I have observed that reputations are influenced by four areas – articulation, attitude, behavior, and production. First, a look at articulation.
When it comes to your reputation, your colleagues are going to think what they want to think and say what they want to say. Since the reputation you have exists in the thoughts and words of your colleagues (especially when you are not present), the focus of your time and energy is to influence those thoughts and words.
The first step to identifying the reputation you want to have starts with your ability to articulate it. You can’t expect others to think and speak about you in the ways that you want them to think and speak about you, if you can’t describe your reputation yourself. It would be like driving from New York City to San Francisco without knowing how to get there. Who knows where you will end up?
If you want people to think about you and describe you in a certain way when you are not present, you need to be the first one to articulate your reputation the way you would want others to articulate it.
When was the last time you took a few moments to think about the reputation you want to have? How do you know if the choices you are making support the reputation you want to have? If you are like the majority of the busy business professionals with whom I work, you have never spent time seriously thinking about the reputation you want to have. You have never spent time considering the importance of influencing the thoughts and words of your colleagues when they speak about you when you are not present. No doubt you have expected that your “nose-to-the-grindstone” work ethic would ensure rapturous thoughts and words about you after you had left the room.
Next, how attitude influences your reputation.