How does one enhance their own reputation at work? Check out “A Good Rep Goes a Long Way” by Dawn Klingensmith on Job Week, Content that Works!
For more of Lynne’s advice on how to become a rising star and develop a good reputation, see Lynne and Dawn’s Question & Answer interview below.
Dawn Klingensmith (DK): If one wants to build or enhance one’s reputation, I imagine it’s important to first determine what one wants to be known for. A subject matter expert? A creative genius? A problem solver? A disgruntled client whisperer? This may sound silly, but is there an exercise someone can do or questions to ask themselves to determine how they’d like to be known to their boss, colleagues and in the industry?
Lynne Sarikas (LS): While it would be great to know what you want to be known for, in my experience it becomes obvious over time. I’ve observed that the problem solver or subject matter expert in one job often becomes the same expert in another position and often even in another company. We use Career Leader which helps identify where skills and interests intersect. This can be helpful in determining career paths but doesn’t specifically address what you want to be known for. Self awareness is critical. There is also a level of inherent ability. You may wish you could be the creative genius but if you do not have that skill set it is not likely to happen.
DK: I imagine there are behaviors one must do consistently to build a relationship as a solid, reliable, loyal employee — in other words, a good hire for the company. What are some of those? Which of those behaviors and habits overlap when one is trying to go beyond that to develop a reputation as a rising star and a standout in the company and industry? Someone born to be a leader? Which behaviors/habits must one cultivate to be known as the shining star?
LS: Before you can become the rising star, you have to build a reputation as a solid, reliable employee. Do you job and do it well. Be the first to volunteer for additional assignments and new challenges. Deliver results consistently and in a timely manner and it will be noticed. Commit yourself to continuous learning on the job. Be willing to train others. Set high standards in all you do and meet or exceed those standards.
DK: What are some worthy relationship-building goals, and tactics for getting achieving them?
LS: To become a rising star you need to build strong relationships. You should ideally have a mentor in a more senior position who can advocate for you and offer guidance. You need a strong relationship with your manager. Make your boss look good. Build collaborative relationships across the organization. Many people box themselves in by limiting their interaction to their own department. Know how to get things done across the organization by building a strong network. Be someone that others want to work with. Be someone they will request when they are putting together a cross-functional team. Never speak poorly of your manager or your company in public. Respect confidences.
DK: How important is image? How does appearance play into that, and what else besides appearance? (Poise in meetings and public speaking, voicemail and email etiquette, etc.)
LS: Image can enhance or detract from your reputation for getting things done but it doesn’t replace the critical work being done and the relationships being built. For roles that involve client interaction, image becomes much more important since you are seen as a representative of the company and their brand. Communication skills are paramount in building a strong reputation. Public speaking, managing meetings, voicemail and email etiquette as well as general business etiquette are all important to rise within the organization.