Each person’s reputation is critical to their success in business. Although one may argue that one’s work ethic and quality of work are more important, the truth is that how one’s peers perceive them is more likely to determine their future advancement. Your image follows you everywhere and, unfortunately, there are a number of seemingly innocuous actions one may regularly take that sabotage their reputation. Here is a list of such common self-defeating practices and how to avoid them:
Being a “yes man”
Nobody wants to be associated with a “yes man” because they are often perceived as dishonest. Beyond that, when a person never turns down additional tasks despite their current workload or already existing pressure, they are viewed as the best person for a specific role and their supervisors may never consider promoting them because no one will be able to fill their shoes. So, instead of saying “yes” all the time, only take on extra tasks that genuinely interest you.
2. Keeping your head down
No one is suggesting that you should not be committed to your job. Rather, if you catch yourself being oblivious to what is going on around you because you are too absorbed in your work, chances are this will reflect negatively on you. Your co-workers may think that you are too unfriendly and unsociable.
3. Being the “teacher’s pet”
If all your actions and decisions revolve around how your boss will perceive them, you will inevitably alienate your co-workers who might even become hostile towards you at some point.
4. Not adapting
Sometimes, one may find themselves in a job or organization that does not quite fit their mindset. In that case, this person is responsible for moulding themselves into the culture. Failure to do so will inevitably ruin one’s reputation and make them come off as odd and an ill-fit. Thus, study the culture, read the room and adapt accordingly.
5. Being too talkative (or quiet)
There is a fine line between contributing too much or not enough in a conversation or meeting. If the former is true, then the people working with you may think that you want to take full credit. In case the latter is true, people may think that you have no opinions or ideas to share. What matters is to figure out what sufficient contribution entails and to learn to listen.
6. Being unable to handle minor issues
Only serious conflicts justify the boss’s or HR involvement. It is a grave mistake to run to the boss every time there is disagreement with a colleague; instead you should try to resolve it respectfully and maturely and seek support only if the issue persists.
7. Sticking to irritating habits
It is the little things that matter and can break your reputation. To avoid that, think of how you want to be perceived at work. If the mental image you created makes no room for smoking, chewing gum or hovering over people’s backs, then don’t do these.
8. Striving to outperform everyone
Over-performing may seem a good idea, but it is not. It might be construed as an effort to apple-polish the management and neither them nor your peers will appreciate it. Nobody values exaggeration.