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5 Ways to Build Your Reputation as a Leader

People justify their judgement once they tag you with a reputation.

Character is more important than reputation. But leaders ignore the latter to their peril.

You have one:

Reputation is the way people think of you. 

You want a reputation that reflects your true self. But leaders sometime lose themselves to a role. When that happens reputation becomes frustration.

Henry Ford missed something when he said, “You can’t build a reputation on what you are going to do.” Actually, you earn a reputation as a weak do-nothing leader if life is always about intention apart from action.

Short-sighted leaders might say, “I don’t care what people think of me.” If leadership was done in a vacuum, what people think of you wouldn’t matter.

Leaders who don’t care about reputation are disconnected, aloof, or short-sighted.

Manage your reputation or someone else will.

Build reputation:

“All you have in business is your reputation …” Richard Branson

  1. Determine how you want to be known. Consider your aspirations, strengths, and intentions.
  2. Listen to the language people use to describe you. Where do you hear alignment? Misconception?
  3. Accept that perceptions are real, even if you believe they are false. You might not like it when someone says you talk too much and listen too little. Accept it.
  4. Practice behaviors that reflect your character. Suppose you’re a kind person.
    • Find ways to be kind when you’re having tough conversations. But don’t avoid tough conversations.
    • Express kindness, especially when you feel overworked.
    • Ask individuals what kindness looks like in your culture.
    • Think about kind people. What are they doing? Do that.
  5. Be positive with yourself. Don’t say, “I should have more kindness.” (Someone who is kind might say that.) Say, “I’m finding ways to express kindness.”

You might lack self-awareness if your reputation doesn’t reflect who you really are.

How might leaders build reputation?


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