Whether you’re new on the job or have been in the same role for a decade, you likely want to be seen as a reliable, resourceful and responsible member of the team.
People who usually have the worst reputations at work are those who come across as selfish, overly ambitious, or duplicitous. These are the co-workers we all love to hate. You know, the ones who take credit where it’s not due, kiss up to the managers or throw others under the bus when it benefits them.
Sometimes, to the dismay of others, these people go on to greater successes. But in most cases, it’s usually a matter of time before their ill will catches up with them. After all, the enemies they make are usually very motivated to offer opinions about them.
The good news is that there are quick changes that can be implemented which make maximum impact and they can help to solidify your role as a go-to colleague with character and leadership skills (even if you have let your reputation acquire a few scuffs along the way).
Here are ten ways to rebrand yourself as the office all-star almost immediately:
1. Give yourself an honest assessment.
We all like to think of ourselves as giving our best, but when we sit down and force ourselves to write down and review the facts, there is often conflicting information. See the disconnects as opportunities–this is where you can rock your comeback.
Sit down and write out what an all-star looks like to you and then check give yourself a score.
How often are you late to work or meetings? Are you frequently distracting colleagues at the water cooler? Are you demanding more from your team than you’re bringing to the table? What’s your attitude like most days?
2. Set clear expectations.
While it is nice to give space for input and room for people to respond according to their own schedule, unclear directions and bendable deadlines are not the tools used by all-stars because they aren’t effective.
Be clear about what the goal is and ask the right questions. “What do you need to get this done by Monday?” works better than, “do you think you can do this by early next week?”
3. Stop taking things personally.
Pride in your work is one thing, but allowing your identity to violently attach itself to every project you lead is going to frustrate you and annoy your colleagues and clients. Connect with those around you, but keep enough distance for everyone to understand where you end and they begin.
Lastly, remove your feelings from your directives. “I think, I feel, I want” are not helpful in the office. Share the objective and then explain why your ask is essential for the success of the company. Then move on.
4. Apologize only when you have done something wrong.
Apologizing is important when you have truly made an error, but it is important to remember that running around saying “I’m sorry`’ in place of “excuse me” and “don’t interrupt me” is brand erosion at its finest. Not only does it make you look as though you lack confidence, it can make you look sloppy.
If you’ve ever been guilty of treating your co-workers negligently, carelessly or even flat-out maliciously, it’s time to admit your wrongdoing and ask for forgiveness. On the other hand, if you’ve let down your co-workers in the past because of something more benign like flakiness, you’re better off making amends through actions rather than words.
5. Dress like you’re there to win.
Every company has their own culture and dress code and wearing a tie or blazer isn’t always the best option when the rest of the team is Tech casual. That said, rolling up to the office looking as though you slept in your clothes or haven’t had a proper shower since leaving work on Friday won’t do much for your reputation amongst your colleagues or clients.
Your manager will also take notice as you are directly representing the company whilst showcasing a lack of respect for your own personal hygiene (which includes reeking of alcohol Friday morning). 70% of first impressions are made up from what you look like (20% is tone and 10% is what you actually say), making an effort to look polished can serve you well as you work to move up in your career.
6. Learn to “win” together.
Tossing your colleagues under the bus, stealing credit and competing for every accolade not only destroys any chance of office friendship, it makes you look like an insecure jerk.
Don’t think only of yourself. Be aware of how your actions affect others. And lend a helping hand when you’re able. Be friendly to all and try to avoid gossip. The more likable you are, in general, the easier it will be for others to forgive your shortcomings.
7. Watch yourself at social events.
It goes without saying that getting drunk at the office party is a no-no, but it’s also easy to forget that people are watching the way you behave for clues to your out-of-office personality. It doesn’t matter how great you are at your job if those you work with think you’re irresponsible or untrustworthy.
8. Seize your moment in the details.
The people who make the most lasting impressions are the ones who take a few minutes to go the extra mile. Send thank you notes, clean up your desk, ask your colleagues about things they mentioned were meaningful to them. The “small” things make a big impact when it comes to polishing up your rep.
9. Be transparent.
If you can’t do something without support, fear you won’t make a deadline or find yourself in a situation where you don’t know the answer, say so.
10. Be good.
A big part of being reputable is being competent. It doesn’t matter how talented, smart or likable you are, if you aren’t the type of person whom your boss or co-workers can depend on when it matters most, they might think twice about recommending you for promotions or other jobs.
Building competence requires you to be conscientious and organized, but most importantly, it requires you to be consistent. People need to get used to the idea that they can rely on you – not just sometimes, but always. They have to know that when you say something, you really mean it.
Check out my related post: What should you ask your boss to improve your chances for success?