It is natural to not pay attention to something you do all the time. However, you should not confuse being practiced at something with being good at something. You eat all of the time, yet that does not mean you eat what you should. You sleep all of the time, yet that does not mean you always have a good night’s sleep. Even if you introduce yourself to others frequently, you are not necessarily a world class introducer.
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’re not there. Perhaps your colleagues are commenting on a presentation you just gave, 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?
While it is inevitable that the dreaded performance appraisal will cease to exist in its current format, some form of performance measurement will continue to exist. One reason is that roles where value creation falls into a category called “individual value” will need a performance management system to measure how foundational activities impact the organization.
As recently discussed, the quantity of work produced and the quality of your work are keys to creating your good reputation. Let’s face it, if you produce a low quantity of work and the work you do produce is low quality, your days are numbered. Even the best attitude and behavior will not offset low quantity and poor quality.
Having a good attitude, demonstrating good behaviors, and acting with integrity are only part of the reputation equation. In today’s fast-paced organizations, it’s almost assumed that your work production is good. Even colleagues who demonstrate a good attitude and good behaviors may find themselves in job jeopardy if they’re not producing good work.
Attitude reflects the intangible choices that you make regarding people and situations. Behavior reflects the tangible choices you make which influence your reputation.
Behavior is easier to define than attitude, since we’re able to see behavior more readily. While you can see some aspects of attitude (i.e., a smile on an optimistic colleague), behavior is where the “rubber hits the road.”
Your attitude plays a vital role in your reputation and how others perceive you.
The work that I do with my leadership coaching clients often focuses on the power of choice. My clients like talking about the concept of choice as they aspire to be more focused in what they choose to do and how they choose to do it. Often, however, in situations where my clients do have a choice, they erroneously believe they have no choice.
What If My Boss Thinks I’m Looking for a Job?
When you work to raise your visibility in your industry, many of you may feel you’re at risk of creating an impression with your boss that you’re looking for a new job opportunity. Many industry events are advertised as networking events where you meet colleagues from within your industry. Your boss may feel that you’ll meet a new colleague who will lure you away to a new opportunity with promises of wealth and fame.
Your professional success rests with the degree to which you raise your visibility in your organization AND your industry.
You could spend all of your time being visible within your organization at the expense of industry visibility. However, when you’re only visible in your organization, you miss opportunities for professional development and opportunities to build richer relationships with industry colleagues.