Build your reputation at work, and your reputation will work for you

The best piece of advice I could probably give to anyone is to make sure you build your reputation at work. A wise person once said “Work on your reputation, and your reputation will work for you.” – or something along the lines. And they could not be more right. Ever since I’ve started working full-time (6 years ago) I’ve been applying this principle and it never failed me. If you are a high-performer, this will probably come naturally to you. You don’t need to actively think about it, your reputation will build itself as you keep showing up every single day; it will just happen. If you are still trying to find your footing in your role/team/company, have a think about this and whether you could benefit from it and find ways of building your reputation.

Building a strong reputation takes a lot of hard work but it also pays off over time and when the time comes, it will allow you to ask for whatever you need: flexibility in your schedule, changing projects, getting more support, etc… . You will be trusted with better (and often more challenging) projects, handed (early) promotions on a silver plate, and more. I promise, if you work on it, it will be worth it. For me, this means having consistently great feedback and performance reviews as well as promotions, being recognized by the C-level, the ability to take holidays without asking for permission from my manager (another tip here, never ask for permission), owning my daily schedule and taking the flexibility when I need it without having to report to my manager every single detail, having weight when it comes to sharing opinions and feedback, being able to set boundaries and much more. Point is, when you have a good reputation, your life at work is easier.

When joining a new company or team or starting in a new role, make sure you spend time building your reputation. Show your commitment to success, show bias for action, be reliable and keep your word on delivering good work, and build good relationships across the company, up, down, and across. Prove yourself again and again.


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Trench coat weather in Berlin.


It’s usually easier to do it when you have just started in a new company because you come with a clean slate. However, it’s not too late to do it if you’ve been around for a while. High performance is generally recognized regardless of the time you’ve spent at a company, so the sooner you start working on it the faster you will see the results. If you don’t quite know where to start, here are some practical tips on how to build your reputation at work.


How to build a strong reputation at work:


  • Deliver in your day-to-day tasks with quality and do so consistently since early on. There is no better way to have people trust you than delivering on the work you were hired to do. For me, this is the very baseline you should be building on.
  • If for whatever reason your day-to-day work doesn’t allow you to shine, switch gears and find something that will do. Oftentimes, signing up for a new, challenging project will do the trick. Just remember to also be strategic about the project you pick/volunteer for so it’s not in the “thankless tasks” bucket but has actual potential for giving you good visibility and exposure.
  • When there are no new projects on sight, make one up. Identify a process gap in your team/department/company build a plan to address it and own its implementation. Everyone loves proactivity and this is a great way to get noticed and have exposure to both colleagues and management.
  • Network and make yourself visible. The last tip that I will share and that I think is one of the most important ones in building your reputation and getting ahead at work is to network and make sure you are seen and heard. Yes, networking also applies within your own company. Build good relationships and work on your visibility. It’s not enough to just do a good job and be quiet about it. You need to make sure that the work you do is seen and appreciated.Speak up when you have the chance. Connect with all sorts of people across the company, up, down, and across. Be there for your colleagues by delivering on time, helping when needed, sharing knowledge, and just being nice. You don’t have to be an extrovert or a social beast to do this. Being a genuinely good human usually is enough. Remember that everybody is human – including your manager and your CEO – and use that to connect with people. Be kind, nice, helpful, and interested in others (not saying to overdo it or be a doormat) and people will remember this regardless of your job title. As you advance in your role, having a network of people that trust the product of your work will become invaluable.

    Before closing this, I will also say that I’m not a believer in just building your reputation with empty words. Yes, it works in the beginning and people can get the impression you are a great performer if you say the right thing at the right time and generally talk more than you do or even love to take other’s accomplishments as your own. But let me tell you this, it usually does not last long. People will see through it and once the trust is lost you can’t really get it back.


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shoes and bag


So this is it, these are my top tips for building a solid reputation at work. It’s not really rocket science, you just need to be determined to put in the work, and then you will be able to reap the benefits. I’ve applied this in both companies I’ve worked for so far and it has never failed me.

Building your reputation at work is something I passionately believe in as it allows you to build a work-life that you are proud of, work on your own terms and it fuels you for the road ahead.


What are your thoughts on building your reputation at work? Do you have any other tips I should have included?


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