How to Rebuild Your Reputation When You’ve Blown It
By Crystal Jonas, author of The Power of Purpose
Linda, a participant at a Leadership Skills for Women seminar, approached me at break. “Crystal, I’m concerned that I have really blown my reputation. I got so upset with my team that I showed how angry I was in the middle of a meeting. People have been teasing me about my blowup, and it’s really getting to me. Is there any chance for recovering my hard-earned reputation?”
Can you relate to Linda’s question? It’s one I’ve heard often, and I can appreciate that it’s an issue you want to address immediately. So, let’s look at the good news about acting “out of character” and then you’ll read three actions you can take to rebuild your reputation to make it better than ever.
Good News About Acting “Out of Character”
Unfortunately, you snap in front of witnesses.
And they pick up on it. In a recent Powerful Communication Skills for Women class, Susan commented, “We were just discussing this point in our group, Crystal. We all behave professionally for weeks on end. We have one moment where we snap and that’s what people remember. It’s so frustrating!”
“Yes, I can appreciate that,” I answered. “Here’s why others take notice: ‘Dog bites man.’ Not news. ‘Man bites dog.’ News.”
“The very fact that people notice when you “blow it” tells me you don’t make this mistake very often. In other words, it’s out of character for you to do this. This is good news. You obviously do have a good reputation, you just slipped. This is survivable, and you can come back stronger than ever.”
Start with this reminder.
Picture a mountain in an ocean. The entire mountain is you, but only the proverbial “tip of the iceberg” is what others see. This tip of the iceberg is your reputation.
So, remember when you are tempted to publicly express yourself that this goes into creating your reputation. Choose your words and actions wisely.
Action #1 to Rebuild Your Reputation — Brand Yourself
Know exactly the kind of reputation you’re wishing to create. How others see you is far too important to leave to chance.
To create your brand, look to successful people you admire. What qualities do they possess and how might you cultivate those qualities?
Action #2 - Admit Your Mistake
If the person you were addressing is more of a gentle person, you might spend more time on the apology. “Betty, I wanted to apologize for letting my frustration show yesterday by speaking harshly to you. “ Now, Betty might want to speak her mind, and you’d be wise to let her.
Action #3 - Cultivate an Advocate to Accelerate Your Results
Great question! In rebuilding a reputation, you have a wonderful opportunity to make it better than ever.
Here’s how: Cultivate the goodwill of someone in the inner circle. This is a person who is well-respected at work, whom you also respect.
We’ll call this person Sylvia. You say to Sylvia something to this effect: “Sylvia, I would value your opinion on something. I realize that sometimes what I thought was assertiveness comes across as being too pushy. I’d like to do what I can to make that right. I wonder if you have 15 minutes or so when I could get your advice on this?”
Just adjust the script above to fit with your unique situation.
What to Do Next to Continue Building a Positive Reputation
You can also start to let a few other people know that you are working on certain areas of professional development and you’re open to ideas and feedback.
Good for you! Keep it up, and your newly refined rep will be established before you know it.
Crystal Jonas is a motivational expert, professional speaker, and author of The Power of Purpose. “The People Skills Lady,” Crystal Jonas is known for the energy, enthusiasm, and knowledge she brings to her keynotes and seminars. An expert in leadership, communication, and emotional intelligence, some of her most requested programs include “Communicate With Credibility and Confidence.” To arrange to have Crystal Jonas come into your organization to present a custom program for you, contact our Enterprise Learning Solutions department at 1-800-344-4613.
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All great info here. I plan to share with my team who are all women and a coworker who occasionally allows
emotional responses in public situations.
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