You have great qualifications. You are experienced and knowledgeable. Deep down inside you know you can cope with almost any problem that your boss may throw at you in the office. But for some reason, you have been consistently overlooked for a promotion.
On top of that, the ideas you have come up with at brainstorming sessions are often dismissed, and your voice is frequently ignored in meetings. This career staircase heading south is definitely not where you feel you should be at this stage of your professional life. Right?
Many professionals are beginning to question the point of working so hard when they are feeling undervalued.
When was the last time you set out to show that you are made of the right stuff? What are you doing to build and uphold your excellent professional reputation and increase your chances of shining at every opportunity?
It is well known that it doesn’t take much to ruin a person’s reputation. It is also clear that the best opportunities usually go to those who focus on crafting a great reputation, and work hard at keeping that reputation — in good times and in bad.
While this is not about winning a popularity contest, the best way to change people’s perception of you is to ask yourself: “What do they say about me?” If your boss was telling people honestly about you (in your absence), ask yourself how would he describe you?
If you really don’t know, now is the time to find out, and then work hard to develop the reputation that you should have.
Your CV should show how talented and skilful you are. But it is your CVV factors (credibility, visibility and vocability) that should scream how impressive and invaluable you really are to your organisation.
These essential work skills will help you begin the journey of building yourself an outstanding reputation and being regarded as a high-performance team player:
Disruptive forces are everywhere in the workplace. The best way to influence your reputation is by your behaviour. Your boss knows that your success is directly linked to how you handle situations when the going gets tough. If you are known to be someone who crumbles when a deadline approaches, then your boss is less likely to consider you as leadership material and your credibility suffers a blow.
You can work smarter to develop credibility by taking the lead and seeking initiatives. Talent management agencies often tell us that bosses are hankering for employees who think outside the box and are not afraid to go against the flow.
That doesn’t mean being disruptive. Rather, it is being forward-thinking to uncover better ways of doing great business.
If first impressions are everything, then how people see you has a major impact on your professional reputation. Can’t be bothered getting that haircut you so desperately need? Don’t have time to find a replacement pair for those worn-out shoes that are about to fall apart? These things speak volumes about your professionalism.
So too does your body language. Using hand gestures to accentuate what you are saying (for example, open palms) is one way that you let the other person know that you want to find a solution, that you can be trusted and that you are open for business.
Check out those who communicate without emotion. They are the ones who are not sitting slightly forward, arms glued to their lap and a lifeless face during conversation. It is a sure-fire way of telling your boss, clients or colleagues that you are uninterested and disconnected to the task at hand.
There is a lot of noise out there from your competitors. That’s why it is important to make sure your boss hears you regularly. Very few people actively use their voice to persuade, influence and impress. Inspiring communication in the office is a rare quality and one that bosses constantly appeal for.
Keeping your language positive is a start. Even if you need to make a negative comment or decline a request, you should begin by stating what you can do or something positive before giving the negative news followed by a positive line to close with.
Using this so-called “sandwich effect” (positive-negative-positive) has helped carve great reputations — “the can-do person in the office”, “the go machine” ,“the office whiz”.
It doesn’t mean that you will be known as the person who has to do everything — it simply sends out a more positive impression of you in contrast to the person who simply says no to everything.
Remembering to focus on these essential work factors will help you build a credible reputation and strengthen your position at work. You may not have the ability to change the thoughts of those around you but you can certainly work hard to persuade others that you are capable, confident and deserve respect.