We admire companies and this is reflected in our choices as consumers, investors and in other forms of business. But what about the managers that have influenced our own behaviours and performance? Our own reputation?
Many times we had no choice, but even then, they influenced us. Even if it was to never to be like them.
The following self-directed exercise will help you to reflect about those managers and mentors that shaped your own reputation.
- What gave them the reputation of being an excellent manager and/or mentor?
- What is that they did to earn that reputation?
Read through the following paragraph and then follow the necessary instructions.
‘’As all of us grow up and grow older, we have our own personal heroes and heroines – friends, teachers, coaches, idols and mentors. By their actions and their advice, they have influenced and inspired us. The people we admire give us courage and direction. They exemplified a positive reputation.
Take a moment to think about these special people. Perhaps it was a parent, a relative, a neighbour, a teacher, or an sports coach. Perhaps it was someone you did not know that well but who still had an influence on you.
How did they influence you to act in a more reputable manner and to be conscious of your own reputation?
Tell me how that person made a difference in your life and career. What were some of the qualities that made that person stand out from others around you?
What made them a reputable manager and person in your life and career?
Now answer the following questions:
- In remembering them, what do you see, hear or feel right now?
- How did those people affect your life right then?
- What did you admire most about these people?
- What is the most important contribution these people made to your life?
- How is your life affected right now by these people?
- List those qualities (Motivational attributes and characteristics) that made these people special for you.
Building a favourable reputation as a manager is a daily process of action. Becoming conscious of the impact and influence you have on others should become your own guiding beacon.
What will others say about you?
It can destroy people’s trust in you, it can destroy relationships and ultimately shut doors in your face.
Yet, many people believe that time is the healer, and that with time knowledge of the incident or scandal will fade. Interestingly, organizational research on the topic varies. Some say it can take 3.5 years to restore a damaged reputation whilst others have found it to be more than 10 years.
In some cases people never forget nor forgive.
Hence the saying: ‘’Reputation is like a fragile vase, once broken, not easily repaired’’. Here is a story that lends more weight to this argument.
There once was a little girl who had a bad temper. Her father gave her a bag of nails and told her that every time she lost his temper, she must hammer a nail into the backyard fence.
The first day, the girl drove 37 nails into the fence. Over the next few weeks, as she learned to control her anger, the number of nails hammered daily gradually dwindled down. She discovered it was easier to hold her temper than to drive those nails into the fence….
Eventually, the day came when the girl didn’t lose her temper at all, she told her father about it and die father suggested that she now pull out one nail for each day that she was able to hold her temper.
The days passed. The young girl was able to tell her father that all the nails were gone.
The father took his daughter by the hand and led her to the fence. He said, "You have done well my little one, but look at the holes in the fence. The fence will never be the same. When you say things in anger, they leave a scar just like these. Remember, you can put a knife in a man and draw it out. It won’t matter how many times you say ‘I’m sorry,’ those wounds will still remain."
You can cover up cracks, but the scars remain.
In athletes scar tissue can cause lack of performance and further injuries. In companies it is vital to fix that which caused the scars in the first place and to make the processes better than ever before. This takes time, investment, effort and hopefully fading memories.
However it is better you do not damage your reputation the first time around! It is better that you do not drive nails into the fence!