Do you care what other people think about you?
Do you sometimes wonder what your employees think about you? Do you care?
If you're human, the answer is probably yes. We all care what people think about us. And the truth is we all want to be liked. To be liked or selected means we belong. And belonging is the very basis of survival.
We've learned: Don't worry what others think about you
Yet we've been taught not to worry about what other people think about us, that we put too much weight on what other people think about us. Instead, we are encouraged just to do our own thing.
That belief is wrong in leadership
But in leadership, you should be worried about what people think about you. Not necessarily as a popularity contest or worry so much that people like you, but instead, that your team members respect you.
If you want to have loyal employees and create a culture that welcomes those employees and keeps them around long term, what people think about you matters.
What others think about your leadership matters in this way
What people think about you is your reputation or your character. It's how people define you.
Each of these comments defines your reputation. And your reputation matters.
How people define you matters - here's why
When I completed my Hogan certification (I'm certified to deliver and interpret this personality assessment), I learned about defining our personality in two different ways.
The first part of your personality is your identity. Your identity is the part that you know from the inside. This is how we think about ourselves and want others to see us.
The problem is our view of ourselves is not always reflected in our behaviours. How we see ourselves is rarely how others see us. It's simply the story you tell yourself and others about you.
The observer's view
Your reputation, on the other hand, is the observer's view. It is based on your behaviours. Your reputation reflects how others observe and evaluate your behaviour after repeated interactions.
Who's view matters more?
You might wonder, which matters more, your identity or your reputation? Well, people hire us, fire us and marry us for a reputation. They loan us money, support us, and become loyal employees based on our reputation.
As Robert Hogan says, "The you you know is hardly worth knowing."
He asserts that it's peer descriptions of our behaviour that predict our reputation and thus our success.
How to create your reputation
How do you create the reputation you desire? One decision at a time.
You develop your reputation consciously
Each time you turn these decisions into conscious choices, you shape how you show up, what people think about you, and thus your reputation. Remember, your reputation plays a huge role in shaping your organizational culture; therefore, it's pertinent that you think about it!
3 strategies for shaping your reputation
How to help others think about you ... in the way you want them to think about you.
1) Make decisions about your behaviour more consciously.
2) Create feedback loops
Ask people what they think about you! How will you know if you don't ask?
Create INFORMAL structures in your everyday leadership to get this feedback.
Create FORMAL structures to get regular feedback from stakeholders you care about, perhaps your employees, peers and community stakeholders.
3) Engage in self-reflective practices
By developing a practice of reflecting on what happened, you begin to create meaning from your leadership experiences. This new meaning allows you to deepen the learning of an experience and helps you consider perhaps what you'd like to do differently in the future. This article provides you with 10 reflective thinking questions.
You might also find these podcast episodes helpful in developing a self-reflective thinking practice.
Here's why all of this matters so much
When you start to intentionally create space to make decisions and make choices to help people describe you and define you the way you want, you'll shape your reputation. As a result, your reputation or character will play a more intentional role in shaping the organizational culture in the way you want. That way, you will be leading a stronger, more engaged, and loyal team that continues to do the incredible work you all choose to do every day.
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Women leaders often hit a point where they find themselves in over their heads and wondering if they have what it takes to lead.