Why Your Reputation Matters…and 4 Ways to Change it
One of the top leadership questions I get from young leaders is, “How do I change a label that was given to me?”
These two words have been placed on every single millennial. Whether it applies to you or not, they’ve been put on you as a millennial.
Many of us have had labels give to us. Often times a generational label or a reputation based on your family or the area you grew up in defines you. They quickly become our reputation. It has the power to become our reputation because perceptions become reality. If you have a perception about yourself, you might as well assume it is on it’s way to becoming a reality unless you do something about it.
Over the years, I’ve learned there are four things required to change a reputation. So I thought I’d share them with you!
PAUSE: Before reading the following list, try and think of 1 or 2 things you know are a part of your reputation. It will help you a ton in this exercise.
You can’t change something you are not aware needs to change. Dang. This is why we have to start here: blind spots. You’ll see that awareness is central to the things you will learn and overcome in leadership. You have to be aware, because you can’t change anything you don’t know needs changing! Let a few people into your life and then INVITE them to share some potential blind spots. This is a brutal exercise, but if you’ve invited people you trust into this circle, then you can trust they are doing this because they love you and care for you. Huge difference. You have to find and become aware of your reputation.
We must deny we have a problem or reputation that’s been handed to us. Admit it. I know this sounds like some more serious issues, but you will never change ANYTHING until you accept that it’s real. I’ve taken two 360 evaluations with my team. Basically letting specific people speak anonymously into my leadership. Brutally honest. The most important gift a 360 gives leaders is it breaks down you SELF-PERCEPTIONS and replaces them with real perceptions. I would’ve never accepted these blind spots until my self-perception was broken down because I heard similar feedback from multiple people and I had to accept it. Once I accepted it, I dug in so I could change it.
Get/Ask for Help
This seems to be the step that most of us skip. Go find someone who is NATURALLY wired towards the area that you are wanting to improve. I’m not going to go to a counselor to figure out how to take care of my lawn. I’m going to go to someone who KNOWS how to take care of it and it comes easy to them. If you’re like me and struggle with details, then go find someone who is uniquely wired to results and details and pick their brain. Learn from them. Ask questions. Leaders are learners, so make sure you’re learning from those who are good at what you want to change.
Go Two Miles the Other Way
Listen, if your reputation only needed tweaks, you would’ve done it already. You have to go far in the other direction FOR A LONG PERIOD OF TIME! You have to take this seriously and show others how seriously you’re taking it. As followers of Jesus, we have to always strive to grow and represent Him to the best of our ability. Your reputation can indicate to others how much you have surrendered your life to Jesus. Are you doing everything in your power to adjust the negative perceptions of you?
What is it for you? Is it…
Time: Are you late often? Change it. Punctuality shows respect.
Trust: Have you managed the trust of your leaders well? Do you try to push every line you can?
Professionalism: Are you making your bosses say no to your request or are you thinking through your requests thoroughly? (Sometimes it DOES hurt to ask, especially if you’re putting your leader in a position to have to say no because you didn’t think through it well.)
Lazy: Don’t be. I can’t think of a worse reputation for a believer.
Leaders. Followers of Jesus. It’s not just our reputation on the line. It’s the Lord’s. When people know you’re a follower of Jesus your reputation can hurt His. Let’s give God our very best and grow to let our reputation give God glory!