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Change Your Reputation

How Do I Change My Reputation as a Leader? (Asking for a Friend)

by | Feb 24, 2023 | Asking For a Friend Featured, By Karin Hurt |

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To Change Your Reputation Set Human-Centered Goals and Stick With It

It can be super challenging to move beyond the stories of the past that affect your leadership reputation. We all have mishaps from the past that haunt us. Leadership is never handled. We’re always in progress. If you’re looking to change your reputation, today’s Asking for a Friend is a start. What would you add?

Why It’s Hard

Have you experienced this? You’ve been “all in” to improve your reputation, showing up as a competent, human-centered leader…but people still talk about when you lost your cool, stole credit for an idea, or were overly critical of other people’s ideas.

Whatever your leadership reputation holds, you can change your reputation with clear goals and persistent effort.

Change Your Reputation

Why Is Your Leadership Reputation So Important?

Your reputation defines your personal brand as a leader, and it’s how others would describe you in one sentence. Imagine your colleagues or employees describing you when you’re not around. What would they say?

Sure, your reputation might include some positive statements, but what if there is a BUT included?

“She’s a good person and very nice, BUT she doesn’t follow through on her commitments.”
“He’s the best sales guy we have BUT he’s really hard to work with and hyper-critical.”
“They have great ideas, BUT lack the leadership know-how to make things happen.”

7 Ways to Change Your Reputation

Leadership Training ProgramDefine the Leadership Qualities You Want

Start by defining success.
Try completing this sentence: “I want to be remembered as a leader who _________.” Identify the strengths you can build on and take a close look at your biggest opportunities for improvement.

Ask Courageous Questions to Understand Why You Have the Reputation You Have

Ask for honest feedback about your reputation.

To change your reputation, try asking these specific, humble courageous questions in pairs…one strength to build on, and one opportunity to improve.

  • What’s one behavior that you think helps my success as a leader? And, what’s one that undermines my success?
  • What is one way my current leadership style positively impacts the team? And, what’s one way my current leadership style gets in the way?

Let Others Know What You’re Working on and Why You Care

If you let people know what you’re working on and why it matters, they’re more likely to notice your change in behavior. When you let people know you are working on a change, you set them up to better see it and recognize you for the improvements you make.

Stay Consistent While Being Generous

Repetition is helpful and consistency is the key to lasting change. However, you don’t want to appear overly needy or only focused on your own career. Try to integrate your plan to change your reputation into your everyday activities without going overboard. Stay on track with your reputation transformation and also be generous in supporting your team and colleagues.

Be Interested in Your Team

They are – after all – the people who hold your reputation and see you more than anyone else in your organization. Show them you care. Ask supportive questions. Let them know you’re trying.

Be a genuinely interested and supportive leader who shows up as consistently helpful in order to increase trust and connection. At Let’s Grow Leaders, we call this “land in the AND” – be an interesting expert AND an interested connector. Be sure to review our 6 Core Competencies You Can’t Lead Without.

Admit When You Screw Up and Invite Your Team to Hold You Accountable

When you let people know what you’re working on, you can then ask for help.

You might say, “I’d really appreciate if you could watch out for me doing __________. Can you please let me know when you see me doing this well? Or if you see me doing this behavior, please point it out to me so I can do better.”

A quick, sincere apology goes a long way in building your trusted leadership brand.

Don’t Give Up

Changing your reputation takes time. Stay focused on consistently doing the right thing. Even if you can’t transform your damaged reputation in your current situation, the investment in changing your reputation can put you on track for success as you continue to develop your career.

Check out these related articles:

How Do I Stop My Boss From Treating Me Like a Kid

How to Improve Your Executive Presence to Have More Influence and Impact

Asking for a Friend with Marshall Goldsmith: How Do I Find More Meaning in My Work

How to Stop Being Perceived as Negative at Work

How to Overcome Negative Perceptions for a Better Leadership Brand

Want more human-centered leaders in the workplace? Share this today!

  Want more human-centered leaders in the workplace? Share this today!


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Karin Hurt

Karin Hurt helps human-centered leaders find clarity in uncertainty, drive innovation, and achieve breakthrough results.  She’s the founder and CEO of Let’s Grow Leaders, an international leadership development and training firm known for practical tools and leadership development programs that stick. She’s the award-winning author of four books including Courageous Cultures: How to Build Teams of Micro-Innovators, Problem Solvers, and Customer Advocates and Powerful Phrases for Dealing with Workplace Conflict, and a hosts the popular Asking For a Friend Vlog on LinkedIn. A former Verizon Wireless executive, Karin was named to Inc. Magazine’s list of great leadership speakers. Karin and her husband and business partner, David Dye, are committed to their philanthropic initiative, Winning Wells – building clean water wells for the people of Cambodia.

Be More Daring


Get the free Courageous Cultures E-Book to learn how

7 Practical Ways to be a Bit More Daring

Be More Daring


Get the FREE Courageous Cultures E-Book to learn how

7 Practical Ways to be a Bit More Daring

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