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.
“All you have in business is your reputation …” Richard Branson
- Determine how you want to be known. Consider your aspirations, strengths, and intentions.
- Listen to the language people use to describe you. Where do you hear alignment? Misconception?
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?