Building your professional reputation is literally something you have been doing one day at a time since you joined the workforce. You have also built your reputation one company at a time, one team at a time, and perhaps one project at a time, too. In other words, every company, every person with whom you work, and the projects to which you have contributed are all part of what combines to define your professional reputation.
How you handle yourself in each and every encounter is also a contributing factor that either adds to or subtracts from the value of your reputation. So, what happens if you have built a solid and positive reputation and you do or say something that has a negative impact? Is it possible to recover?
The answer is yes and no, and time, in many cases can work in your favor. Why? Because most people are more focused on themselves than you, and not everyone will remember all of the details of the incident in question.
It’s probably easy to name several people who have fallen prey to being victims either by self-sabotage or because of another person or group who negatively impacted the perceptions of others.
This is one reason people or companies hire public relations or crisis management firms to help mitigate the damage done to a brand due to a negative incident. Tylenol, Perrier, Exxon and other companies all had major incidents which severely tarnished the brand.
Both time and redrafting their messaging helped restore the brand back to either neutral, or took them out of the harsh spotlight of scrutiny.
Now think about people who have seen their reputation tarnished. It is painful to watch, and even more traumatic to experience. People find out who their true friends and supporters are in these instances.
The folks who faired best when their reputation took a turn downwards were the ones who had high degrees of emotional intelligence, but more importantly, surrounded themselves with a support network to help to rebuild their personal brand.
Of course, we are all responsible of our own reputations, but having a strong professional support group, can work miracles.
This is possible because the supporter essentially acts as a reputation buffer when the crash occurs. Having these human ‘airbags’ takes serious and quality time to build, but once they are in place, unless the incident was completely egregious, or ethically challenging, most people will be able to play a support role in restoring someone else’s professional reputation.
On the flip side of one’s reputation being damaged is what most people work to achieve. To have a stellar reputation.
As we all know, good reputations are earned, over time.
Since social media can build or break a career, reputations need to be simultaneously guarded, but also nurtured. The speed at which this communication channel moves makes it both positive and negative in terms of having an impact on the professional perception others have of you.
There are safeguards to control some of the negative aspects of social media, but more importantly, the positive attributes should be optimized. It’s okay to toot your own horn once in a while – perhaps you won an award, earned a certification, or made a significant contribution to a business project, maybe you volunteered time to a worthy cause . . . take a bow, and build your reputation.
Although no one wants to have an incident impact their professional reputation, it can happen. Although the immediate aftermath feels devastating you can recover. Do not to let it define who you are.
Most people are good by nature, and there are more who will forget what you did than remember what happened, or when. Keep your chin up, do the right thing when faced with tough choices, and most importantly, do what you can to preserve your reputation when you have an opportunity.
Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Strategist and CMO of Market Me Too. Market Me Too has expertise in bridging marketing and sales teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth and revenue numbers, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. We also work with individuals and sports teams to coach them to learn how to leverage and apply their peak performance talents on a daily basis. Contact Kathleen at email@example.com.
Announcement: I will be publishing my first business book next month. Information about how to pre-order my book will be posted on my WordPress site in the next few days. If you would like more details about my book, please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org . Thank you. – Kathy
Women of Isenberg Conference: The organizers of this conference at the University of Massachusetts flagship campus in Amherst, MA, have invited me back for a second time to talk about my career in Marketing. If you are in Amherst, MA on Saturday, please let me know, as I would happy to say hello to you. This conference is ‘sold out’, so put this as a must attend conference on your calendar in February 2019.