How often have you wondered why people behave in different ways when they meet with you, haven’t seen you in a while, or you both know the same person? Often it is your reputation that precedes you.
23 Ways You Could Be Damaging Your Reputation
1. Dismissing people
- Do you find that you are always busy and often people become just another source of ‘noise’?
- Is it easier to prioritize the people that will have an immediate impact on what you, and dismiss others?
- Are you guilty of reacting to people who become your ‘squeaky wheel’ and ignoring others?
You need to ask yourself what message this is conveying.
2. Giving people ‘lip service’
Are you telling people what you think they want to hear, rather than what they need to hear?
Often we are guilty of doing this, however, this is often because it is an easier way of keeping the momentum going and not getting bogged down in discussions that we may see as unnecessary, or that we feel we do not have enough time for.
You need to ask yourself if your message is speaking the language your audience understands or are you speaking to them in a language that they need to have interpreted?
If this is the case your reputation may suggest to people that you are out of touch.
3. Talking trash
Have you ever caught yourself listening to what you are saying to others as you are speaking, and said to yourself …Wow!, that sounded great?
You need to ask yourself that if you felt it sounded great are you framing what you are saying to make yourself look good or are you communicating in a way that will make your audience look or feel good?
This will leave a lasting impression as to whether your audience feels you are credible.
4. Believing your opinion matters more than others
You know your stuff right! It is an expectation that you express your educated opinion because that is what you are employed to do isn’t it?
This is a dangerous assumption because you are more than likely to come across as expecting others to conform to the way you think, giving them the impression that their opinions are less important than yours, or worse still that you feel they are irrelevant.
You need to ask yourself what perception you are projecting and how people are interacting with you. This will give you a good indicator of what your reputation is with the people you interact and engage with.
5. Needing to be right
We all like to think we are right, but the truth is, that more often than not, we may be trying to solve problems with solutions that are ’cause and effect’ only.
This may stem the flow of the problem initially but you will only be treating the symptom and not the disease.
Being ready, willing and able to contemplate, consider and collaborate. This is when your reputation will open doors for you.
You need to ask yourself honestly, does your need to be right means you are sabotaging you and your team’s success?
6. Making yourself look good
This is often a fear driven behavior. If we do not look good then people may not believe that we are doing a good job, are capable of being promoted, or of being of significant value to the business or others.
You need to ask yourself are you trying to promote yourself at the expense of others?
Are you excluding others because you feel that if you include them it will take the gloss off you?
This can be a self-fulfilling prophecy. Ultimately your ‘gloss’ will become tarnished because you cannot be everything to everyone. All you are doing if you are behaving this way is providing an opportunity to showcase your weaknesses.
7. Promising but not delivering
Words are cheap.
Actions speak louder than words.
We have all heard these phrases, but often we don’t pay them enough attention to them and this can be to our detriment.
You need to ask yourself when you suggest, direct or intimate something in conversation do you follow through even if the outcome is not favorable for the person you have spoken to?
If you don’t, what is the impression you are giving to that person and how do you know that person will not become pivotal in your future direction?
The truth is you don’t know, but you can be assured that they will remember the way you treated them.
8. Not surrounding yourself with people who are smarter than you
Have you ever been guilty of not employing someone because you felt that they might show you up?
Do you ever have that niggling feeling that you might be caught out as an ‘imposter’ in an area that you do not believe you perform as well as you should?
You need to ask yourself if you are missing an opportunity to showcase your leadership skills and team performances all because of lack of confidence in your own individual abilities?
9. Believing that there is an ‘i’ in team
We all joke about this statement because we have all heard it said at training sessions and in motivational speaking forums.
The ‘i’ is really an ‘e’ and that ‘e’ stands for ego.
You need to ask yourself if you are putting you first when you lead, or the team first and if you are jeopardizing your reputation?
Your team will follow if you lead from the front, but will leave you, if you push them from behind.
10. Pretending you know what you are doing when you really don’t
Faking it till you make it may work in some cases but in the long run you will always get caught out and this usually happens when you least expect it.
You need to ask yourself if you are always waiting for that ball to drop, how many others are able to see your vulnerability, exploit you, or pass judgment?
11. Not asking for help when you really should
Flying solo may look attractive but everyone has weaknesses and things that they are not really good at.
You need to ask yourself what will happen when those holes in your armor appear and your team realizes you are only human.
What message you are sending to the people who are following you?
12. Fear of failure means you avoid trying new things
Being change-averse and risk-averse means you are stuck.
Being stuck means that others will pass you by and overtake you.
You need to ask yourself if you can afford to be left behind and seen as someone who was not forward thinking. Do you want this to be your legacy?
13. Always doing things the same way as you always have
Habit is a comfortable word.
It is so much easier to repeat the same processes than to learn something new, and often this is why we default to this, often subconsciously.
You need to ask yourself if you are guilty of complacency and recognize that people could see this as your ‘Achilles Heel’ and take advantage.
14. Worried about what others think when you determine how you act
As humans, we are very vulnerable to how we are perceived.
For some of us, this controls our behavior and can, when escalated, paralyze us to act according to what others deem as appropriate and not trust our own instincts and experience.
You need to ask yourself are you allowing your actions to be determined by others, or are you taking responsibility and setting an example.
Do you have a reputation as a leader or one who is being led?
15. Overanalyzing everything
Thinking too much can cause you to overthink and over analyze.
This can lead to doubt and indecision.
You need to ask yourself how you approach your decision making?
Are you reticent to make any decision and procrastinate because you can’t?
What impact does this have on your performance and reputation?
16. Communicating what you say will happen, and when it will happen, and then not delivering on that
This is often seen described as time management.
Don’t focus on where you aren’t going to proceed or get outcomes.
However, this approach often means that you, in good faith, promise to come back to someone, follow up, confirm a quote or offer or give them an update within a time frame with some sense of surety and optimism that this will happen.
You need to ask yourself when circumstance and timelines change are you guilty of blowing people off, forgetting to get back to them, dropping them down the priority order or just ignoring them because getting back to them is no longer as important?
If so what if you need or want something from that person in the future and that is not something you can foresee.
Will they be there for you?
17. Making decisions on what others say you should do
Following the crowd or winning the popular vote may make you a hero in the short term but when the consequences of decisions that are made, motivated by others opinions, inevitably, you could be the one with egg on your face.
You need to ask yourself are you band-aiding a problem with a solution that you didn’t give consensus on?
18. Making yourself a minority in your mind: Creating the Victims Syndrome
Society likes to create minority groups, even where they weren’t in existence before.
Why then do we move into the shadow and allow ourselves to be a minority?
You need to ask yourself…
Are you a leader with conviction or a leader without a voice?
You need to be prepared to stand up for your team, be responsible and accountable, to gain their respect and the respect of your peers.
19. Looking at the problem, not the solution
This is more common than most of us want to acknowledge.
It feels so normal to complain about the problem, how it is impacting us and if you give your team a chance they will run with this approach every time.
You need to ask yourself if you are determined to draw a line in the sand.
Expect that your team comes to you with a solution for the problem and never comes to you with the problem for you to solve.
The solution they offer does not have to be the right one, but it will start them thinking the right way. In time, more often than not, they will be on the right track and be thinking more laterally, than literally.
20. Assuming that the problem cannot ever be part of the solution
Believing that the problem is part of the solution almost sounds like a contradiction for most people, and often it is hard to understand and process.
You need to ask yourself how you can illustrate to your team, and peers, that the problem is a symptom.
To determine the solution, the symptom or symptoms of the problem, if reverse engineered, could provide valuable insights into the solution or solutions.
The ‘problem’ needs to stop being the barrier between you and the ‘solution’.
21. Doing what you think other people think you should do
Guesswork is about as accurate as being blindfolded and asked to perform a task that requires sight to be successful. It is not going to end well.
You need to ask yourself if you are prepared to risk your reputation by assuming what you think others think you should do, or be bold enough to find out what should be done and show initiative.
Travelling with the herd may feel safer but when predators move in you are likely to be trapped.
22. Not investing in yourself as a unique value proposition
Do you pay enough attention to yourself?
If you value what you bring to the table you need to invest in yourself to get the best returns.
Makes sense doesn’t it?
You would do that with any depreciating asset, wouldn’t you?
You need to ask yourself what your strategy is for continual improvement to be at the top of your game or your reputation in your chosen field may suffer.
23. Not believing you can because it is easier to give up
We all get tired living in the human rat race, competing to stay on top of the pack, and to remain relevant.
Sometimes it just seems easier to concede, rather than compete.
You need to ask yourself what the impact will be on your reputation if you choose the easy way out each time.
You might cruise along for awhile but sure enough, you will hit the rocks if you continue without a rudder to guide you in your strategic decision making.
Your business card is your boarding pass but your reputation is your passport. If you want to reach the right destinations you need to make sure your journey doesn’t hit turbulence.
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