By Linda Van Valkenburgh, MS, CCMC, CJSS, CSMCS, CELDC

A Harvard Business Review study found that 58% of people trust a complete stranger more than their own boss. If you’re in a leadership position, this is a poignant statistic to consider. Does your team trust you?
Trustworthiness is just one of the many positive qualities that you hope your fellow employees say you have. If you want to progress in your career, it pays to reflect on your current reputation and how you can improve or maintain it. Follow this guide to develop your work reputation and become someone everyone wants to work with.
Everyone makes mistakes, but not everyone can own and admit to their mistakes. By taking responsibility for your mistakes, you earn respect and trust of those around you. It also allows you to focus on the problem and how to resolve it. This develops your reputation as someone who has maturity, confidence, and professionalism. It also improves your work performance by resolving problems faster and developing stronger processes.
Avoid Complaining
No matter how tired or frustrated you are, avoiding complaining in front of your team. This creates a toxic atmosphere by spreading negativity. Those who are viewed as negative do not have the best professional reputations.
If you find yourself complaining, focus on redirecting your efforts. Change the conversation to be about resolving the problem you want to complain about.
Follow Up
All too often, people make a promise to follow up, and they never do. Make yourself stand out by following up with people. There are two ways you can do this. The first is to follow up with someone when you promise you’ll get back to them. This could be to provide an answer to an unresolved question or check in on the status of an ongoing project. The other is to check in with professional contacts. Most people only reach out to their network when they need something. But this portrays you as someone who uses people. Change this by checking in with your professional network and ask how they’re doing. This develops your reputation as someone who is genuinely interested and cares about others.
Make the Extra Effort
There’s a line of thinking among employees that says you should only do the bare minimum. You’re only getting paid for specific tasks, so why do more than what you’re getting paid for?
This approach will not make you stand out or develop your professional reputation. Instead, look for ways you can go above and beyond. Sometimes this means finding a solution to a problem without being asked. Other times it could be staying late to help a colleague meet a tight deadline. It could even be something small, like sending a thank you note or flowers to a colleague who is experiencing a significant life event.
Pay Attention to Your Body Language
Sometimes it isn’t what you say that influences how others view you. Focus on your body language to ensure you’re sending the right unspoken signals. Show that you are actively listening and engaged by maintaining eye contact with the person you’re communicating with.
Have good posture to convey confidence and authority. This makes you seem more likable and makes people more willing to follow you as a leader.
Don’t be afraid to smile genuinely. This projects positivity and friendliness. Be careful, though; people are surprisingly good at detecting fake smiles. If yours are perceived as fake, this will make you look fake and deceptive.
Develop Your Work Reputation
Sometimes it can help to work with an outside party to develop your professional skills. You could work with a career coach to identify areas where you can develop and grow. This lets you improve and maintain your professional reputation.

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If you are ready to move your executive career forward contact me today at [email protected]