Equally important, the ability and willingness to show others that strong character traits are authentic will bolster a strong reputation. People trust those with self-confidence and the willingness to be transparent about what matters to them. When the leaders of an organization are unafraid to openly share their personal beliefs, interests, and priorities, everyone feels comfortable about being open and putting their own convictions on the line.
To boost the perception of authenticity precede every decision to act by making a conscious choice about how the action will be carried out. Called “proof points,” this process considers key facets of the decision, including its magnitude, who it affects, what underlying value it expresses, and whether it will stand the test of time. It enables the decision-maker to anticipate the reactions and perceptions of others, and to view every action in the context of reputation.
Caring for coworkers, clients, customers, and everyone else who plays a part in an organization – from janitors to top executives – generates a bond that helps to reinforce and enhance a positive reputation. People who are seen as being genuinely concerned about the best interests of others are able to inspire high levels of trust and motivation. Conversely, an individual who fails to demonstrate caring is unlikely to be followed, believed, or supported.
Sharing responsibility for achieving the organization’s goals is another way to empower others. Just as importantly, sharing with people helps to earn their respect, and solidifies their loyalty.
There are seven steps to successful caring and sharing:
* Pick trustworthy people to work with.
* Vest them with the unvarnished facts, including potential problems, risks, and challenges.
* Do not oversell or mischaracterize their roles and opportunities.
* Use every discussion as a means of engagement.
* Ask if they need help, and get them the necessary resources.
* Check in to see how they are doing.
* Share both victories and failures.
Ultimately, someone with a reputation for authenticity, sharing, and caring becomes a magnet for others. In addition to performing at their best, they can be counted on to generate positive word of mouth, the most effective form of advertising both for an organization and for a person’s reputation.
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