How to Avoid Building a Bad Reputation at Work

Many, many years ago there was some research done into change and transformation, which is a big and important subject in the world of work. The research was about the risk of an organisational change not working out very well. Four specific risks were identified – the one that came fourth in importance was what the researchers called skills of change agents. The next one above that was the kind of barriers typically put up by middle managers. The other two were to do with leadership and how long the leader sponsored the change for.

An organisational change is most successful when it’s made in line with the culture of the company. This tells us how important cultural alignment is to the workplace. Being culturally aligned to an organisation is not only necessary for the success of processes but also for the success of the people within that organisation. When you think about why someone has a bad reputation within a company, it’s usually because they’ve failed to align to what is culturally acceptable and appropriate to that specific company.

To avoid building a bad reputation at work you have to familiarise yourself with what’s deemed as appropriate behaviour at your place of work, bearing in mind that behaviours that are appropriate in one industry can be completely inappropriate in other contexts. For instance, imagine that there are a couple of guys at an organisation who are very, very good at what they do but are not rated highly within the business because the way they behave is at odds with how that company expects its employees to behave. With some employers, being nice is more important than being effective and their employees just have to accept that to avoid causing a stir and getting a bad name.

You can also have a better reputation as a colleague if you seek to understand more clearly what it is that your colleagues want from you.  People complaining about people being difficult to work with happens all the time. It’s difficult to dig your way out of this if it affects you. Finding out how to communicate with your fellow team members, in whatever format it is and whatever it is you may be doing, is the key.

Get to know how people want deliverables to be delivered. Good relationships in the workplace get you very far. One of the things that they do is leave people with a feeling about you that is positive. Even if you’re not good at something, even though you may not be the fastest or most technically adroit, people will respond to you positively if you’ve worked at building a good reputation. If you’ve got a bad reputation they won’t.

Take a look at our ebook 125 Personal Branding Tips for ideas on standing out for the right reasons.