We’ve all heard it said that actions speak louder than words and this is especially true when focussing on building a reputation as a cool modern business leader. When we want others to recognize something in ourselves that we believe to be true, in is a natural instinct to want to boast: to tell everyone we meet about our achievements and the hard work it took for us to get where we are. We want people to know the sacrifices we’ve made and every way that we’ve gone above and beyond the norm to achieve the successes we have, and we want them to give is the recognition and reputation we deserve based upon these achievements. However, telling people about exploits in hopes of bolstering our reputation is the equivalent of going up on stage in front of them waving jazz-hands and sporting a dazzling cheesy grin. Saying “Hey there – look at me; look at all this great stuff I’ve done!” will not have the desired effect. Instead, you are far more likely to alienate your audience if you go about things in this fashion.
The greatest leaders do not do what they do for prestige. Each action they take is in line with their vision. They do what they believe in and what they believe will being about the most positive effects. A reputation cannot be built over night or on the basis of a few impressive feats. It takes dedication, humbleness, and consistency in action. A far better way to ensure your reputation that telling people how awesome you are, is simply to listen to them – even if they are telling you about something they’d like you to change.
As the head of the business you have the greatest stake in the success of the company, so you are, in a way, expected to put in the most hours and show the greatest commitment. You are expected to go all out to achieve the greatest success possible. While such a work ethic is always admirable, it can be seen as mostly self-serving. Further, telling people about all the work you’ve done and expecting them to give you congratulations and ‘big-up’ your reputation will simply have the effect of pushing them away and making them lose respect for you. Having power puts you in a unique position to earn the loyalty and admiration of your employees, customers, shareholders, and the world at large. But the only way to do this is to make a genuine and sincere effort to understand the needs of all these different people, rather than trying to get them to understand any sacrifices you have made.
Open channels of communication and really listen to what those who have any involvement with your company have to say. Take actions to help ensure those needs are met. Always act in an ethical way. Stay humble in all your doings and give recognition where it is due. This is all it really takes to build a reputation as a brilliant leader of today.