Being proactive and having a plan in place is essential in maintaining and protecting your reputation. Professionally, I recommend every woman business leader or entrepreneur create a reputation blueprint or crisis plan—just as you would create a “disaster” plan for your business in case of a potential natural, public relations or environmental crisis.
I found some great tips on ways to protect your reputation from Janet Meiners Thaeler, and I’d like to share my thoughts about her suggestions with you here:
Do not wait
If you find out there is something negative being said about you or your company, don’t wait to respond. With the ease and availability of information these days via social media and the Internet, once something is being said, it morphs into the truth whether it is or not. But before responding, Janet cautions, “Wait long enough until you get your anger or other strong emotions in check.”
Janet suggests that you stay vigilant and protect your reputation before you have to do damage control. Stay ahead of the game by being proactive, stay on good terms with as many allies as you can, and build up a reputation network. These allies can be invaluable in a crisis, says Janet, “I’ve seen how one word from the right person can immediately silence all criticism.”
Watch out for bullies
Janet makes a good point when she says bullies aren’t limited to the halls of the local high school. She notes that even one bully can make corporate life miserable. Janet’s advice is to address the bully head-on and make a point to state your case to the public. Use your reputation network to diffuse the bully’s comments immediately.
Bad reputation signs
Be on the alert, and when you notice you aren’t being asked to participate in meetings or key company decisions, it’s time to do some reputation management, says Janet.
I can’t stress how important reputation management is to your ability to lead and manage. I know I take it very seriously, and I recommend all women business leaders pay attention to their reputations religiously. For more on managing a crisis, see my blog “13 Steps Women Business Leaders Can Use to Mitigate a Crisis.”