Reputation is the intangible ways in which we connect with others. This is where activities and behaviors that help you be known in your organization and industry exist. I like to think of reputation as the echo you leave when you exit a room. Your reputation is what your colleagues say about you when you are not there. Perhaps your colleagues are commenting on a presentation you just gave, or an interaction you just had, or your candidacy for a promotion. Do you know what they are saying about you? More importantly, what do you want your colleagues to be saying about you?
The global workplace is full of office “tyrants.” These troublesome creatures are very visible in their environments, just not in a good way. To survive in their fast-paced and ever-changing organizations, office tyrants feed on negative and energy draining behavior. They create havoc while performing their job responsibilities, cause controversy on every project, and cauterize relationships in ways that impede progress. A visitor to an environment that houses an office tyrant can easily tell when office tyrants are approaching simply by watching the behavior of the office tyrant’s colleagues. Their eyes roll, their bodies stiffen, and they will often scatter for the nearest water cooler or stairwell. Most troubling for office tyrants looking to create their next controversy is the fact that colleagues they have yet to meet are aware of their disruptive and unproductive behavior even before meeting them. As another successful day of bad behavior comes to a close, the office tyrants withdraw, only to return the next day to feed again. Can you think of any office tyrants in your organization? Do you know your reputation at work? Could you be an office tyrant?
Individuals successful in building a good reputation are regarded in positive ways. Your colleagues with great reputations are not only known in positive ways by colleagues with whom they have met and collaborated, they are similarly known to colleagues whom they have yet to meet. The old adage, “your reputation precedes you,” continues to exist due to individuals who are very successful in managing their reputation in their organization and industry.