Reputation is arguably the most valuable asset any leader, corporation, organisation, or government can have. If reputation was an item on the balance sheet, it would go straight to the bottom line.

So how is a reputation earned, and conversely, how is a reputation destroyed?

Excellent reputations are developed over long periods based on consistency, trustworthiness, reliability, and a host of intangible factors. Reputation can be dealt a fatal blow by just one incidence of untrustworthiness.

Trust is earned,

Trust cannot be bought,

Reputation is built on trust.

People might trust you if you:

  • Fulfil your promises;
  • Do not abuse power;
  • Are open, candid, and honest;
  • Take no advantage of your position;
  • Act in the interests of your stakeholders;
  • Say what you mean, and mean what you say;
  • Speak the truth, even when it is not what you think people might like to hear;
  • Accept constructive critique and take action to address areas for improvement;
  • Step away when your work is done, and never bask in accolades or take personal kudos.

People will mistrust you if:

  • Lie or mislead;
  • Forgo your promises;
  • Act in your own interest;
  • Are selective with the truth;
  • Have one rule for yourself and another for others;
  • Hide from accountability and refuse to take responsibility.

Exercise: Try applying these tests to the situations quoted from Twitter below.

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