A good reputation is like gold so be careful how you treat it.
In my last posts I’ve focused on building your personal brand and defining what you stand for. You know how important your reputation is to your wellbeing and to your prospects. A couple of people have come to me with some good questions so today I want to address those.
Q: The first question I was asked was how long it might take to build your reputation.
A. Of course, there is no hard and fast rule about this, so it’s difficult to answer, but here are a couple of things you might want to consider.
Warren Buffet said, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.” In my opinion, you start building your reputation the moment you start that new job or meet someone new. The longer you maintain your standards, the more established your reputation becomes. In a crisis, your reputation might be built on one decisive action. However, Buffet is right when he says it only takes five minutes to ruin a reputation. One action which is inconsistent with your reputation – the values and beliefs you’ve shown yourself to live by – is all it takes to make people stop and reassess the you they thought they knew.
My advice is to stop worrying about how long it takes to build your reputation and instead focus on sticking to your standards.
Q: What can I do if I have a poor reputation?
A. There are a couple of things you can do depending on your situation. I don’t want to make this sound easy, because it isn’t. It’s uncomfortable and challenging, but if you don’t do something about it, your reputation will be permanently damaged.
- The first thing to do is to apologise; acknowledge your actions and show you understand the impact you’ve had on people around you. Most people are willing to give you a second chance if you’re genuine with your apology. We all make mistakes at some time in our lives, so most people are unlikely to hold a grudge once you say you’re sorry.
- Try to correct the situation. There might be nothing you can do to fix things up but by showing your willingness, you’ll get people back on side.
- You can also try talking to the people who are critical of you. Now, sometimes there’s a personality clash which is hard to overcome, but more often you’ll find there’s a miscommunication or misunderstanding at the heart of the matter. By talking it through, you’ll show your willingness to improve and you’ll probably learn something which will improve your communication style or emotional awareness.
Don’t forget that time will help overcome a poor reputation as long as you consistently stick to your own high standards.
Q: How do I maintain my reputation?
A. Simple. Do what you say you’ll do, communicate clearly and be honest and transparent. In other words, be a decent person with decent values and act on them. As I said earlier, stick to your standards.
You oversee your reputation. It is shaped by your words and actions and is always a “work in progress.” It takes time and effort to build and maintain a good reputation, but the ROI is enormous.
Building and managing your reputation isn’t easy. If you’re looking for some help or advice, please feel free to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. It’s well worth investing your time and energy into your reputation to ensure a secure future.