An executive hears reports of committee members’ behaviour, experience of an interview panel is relayed to a colleague, staff are overheard chatting about their team-mate - so it is that reputations are built.
Reputation counts. A good one provides opportunities to do your job more easily, produce better results and generates rewards and progress in careers. When you’re respected there’s more chance others will seek your input, or hear our views and adopt our ideas.
Google yourself to see what is already out there about you and consider the impression it creates
When we are highly esteemed, others more readily use, recommend and appoint us. Collaborative and trustworthy colleagues are more confident to commit resources to our care, invest their time in our projects and draw us into their activities and networks.
Reputation is rooted in achievement, so harnessing our expertise to improve patient experience will always be our primary goal.
Observers inevitably form impressions - accurate and inaccurate - about us. In the natural course of events, these images are relayed to others. Subject to interest, as well as the reputation of the conveyor, views may be stored, used or discarded, added to an existing image and conveyed further. To ensure a true image of our character and competence is in circulation, we have to move beyond laying the foundation of a “job well done”. We must also safeguard, if not manage, our own reputation.
Start by confirming the reputation you need. Be aware of the spheres you want to work within, as well as those you need to influence, then identify the competencies, contributions, values and behaviours you must demonstrate. Even this first step may expose development needs to address.
Next, uncover your current reputation. What are others saying about you (if anything)? Good, bad or indifferent, significant or insignificant, far-reaching or localised, we all have a reputation.
Recall phrases commonly used about you. Observe reactions to your suggestions or support. Gather and reflect on feedback and testimonials about your performance and behaviour. Google yourself to see what is already out there about you and consider the impression it creates. Contrast the image you need with the one you have to reveal shortfalls in your reputation - challenge any misinformation and misapprehensions.
For example, you may need to improve your practice, contribute more or with more tact, be more fair or supportive with colleagues, or demonstrate more leadership, political awareness or integrity.
Create or raise your profile by taking up a speaking engagement, publishing an innovation, being active within a professional body, or simply displaying your name on documents to show ownership.
Having weighed up the shortfalls in your reputation, it’s time to put things right. As a minimum, deliver your promises, exhibit the best of behaviours, keep your networks vibrant. Stay positive, innovative or at least encouraging, especially in these tough times. But above all, find ways to support your colleagues, your boss and your organisation in making the NHS better.