What’s the First Thing People Say After Speaking Your Name
Reputation is the thing you’re known for, especially when it’s bad. Toads have a reputation for giving warts. But you get warts from people, not toads.
A bad reputation clings like muck even when it’s not true.
A bad reputation protects people from you.
Reputation is a crystal ball. People use it to predict your behaviors. They might say, “He’ll blow up if you tell him that.” Or, “You better wait until she’s in a better mood.”
Reputation describes what people expect you to do.
My predictions. Martin Luther King Jr. would promote civil rights if he showed up in my office. Marie Curie would explain radiation.
People that know me expect me to ask questions and give unvarnished feedback.
You can’t talk your way into a good reputation.
“We’d all like a reputation for generosity, and we’d all like to buy it cheap.” Mignon McLaughlin
The behaviors you repeat set the expectations of reputation.
After speaking your name, what is the first thing you want people to say about you? Align your leadership around those words. Socrates said, “The way to gain a good reputation is to endeavor to be what you desire to appear.”
- What behaviors best express the way you desire to be known?
- How well do your recent interactions align with the words you hope others will say about you?
- What three behaviors fully align with the way you want to be known?
“You can’t build a reputation on what you are going to do.” Henry Ford
What do people expect you to do when you show up? Criticize? Challenge? Encourage? Try new things?
What expressions do you normally see when you show up?
How is a good reputation built?
What destroys a good reputation?
I love this. Reputation is not often spoken about but this right here is insightful. Thank you for this.
Thank you Samuel.
Powerful stuff today! All the day-to-day, tactical personality & leadership traits we exhibit become our strategic ‘brand’ — and like a fast food restaurant that’s known for the quality level of its food, or the level of cleanliness of its bathrooms (which become its brand), we too earn a brand that people associate with us every single day.
Thank you Gerry. It seems that it’s all about repetition. But it takes more positive repetition to build a good reputation than a bad one.
The Bible says, “A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold” (Pro 22:1 ESV). Reputational capital is built over a long, long time. But it can be lost in minutes. Thank you, Dan. This post reminds me to be careful of my reputation, and also to guard that of others.
Thanks Peter. Love “Reputational capital.” Your addition of guarding the reputation of others is an important challenge and opportunity of leadership. Leaders that tear down their teams tear down themselves.
So if somebody gives you a bad reputation even if you disagree, are you stuck with that for life?
That is a great question. The power of others to impact our reputation is dangerous. You might be stuck with a bad reputation within the sphere of influence that an antagonist possesses. But we are always building our reputation by the behaviors and attitudes we possess.
Most of us have had gossips and backstabbers steal our reputation. But the people who know us best, know the truth. The best thing to do is to focus on doing the right thing. You will be misunderstood. Your motives may be judged. You may need to confront misinformation. But it’s always best to just keep doing the right thing.
Great post Dan – I know this, I was present for every bad decision I made. Meet monthly with all employees, will be using parts of this later today – thank you for this post. We can’t be ourselves as long as we are lying to ourselves.
Thank you Scott. It’s a pleasure to be useful. I love that last sentence. “We can’t be ourselves as long as we are lying to ourselves.”
Excellent points, and also a cautionary tale as to how we should respect the reputations of others by not overreacting to mistakes, disappointments, conflicts, or rivalries. It is easy to disparage others and let fly with harsh criticism, or judge too quickly, when we don’t have all the facts or let bias cloud our judgement. (What my father would have called, “going off half-cocked.”) This can result in undeserved damage to reputations -ours as well as theirs! I have seen that scenario played out too often. The more influence one has, the more the potential damage that can be done, and the more careful one has to be about this.
I find that my professional viewpoints and assessments are still valued by my former colleagues, and one reason for this is my reputation for thoughtful analysis before rendering evaluations of policies, procedures, programs, or people.
Thanks Jim. Your insights about the power of leaders to impact others negatively is sobering. But it also reveals the opportunity of leaders to use influence to strengthen relationships and deliver results.
When you are consistent in what you think, say, and do you build a solid reputation. You’re described as honest and authentic.
Bingo. Thanks Paul. Boring consistency is the secret. Instability and inconsistency undermines the building of good reputation.
BTW I used this as a writing prompt with my high school seniors.