in social, management and technological sciences. Its influence ranges from competitive settings, like markets, to cooperative ones, like firms, organizations, institutions and communities. Furthermore, reputation acts on different levels of agency, individual and supra-individual. At the supra-individual level, it concerns groups, communities, collectives and abstract social entities (such as firms, corporations, organizations, countries, cultures and even civilizations). It affects phenomena of different scales, from everyday life to relationships between nations. Reputation is a fundamental instrument of social order, based upon distributed, spontaneous social control.

I am writing specifically about a person vs. an office culture today. When we start our career we are limited in experience, have a few skills, lots of aptitude and are hungry to prove our self and impress our management or boss. It is very natural to want to be well regarded and part of the team. In later stages of our career we can become overly comfortable. We can even become a bit of prima donna or get a bit egotistical. I urge you to always foster a mindset of a learner and do not get too full of yourself. In the work environment no one is indispensable and few graduate today with a gold watch as they did in our grandparents day.

The definition of character is doing the right thing no matter if anyone is looking or not. Do you have integrity? Honesty? Does your behavior and attitude support the way you want to be seen and known by others in your work environment or the communities you play and move in? Your character builds as you are tested by truth and risk. Do the right thing and you will always come out ahead.

Is there something that you can do or change to improve how you are perceived? Have you even stopped to think about how you would like to be perceived and what type of behavior might personify that? For example, are you always on time or a bit early? It is important to always be on time. It allows people to trust you and let’s them know you can manage yourself.

Don’t gossip. If you are hanging around the break room or water cooler and people are talking about other employees, walk away. Do not judge or criticize your coworkers or management. It is much better to say nothing than to join in. If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything. In the work environment it is better to not talk about politics, sex, religion or other people and you will be well regarded. And always be respectful. Give what you want to receive.

You will want to build a reputation as a plus on the team and help move things forward vs. just doing what you are hired to do. Kick in to help wherever you can.

You are being paid to help improve the bottom line and help the company to make profits. You will advance by getting along with others and being a good addition. You will advance by being a solutions oriented employee who gets along well with the team. Leadership is supporting and forwarding others in a generous way.

Do you follow up and follow through on things? This is an area that can take you from mediocre to outstanding. So many people drop the ball on this area. Develop a habit and a system to follow up and follow through. Following up means getting back to people in a timely manner. Do not make promises you don’t or can’t keep.

It is better to not make a promise than to make and break one. There are a lot of good systems and apps you could use to capture and remind you what you need to do. Find one that is a good note taking and one with a reminder so you can give the best customer service in the world. Word will travel and you will be seen favorably.

Do you have a great attitude or could it use an adjustment? Your attitude makes you a pleasure to be around or a downer. It is called emotional intelligence today. It is a soft skill that will really help you advance in your career or networking communities. When you wake up in the morning, say a great big Hello to your day.

It was said, most people are about a happy as they make up their minds to be. Decide you are going to have a good day. This is a friendly Universe. Decide that you are going to enjoy your work environment and be a positive addition to it.

Do not be a complainer or a whiner. Remember your work environment is full of potential for relationships. Some of these relationships might turn into really good long term friendships. Others will just be work buddies. Either way, pleasant relationships feel a lot better than adversial or bitter ones.

And lastly, take classes – stay ahead in your field and don’t get rusty. Many of my clients have gone back to school for advanced degrees or certifications. It has helped them be hired for new jobs and make higher wages. Fields change and you need to keep up with the changes and technology. Taking a night class or weekend class can help you do that.

Remember that you build your reputation. You are responsible for learning how to work a room, carry on a conversation, contribute to your job place, become a leader, learn how to do a presentation, and ask for business. It is a long road and a very satisfying one. Your reputation is your capital and if you take good care of it, it will take good care of you. You can bank on that!

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