Your reputation is like your shadow. It follows you everywhere.
What exactly is reputation? Reputation is defined as the opinions and beliefs people hold about someone or something. When it comes to you as an individual, it’s basically how people view you based on your habits.
How do you build your reputation? Building a reputation takes ages and is hard to build one. This is because your reputation is purely based on how people perceive you. It’s attributed to you by external factors. As such, the people you associate with will identify you based on your reputation. People who are viewed as kind, considerate and trustworthy are generally viewed as having a good reputation. You can either have a good or bad reputation depending on your habits and how people label and perceive you.
Although your reputation reflects who you are, it’s an identity that’s built on how people perceive you. As such, you have no control over it. Your reputation is like your shadow. It follows you everywhere.
Even though our reputation is important and helps define us, relying on your reputation to determine who you are every day can be damaging. Why? You may ask. As mentioned earlier, your reputation is mainly how you’re perceived by other. People have their own motives and can knowingly or unknowingly interpret your behavior as they please. Therefore, they can choose to have a distorted view of who you really are or not.
Behaviors That Influence Your Reputation
Different behaviors influence and help people make judgments on how they view you. These includes but are not limited to:
• How do you treat the people around you, colleagues or peers?
• What kind of content do you share on social media?
• How do you react to pressure?
• What views do you have on current, contemporary and cultural issues?
• Do you take responsibility for your actions or do you play the blame game?
• What kind of jokes do you make in the office?
So, what can you do to build a solid reputation?
1. Stand for something
More often than not, when our opinion or views or ideas are needed on certain issues, we shy away. Either because we don’t agree with what’s being said or we just don’t care. If you choose silence, people will perceive you a certain way. You may be considered lukewarm or viewed as a non-contributor. In an office set up, this can be quite damaging. Leaders won’t assign tasks to you or seek your opinion on certain issues.
A reliable and steady behavior makes your actions predictable and helps build your reputation of how people perceive you. This enables people to preempt your future behavior. With time, any change in your normal behavior can be viewed differently. However, if you have an unpredictable behavior, people find it hard seeing you a certain way which leaves your reputation for misinterpretation.
Back in the day, most people built their reputation through word of mouth. It’s still the same today only that with the introduction of social media and the internet, news about you travels far wide and faster. Moreover, the internet never forgets. It’s hard to erase what’s been put on the internet yet it just takes a few minutes to ruin your reputation. Stay true to your good reputation unless you want to build a negative one.
Remember the adage ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’? The same applies to reputation. It takes time and trust to build one. Consistency is the number one way to ensure patience. Although a damaged reputation can be repaired, it’s not a thing that takes a day. Rebuilding the trust you have with people will take a while but it might after a while bear fruits.
5. Online Reputation
If you’ve used the internet, there is a trail of yourself out there. Recruiters are beginning to look at candidates online before making hiring decisions. That racist, tribal or hate-speech comment can cause you to miss out on a great job opportunity. Ensure that your online reputation is a representation of who you are. Don’t be carried away by your emotions and write stuff that will come back to haunt you.
As mentioned earlier, your reputation is your shadow. It follows you everywhere. At the same time, your reputation can lock and unlock opportunities for you. For this reason, it’s important to think before you act. Everywhere you go, there is a footprint being left behind. You have the option of choosing whether you want to leave behind a positive footprint or a negative one.