Your Reputation – What are you known for?

By – Sally Longson

We all have a reputation at work. Some people are known for being pro-active, others reliable, or brilliant with handling clients, dealing with sensitive issues, or making things happen. In this section, we're going to talk about you, and your reputation. If you know what your reputation is like, it boosts your morale. It makes you hold your head high. It's a great confidence booster. If you were to have an opportunity to be promoted or try for another job tomorrow, you'd need to be able to sell yourself fast, without mumbling your way through. Self knowledge will help you do just that.

A solid reputation has increased in importance since the workplace becoming more customer and team oriented. Every member of staff is 'on show' and reflects the values and image of the organisation he works for. Reputation is about how you achieve, handle people, handle yourself, empathise with others, and the image you portray. It's about your integrity, trustworthiness and ability to handle confidentiality. You are your own ambassador, so fly your flag and the company emblem high if you want people to take you seriously and be seen as a professional. An organisation whose staff looks after their own image will care about the customers, too. Your organisation needs customers to keep coming back and spread the word about it just to survive.

What's your reputation like?

How aware of your reputation are you at work – what sort of opinion do other professionals in the building have of you? Is it something you care about and look after? Think about what you're known for - the list below might provide some ideas, but they aren't exclusive, so add your own if they are more accurate in describing your reputation.

  • Makes things happen
  • Holds confidentiality
  • Great sense of humour
  • Goes the extra mile
  • Instills confidence in others
  • Strong networker
  • Professional
  • Can-do attitude
  • Handles difficult people brilliantly
  • Handles difficult situations well
  • Cares about results
  • Makes a contribution
  • The Best!
  • Integrity
  • Motivates and leads others
  • Thinks ahead
  • nthusiastic
  • Takes time to help others
  • An achiever
  • Positive
  • Empathises with others strongly
  • Trustworthiness
  • Hard worker
  • Makes a difference
  • Exceeds expectations

Benchmarking your view against those of other people.

Ask your boss or a fellow PA what they think of you. What opinion do they have of you as a professional? In each case, ask each person to give an example to support their view, so that you know they mean it!

Now take this further. Ask the same question among close friends you trust - it can be a real confidence booster. Our friends choose to be with us because something draws them to us. They like us, respect us and have fun with us. We can be ourselves with good friends. So what do your friends think your special qualities are? What are you known for in your personal life? What do they believe your qualities are? What is it about you that draws your friends to you? Are you the person they immediately turn to if something goes wrong?

Get your friends to give you evidence of your special qualities, because then you'll know they're not just being nice. For example, I think you are very good at helping people in trouble who need advice. When I was offered that job and didn't know whether to stay where I was or go for the job, you helped me work through the pros and cons. You helped me think things through and listened. You were impartial - I could use you as a sounding board.

Use the information you have from people who know you in and out of work.

Take this knowledge about your reputation and qualities further. This exercise done outside of work can not only boost your confidence, but it can open you up to new careers and job angles you hadn't thought of before. Can you think of other areas in your work and in your life where you can put your strengths to work? Use this information on any personal profiles when applying for new posts in your organisation and to build your career on - it will strengthen your conviction that you're doing the right thing.

What message does your image portray about you?

When people meet you, 65% of their image of you is based on how you look; 30% by how you talk and what you say; and 5% relates to the content of what you say. If you are talking to people on the telephone, 70% of their impression of you will be based on the sound of your voice; and 30% on the content of what you're saying. You can make a strong initial impression within a few seconds of meeting people or talking to them on the phone; they will form much of their view of you then and it will take lots of effort to get them to change their view if things don't go well.
As more and more PAs are being given management tasks to do, so it is important to behave like a manager and portray an image and attitude which reflects your responsibilities. PAs who are serious about their career care very much about their own image - it can do a great deal for their reputation. That image extends not just to the way you look, but:

  • Your appearance and personal hygiene
  • Body Language
  • The state of your desk and work area.
  • Your voice
  • The tone in your voice and on paper/email
  • When you're not there....e.g. going on holiday
  • Your approach to people - are you friendly, warm and helpful; or cold, uninterested and unwilling to help?

As an example, what sort of tone do you use when sending out mail, whether it's by email or snail mail or fax? Here's a check-list of things to look for:

  • Spelling errors
  • Grammatical mistakes
  • Is the tone right?
  • Is everything relevant?
  • Does it have your contact information to hand, in case people need to reach you?
  • Is it going to all the appropriate parties?
  • If your boss can't sign it, and he has asked you to sign it on his behalf, have you indicated that you are signing on his behalf, for example by putting pp by his name?

What image does your desk portray in terms of your professionalism? Does it look as though it has been dragged through a hedge, with papers everywhere, empty chocolate wrappers and this morning's edition of the tabloids? Or does it look professional, clear and organised? If it's the latter, you'll certainly save lots of time searching for things when that all-important client rings up.

Set yourself apart by acquiring look, image and reputation you want.
Make your reputation your Unique Selling Point.

Share this page with your friends


Share this page with your friends.