A couple weeks ago we discussed some initial points on the importance of professional reputation management, including acting with integrity, doing your research before making drastic changes, not overextending yourself, and setting expectations. In our next installment, we’ll discuss some more ways you can manage your professional reputation specifically around the office that are focused on soft skills.
Stay Focused, and Avoid Being Overwhelmed
We’ve all been there—it’s Monday, it seems like it’s going to be a productive and low-stress work week. And then it’s Tuesday, and you now have a full calendar of meetings and deadlines, and there is still three days left in the work week.
These kinds of weeks happen more often than not, but it’s important that you never appear to be overwhelmed or unfocused. Coming off as scatter-brained, unprepared or disorganized during a meeting will set the tone for how you conduct business, may put your work in question, and you may find that you’re defending your choices more often than if you just “had it together.” Our blog on how to avoid feeling overwhelmed at work offers some great tips on how to stay focused.
Showing A United Front
One way to quickly assert yourself as the office shark, or even seem insubordinate is to throw your colleagues (or boss) under the bus. Regardless of if this is in a meeting, or through a private communication, this decision will always come back to haunt you. For your colleagues, it is best to always appear, especially in front of the client, that you and your teammates are all aligned and working together towards a common goal. When it comes to your boss, a sure way to come off as insubordinate is to undermine or call him/her out on something they’ve misstated.
In both scenarios, if you’re unable to very tactfully contradict your boss/teammate on something that they may have misstated, it’s best to align before a meeting to make sure everyone is saying the same thing, and/or discuss any misalignment after the meeting, in private.
Being A Team Player
Your boss is not the only person that matters to the success of your career. The people that work under your leadership or at the same level are precious commodities in the office. Therefore, being able to work well with them is paramount. Not only will they be a more willing resource, but there can be a sense of reciprocity among your co-workers if they feel you work just as hard for them, and more often than not they will be willing to help you out. Having many positive voices about you and your work results in strong reputation enhancements.
Consider your body language
Your body language tells people a lot about you, and often times we do things with our bodies that we’re not even aware of. The little things like smiling, sitting up straight, hands on the table, or leaning in closely to someone can have a big impact on how people perceive you. Making sure you’re aware of the body language don’ts is just important as looking at the body language do’s.
You can also check out body language expert Vanessa Van Edwards, founder of the Science of People, for some additional great tips on how your body language is speaking for you.
Make other people look good
As discussed above, being a team player and showing a united front can have the result of making other people around you look good. A sure-fire way to enhance your business reputation is to find ways to make other people look good – your boss, your executive team, your peers and your staff.
There is an old saying, “A rising tide lifts all boats.” In a business setting, and especially in the digital media industry, your co-workers are often your biggest assets, especially those you manage. So, make your team look good, often, and you’ll see how it will make you look good. Also note, often times these people have a say in your performance review, and if you play nice with others, they won’t have a chance to say anything negative about your character or work ability.