Are you owning your reputation - Michelle Gibbings

Whether you like it or not, you have a reputation. You are known for something.

Have you ever wondered whether what you are known for is what you want to be known for? Do you see yourself as others see you?

If there’s a gap or mismatch in some way you may find that your reputation is hindering your career and the progress you want to make in life.

At the centre of your reputation is your integrity.

A person with integrity lives their life according to moral and ethical principles. At a practical level, your integrity is about what you say and do every day, the decisions you make and how you treat people.

People bristle when they hear that their integrity has been called into question. For most people, their integrity is valued, and not something they want to lose.

However, your integrity can become tarnished and eroded slowly, over time, if you’re not careful.

Dan Ariely, a professor of psychology and behavioural economics, talks about the fact that everyone lies a little bit.

We like to believe that a few bad apples spoil the virtuous bunch. But research shows that everyone cheats a little-right up to the point where they lose their sense of integrity“, Dan said.

This is because we often make decisions unconsciously and are not aware of the biases built into the decision-making process. As well, the environment or culture in which we live and work plays a big part in how, when and why we decide the way we do.

An organisational culture that tolerates or encourages behaviour that is dodgy, can see people behave in ways that is out of character. Behaviour that they wouldn’t consider appropriate or ethical is adopted as they become ‘culturalised’ to the accepted way of behaving in that environment.

As a leader, how are you showing up every day? Is your behaviour congruent, consistent and in line with your espoused ethical values? If it’s not, you’ll be sending mixed messages to your team and stakeholders, putting your integrity at risk.

When you own your reputation you:

  • Actively seek to understand how others see you, and how you see yourself
  • Identify where there are gaps between your desired reputation and your actual reputation
  • Consciously construct a reputation that works for you in the long term, by being positively and sustainably developed
  • Realise that maintaining a positive and progressive reputation requires work – daily
  • Don’t take your reputation for granted

Every day, Benjamin Franklin asked himself two questions: In the morning – “What good shall I do today?” and in the evening – “What good have I done today?”.

If you are seeking to uplift your reputation, that’s a great way to start too.


Getting you ready for tomorrow, today!

Michelle Gibbings is a change leadership and career expert and founder of Change Meridian.  Michelle works with global leaders and teams to help them get fit for the future of work. She is the Author of ‘Step Up: How to Build Your Influence at Work’ and  ‘Career Leap: How to Reinvent and Liberate your Career’.  For more information: or contact

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