What Are People Saying About You?

Jason Cortel
4 min readMay 25, 2020

Are you actively managing your reputation? Your reputation is one of your most valuable assets, and yet people can be careless in managing it. Your reputation is always present, even when you are absent. The pace at which our world moves is increasing, so people look for shortcuts, and they find them in your reputation. Do you have good references? What do your co-workers say about you? How did your boss describe you in your last performance review? There is a tremendous value placed on what people say about you. Therefore, you need to manage your reputation.

Your reputation is the first thought people have when they hear your name. It is always following you wherever you go. You can’t run from your reputation, nor can you hide from it. Your reputation is around when you aren’t, and in some cases, will be around long after your life has ended. Whenever you aren’t around, your reputation will be there. It will defend you fiercely, or it will be the ammunition others need to attack you.

Behaviors That Cause a Bad Reputation

Reputation constantly evolves because it is the cumulative observations of your words and actions. Even more so, it is how others perceive your motives that ultimately determine how they feel about you. Here are common causes of a bad reputation:

  • Inappropriate comments or jokes during an office party
  • Inappropriate social media posts
  • Lack of tact when voicing concerns over policy or process
  • Inability to collaborate with others
  • Manipulating office politics
  • Being out for yourself
  • Inability to handle pressure
  • Focused on finding excuses
  • Always pointing elsewhere to find blame

How to Build and Manage Your Reputation

Your reputation is much too valuable not to be an active participant in building and managing it. You can’t escape your reputation, but you can shape it. These actions help you manage your reputation and open doors to endless opportunities. Build and manage your reputation so it promotes you when you aren’t around, rather than enabling others to attack you.

1) Know your values, live your values, be your values

If you don’t know what you stand for, your behaviors and words will be inconsistent. When it comes to reputation management, consistency is key because your reputation is the cumulative observations of your words and actions. When your behavior is consistent and reliable, your actions become predictable. It enables people to form an impression of you while at the same time, anticipate future behavior. Being consistent in your behavior helps people overlook most deviations by excusing them as having a bad day. Consistent behavior starts with your values and who your ideal self is. It is the foundation for reputation management.

2) Take pride in all that you do

No matter how big or small, significant or insignificant, you think a task is, always take pride in your actions. Everything you do has your name on it, and that reason is enough to take pride in it. Whatever your rank or department, you are a vital part of the process. Embrace your importance by understanding the bigger picture and your role in making things happen. Increase your confidence by recognizing you can learn more by embracing opportunities for learning. Increased confidence leads to increased pride and having pride in what you do helps you manage your reputation.

3) Operate with integrity by doing the right thing

Do what is right every time, especially when no one is looking. Take personal responsibility for acting. It may seem benign to think something you are observing isn’t your issue, but that isn’t operating from integrity. See something, say something. Assume someone is watching you because odds are they are even if you don’t see them. When you do nothing or the wrong thing, your consequences are tough to explain. Your action, and inaction, are critical to reputation management.

4) Demonstrate compassion for people

A favorite quote of mine says, “people will forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel.” Show kindness, caring, and a willingness to help others. Express gratitude, act on your empathy, and, most important, transfer your knowledge by teaching. Help others build and manage their reputation by acknowledging their successes. Reputation management requires you to model good behaviors and most certainly never engage in reputation assassination.

5) Own the outcomes of your actions

What would the headline read if you said or did something? If the headline wouldn’t make you proud, perhaps you shouldn’t do it. But if things go wrong despite your best intentions, own it, don’t hide from it. Confront it head-on with an apology, and better yet, with a plan of action to correct it. Owning outcomes also means being decisive, solving problems, delegating, abstaining from blame, taking responsibility, and finally, regularly reflecting on your actions. Reputation management ultimately rests on how well you own the outcomes of your actions.

How careful are you when you buy a new smartphone? No doubt, you treat it delicately and work hard to avoid dropping it or scratching the glass. Think of how careful you are when you buy a new car. I’m sure you park far out in the parking lot to avoid someone hitting it. We replace these items every few years. Your reputation, on the other hand, is uniquely yours and with you for life.

Every move you make, every word you speak, becomes your reputation. It will stand in for you when you aren’t around. Whenever your name is mentioned or your presence acknowledged, your reputation is not far behind. What are people saying about you? That depends on how well you manage your reputation.

Originally published at https://www.jasoncortel.com on May 25, 2020.



Jason Cortel

Changing the world by developing people professionally. Author who blogs about leadership, career advice, and coaching. #WhyYouNow