In a recent post, I offered for anyone wanting to improve their professional reputation, four actions professionals practice, with a few considerations to go along each. Those first four actions will get you moving in the direction of professionalism. You can check out the first four actions here: 4 Actions Professionals Practice. The following actions, practiced consistently, will move you far ahead of the pack.
1. Guard your reputation.
Face facts. Our reputation either helps us or hurts us. When people say “I don’t really care what people think about what I say or do,” they’re speaking ignorantly, foolishly or arrogantly. The way people think about you, good or bad, will ultimately affect the way they and others treat you. You want to be treated better, have more professional opportunities come your way? Then guard your professional reputation with the same focus and commitment that you would if you were guarding the family jewels, because you are.
2. Never compromise your integrity.
Okay, here’s a nonnegotiable item for professionals. NEVER, NEVER, NEVER do anything that is illegal, immoral, unethical or highly impractical. NEVER! Do so and you will certainly pay a heavy price. You will most certainly be found out. And on the remote chance that you’re not exposed publicly for your breach of integrity (don’t count on that happening), you’ll still be burdened with having to look yourself in the face every day knowing what you’ve done. Leave a legacy of integrity for your friends, family and fellow professionals to follow as an example.
3. Commit to constant improvement.
Be working on at least one thing constantly that will help you get better as a professional. It really doesn’t matter what that one thing is as long as it offers opportunity for personal improvement. And you should be the one that identifies that one thing. If someone else identifies it for you, then it sounds too much like personal criticism. Instead, take the bull by the horns, pick that one thing you want or need to improve and then get started. Ask for help if you need it, but get started.
4. Work to solve problems, rather than place blame.
Problem solvers are popular everywhere. Not so with blame placers. As a professional, don’t concern yourself too much with trying to figure out WHO is at fault. There are always more than enough finger-pointers standing around who are willing to play that role. Instead, be one of the fantastic few who steps up and says by word and deed, “Here give it to me, I think I can fix it and make it work.” By such action be prepared to confound many (the finger-pointers) and ultimately, amaze everyone with your refreshing and often unexpected (see point #3 in my previous post) response to real problems that need to be solved.
I would like to hear your take — is one of these actions harder to consistently practice than the others? If so, why or why not? What other ways would you suggest a professional can improve their reputation? Please share.