18 January 2006

Personal reputation

Build your personal reputation. A solid, no-holes reputation. At all cost.

Your personal reputation is your personal brand. Build it, single-mindedly. It helps if the main ingredients making up the brand – character, integrity, honesty – are good to start with. If you’re lacking something here, you better change your ways before people catch on. Remember the old adage, “Once a thief, always a thief”, holds good even in the corporate world.

Value-add to make your personal reputation stronger. Be nice to people. Smile. Be polite. Be grateful when someone helps you. Learn to work with people, as you can’t possibly achieve everything on your own – including building your personal reputation. Pay attention to those around you and their needs. Share their sentiments while following your goals. Particularly those of your bosses. I learnt this much too late in life and suffered for it.

Avoid pitfalls that may crash your personal reputation along the way. Be careful of what you say. Keep your opinions to yourself, especially if you have a strong point of view on anything. Never show your temper – even if you’ve had a bad day. Don’t shout in office. No matter what your point is, if you yell, you’re in the wrong.

Your personal problems are yours – don’t bring them to work. If you’re in a bad marriage, don’t discuss it with anyone in the office. Don’t bring different girlfriends (or boyfriends) to office parties. Date them in your own time. You may be the envy of a few, but you’ll be seen as unfaithful – as a “player” – unstable, and not to be trusted.

Your personal reputation doesn’t end with your next promotion or the next job, but lives with you till the end of your career. Even later. If you don’t watch what you do or what you say, others will anyway. And sometimes, they’ll be too quick to judge. Particularly, when you’re on the way to the top.

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