Maintaining a good reputation at work is a delicate balance. Because business is business, and there is usually a lot of stress circulating around an office, people are quicker to judge and slower to forgive. That’s why it’s important to get off to a solid start and do what you can to remain in the good graces of both your superiors and your coworkers. Here are a few behaviors to avoid:
Asserting Yourself as the New Guy
When you’re the new guy, it can be tempting to want to enter with a bang, but sometimes this can be a huge turnoff. If you start off trying to revolutionize things too quickly, people might become offended about the fact that you’re trying to change everything around, and put you back in your place. While you may have the best of intentions, try to hold back just a little bit, adding your two cents when it seems natural or when you are asked – not when you have to fight to get a word in. When you first get to a company, take some time to learn what they are about and what they are trying to do, and this will likely enable you to contribute in a more valuable way. After all, you may feel that you have some very enlightened observations to provide, but these may have already been observed previously (possibly more than once), and broaching the same topic all over again will just make everyone feel like you’re beating a dead horse.
Many people feel that they will actually build a greater reputation by being a “Yes Man”. Indeed, all companies value reliable employees. But if you get to the point where you are saying “yes” to everything, you may reach a point where the quality of all of your work suffers, or you may find yourself unable to get to certain projects at all. It’s important to learn what you can and cannot do, and to budget your time wisely. It’s perfectly fine to explain to your boss that you simply have too much on your plate to take on another project at the moment – he or she will likely respect you for this.
Failing to Check In
Your boss manages a lot of people, and by extension, manages a lot of projects. He has a lot on his plate, and so you figure you’ll spare him the headache by getting your work done first and then running it by him. But this can be a huge mistake. If you’re working on a big project, it’s probably a good idea to update your boss on your progress and allow him to offer feedback. Managers like to feel that they are a part of the work, and may become aggravated when you try to run off with it on your own. Additionally, when you fail to check in and end up doing something incorrectly, you’ll create more work for yourself and irritate your boss even more.
As you can see, much of maintaining a good reputation at work relies on learning how to communicate well – and this means being able to talk as well as listen. So avoid the above pitfalls, and stay tuned for our next installment of behaviors that have the propensity to ruin an individual’s work reputation!
Until next time,
The Doostang Team