A good reputation at work is the first step toward a successful career. It impacts your business relationships, builds trust, and boosts integrity. A good reputation can open doors … and a bad one can shut them.
Your reputation is the perception that others have of you. So, what you do and how you act all contribute to it, for better or for worse. Acting professionally is one of the best ways to improve your reputation. So, what does that even look like? Well, professionalism encompasses a set of values and behaviors that demonstrate a commitment to excellence … this starts with the basics, like showing up on time and ready to work. The amount of credibility a professional can get for simply being on time consistently is underestimated. Professionals also make a point to take personal responsibility for their actions and their work, which can give your reputation a boost. This means never throwing any other employee under the bus, and instead asking yourself: what did I do to contribute to this issue?… And apologizing for your part in it fully.
Regardless of whether you planned it or not, you have a reputation at work right this moment. Your reputation follows you, so before your first day, your hiring team disseminated information about your work and who you are as a person. Don’t worry…they hired you, so they like you. Everything you do after that contributes positively or negatively to how you’re perceived.
Here are three surefire ways to elevate your workplace reputation:
1. Go the extra mile. Take initiative and offer to help get projects off the ground. There has been a lot of banter about quiet quitting, which can appear as doing the bare minimum outlined in your job description. While healthy corporate professionals are “quiet quitting” to enforce much-needed boundaries, many are mentally checking out. Going the extra mile is the opposite. But that doesn’t mean you need to take on mountains of work; that will only lead to burnout. It means that you’re willing to go stretch your job duties to their fullest and buckle down when needed to get things done.
Since the pandemic, employee engagement has steadily declined from 36% in 2020 to 32% in 2022. The majority of today’s workforce is neutral or disengaged at work. One of the ways to boost engagement is employee recognition … Going the extra mile is one way to be recognized. And recognition is contagious. Other employees will follow suit to get the same recognition.
2. Be transparent. Transparency is a buzzword in the workforce today. It’s equivalent to being an open book in what you do and don’t know. It’s not being afraid to say, “Great question. Let me get back to you.” Being transparent is communicating openly and honestly, admitting your mistakes, and providing constructive feedback. It’s also about owning your actions. This creates trust.
Transparency is another force that drives employee engagement. A Paychex survey of 1,100 employees and 200 managers found that 64.8% of respondents felt transparency was important when it affects other employees.
3. Excellence over perfection. Perfectionism kills productivity, and is often a mask we wear when we’re afraid of failure. It often holds people back, though it’s their intention to propel forward. Yet, the great majority of people grapple with perfectionism in one way or another. In a Hardin Group survey, 72% of respondents felt that perfectionism leads to anxiety and depression, 68% believe it’s the fast train to burnout, and 66% believe it increases their fear of failure.
Striving for excellence means doing your best by continuously improving your skills, knowledge, and performance. It doesn’t mean being perfect. Every. Single. Time. By striving for excellence, you demonstrate a personal commitment to professional growth, which contributes to a culture of excellence in the workplace.
Creating a positive reputation in the workplace significantly impacts your career success and satisfaction. Your reputation also opens the doors to new opportunities that may not exist otherwise. If you’re coming back from a bad rap, it’s going to take time to rebuild. Be patient and follow these guidelines by taking small steps forward.