60938698 - good reputation sign on old black vintage brick wall backgroundWhen a man or woman does something to tarnish his or her reputation among professional peers, the loss is incalculable. Here are four ways to guard your most important personal asset.

  1. Cultivate a transparent persona. Demonstrate your character through consistency, transparency and loyalty. Be wary of braggarts and don’t follow in their footsteps. While you want people to notice your abilities and personal acumen, it’s better to show than tell. Others will see your actions and form an opinion based on how you handle stress, compliments and responsibilities.
  2. Deference is highly valued. Even so, it’s often an under-appreciated personal asset. Remember humility can be a powerful asset in building one’s credibility. Aim for consistency and politeness in your relationships with peers, underlings and superiors. Building trust takes time, but the confidence others place in you can be lost in a day.
  3. Consistency is critical. People relax and feel somewhat safer when circumstances are predictable. For business professionals, predictability is critical in building peer-to-peer relationships. It’s the basis of trust. So when you are out and about, make sure your actions are consistent. That increases the likelihood others will trust you.
  4. Don’t spread rumors. While sharing tips with other professionals can instill confidence in your expertise, take care not to cross the line into garden-variety gossip. Resist the temptation to spread rumors as they may be unfounded. The rumor mill can tarnish another person’s reputation for years. Even when the information is accurate, sharing something second hand is not necessarily a way to increase your credibility. It can backfire.