Six ways to rehabilitate your reputation

Six ways to rehabilitate your reputation

You can change the way others see you, with a little work


Make it up: if you think you have offended a colleague, reach out to apologise


Make it up: if you think you have offended a colleague, reach out to apologise


Do you ever feel that people have the wrong impression of you at work?

It can be frustrating when others don’t see us as we intend.

So how can you change others’ perceptions of you?

Be upfront about the issue 

When you know you’ve made a poor impression, address the misperception head-on.

For example, if you think you may have offended a colleague, reach out to apologise.

If you were late delivering two reports in a row, tell your manager you know it’s an issue and that it won’t happen again.

Don’t get defensive 

If you do address the misperception directly to someone, make sure not to get angry.

Instead, accept that they feel a certain way about you and apologise if necessary.

Look for opportunities to work together 

You have to provide evidence that you’re not a pushover – the more often, the better.

A smart way to achieve this, especially if you don’t regularly encounter the person you are trying to convince, is to volunteer to work with them.

Not only do you have more opportunities to change their mind, the person is more motivated to soften their stance toward you.

Go above and beyond 

If you have a reputation for showing up late to work, showing up one minute late is a problem because you are proving people’s assumptions right.

Instead, of getting to work at 9am, you need to get there at 8:45am.

If your boss thinks you’re the meekest participant in meetings, you need to start offering thoughtful contributions frequently.

Find common ground 

Get people to start thinking about “us” rather than “them”.

The shared trait can be inconsequential: Living in the same neighbourhood, wearing the same brand of shoes or being a dog lover.

If you don’t feel you are making much headway with someone, another strategy is to flatter them by asking for advice.

Have patience 

Don’t expect results overnight.

The time it takes to change peoples’ perceptions of you depends on many factors, including how extreme the difference between the impression you gave and the impression you want to impart is and how many opportunities you have to make your case.

– Copyright Harvard Business Review 2015


Previously published in The Irish Times.


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