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Building a Reputation

Building a Reputation
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Building a reputation contributes greatly to your levels of informal power and influence. If you develop a reputation for being competent, smart, influential, if you’re perceived as being influential, you are less likely to be fought, challenged, and attacked. What research tells us is that we face an interesting dilemma when building our reputations. If you do not advocate for yourself and do not showcase your accomplishments, skills, expertise, abilities, you are disadvantaged. You are particularly disadvantaged in those settings that entail competition, such as competition for promotions or salary decisions. But if you do advocate for yourself, others can suspect that you are not being objective and as a result, you can be perceived as arrogant and self-aggrandizing.
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The advice that Jeffrey Pfeffer, a scholar at Stanford give us is that get others, your boss, colleagues, your friends to tout your abilities, your competence, your expertise, your accomplishments. This advice might seem deceptively simple, the really powerful underlying idea is that you don’t own your reputation, other people do. Other people can build your reputation, reinforce it, they can also bring it down. That said, you can help others build the narrative around your reputation. For example, we all know that some people are really good at introducing us to others, others not so much. So you can help your boss to deliver a strong introduction of you to your team.
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You can say, for example, that it may be helpful for the team to hear about my work in project x. Now, in addition to saying that Coz is a great gal and she hails from Japan, your boss can also mention your important contributions to the organization. Or you can very politely and discretely mention that it may be helpful to the team to hear about your work in your Brazilian operation center.
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Another way to help others build your reputation is think about your past projects, your past experiences that you were involved in. Think about the lessons that you can communicate to others that can help them deal with their ongoing challenges, ongoing projects and proactively share those insights, proactively share those lessons. Indirectly, you enable others to build the reputation for you as that of an expert.
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Now in the spirit of ongoing learning from one another, I’d like to ask you to go to the discussion forum, the reputation thread, and share examples of how you can help others build a robust reputation for you.
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