7 Ways To Recover When Your Reputation Gets Hit
We hear every so often of someone who unjustly discharged from a position or has been slandered to such a degree that their reputation has taken a hit.
These are folks, and perhaps we even know or have been one, that have built an otherwise solid career and credibility but due to no fault of their own, have been the victim of circumstance, politics, and other unsavory or opportunistic practices.
And what happens afterwards can be just as harsh. These people spend a great deal of time, sometimes years, trying to rebuild their otherwise good standing to get their career back on track.
My advice for people that have had their reputation tarnished from outside forces is to follow the following guidelines in the rebuilding process:
- Know what you’ve done right. If you can honestly assess your actions and know that you have walked with integrity, you can hold your head high that it wasn’t your fault. Even if you made some small errors but in large you have been blameless, give yourself some credit for staying authentic.
- Don’t take it personal. Easily said, but difficult to arrive to. Sometimes it’s hard to separate the emotions or personal feelings from these situations, especially if it was personally motivated by others. But to harbor resentment will only hold you back. Best to let it go and focus on getting yourself back on track. Stay busy so you won’t have time to take matters personally.
- Look for the positive in the circumstance. Take a look at the opportunities this now presents to you. Find a chance to learn something new. Get a career dream off the ground. See that perhaps your former company did you a favor by alleviating you from the politics or further trouble down the road that would have been worse. Find an opportunity to lurch forward and get excited to pursue it.
- Promote, or even, re-brand yourself. This is possibly the most vital step in the process. Promoting, or re-branding yourself, is the steady presence of your leadership character, ability, and core values. By repeatedly and consistently putting who you are, and always have been, out there in front of you for others to see, you will water down the negative publicity and drown out the cloud of doubt that has been cast over you.
- Connect with others who can validate your position. People that truly know you and your character will most certainly vouch for you. Stay connected with them as they can be valuable allies or references if someone should ask about the situation. They may even have more information that helps validate your credibility, which will help encourage you and keep a professional perspective.
- When confronted with the situation, be honest and respectful. When the industry grapevine finally comes around, it may be easier to embellish the facts or even talk poorly of the previous company. Both of these behaviors are easily identified and will belie your attempt to rebuild. Instead, be honest and talk positively and respectfully about those with whom you’ve parted ways. The more you get the facts out there and show that there is no hard feelings, the more you can ensure people that you’re speaking the truth and have your credibility intact.
- Trust in time and truth. This process takes time, and as the saying goes “time heals all wounds.” (The reverse can be true as well). Be patient. Over time the momentum and ripple effects of the situation will calm down, and be largely forgotten. However if you keep plugging away in truth and re-branding yourself, you will most certainly overcome and be able to stand on a more firm ground than ever before.
By staying true to your core values and to your integrity, as well as staying professional and respectful, your reputation and career can make a timely rebound. Don’t get discouraged, just be bigger than the situation.
I’d love to hear your stories of how you or someone you know has triumphed from a reputation hit. Share them in the comments below!