5 Ways To Change Your Work Reputation And Earn More Respect

We've all missed a deadline or been late to a meeting at some point because things happen and life gets in the way. However, if you find that you're constantly flaking when it comes to following through with project deadlines, fulfilling promises, or showing up to meetings on time, figuring out how to turn things around can help change your reputation in the workplace and earn respect for your contributions. There are many reasons why you might be flaky at work, not all of which automatically indicate that you're lazy or not committed to your company's mission. 

Inc reports that people often flake at work because their enthusiasm to contribute leads them to overcommit and take on too many projects at once, which is quite possibly the opposite of laziness. Some people may fail to meet deadlines because they struggle with organization and time management, while others might be overwhelmed by an overflowing inbox and neglect to respond to messages on time.

If you're unwavering in your desire to change your reputation at work and get things back on track, there are numerous ways that you can cultivate lasting change. You may even be surprised to learn that some of the ways that you can change your professional reputation can also lead to positive changes in your personal life. Just remember to be patient with yourself; change doesn't happen overnight.

Introspection is important

You can't change a habit unless you first determine why the behavior in question isn't aligned with your goals. This is where introspection becomes a key part of changing your reputation because if you can understand why you're not meeting necessary requirements, then you can find tangible solutions. Perhaps you struggle with submitting your work on time because you fear it won't be good enough, in which case you may choose to address overcoming perfectionism with a trained counselor or find ways to become more confident in the quality of your work even if it isn't flawless. Maybe you neglect to respond to emails because your inbox is overwhelmingly busy, so you might spend time deleting unnecessary messages and unsubscribing from extraneous newsletters and promotional emails. Whatever the root cause of your flaky reputation at work, introspection is the first step in turning things around so that you can earn more respect in the workplace.

The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy defines the act of being introspective as looking into your own recent behaviors, mental states, thoughts, and experiences. When you're introspective, you actively seek to better understand yourself and your current habits. Gaining introspective knowledge can alleviate doubts about oneself and replace them with secure beliefs in one's abilities. Self-reflection is a powerful tool for understanding yourself, so try journaling, meditating, or going for a walk by yourself to sort out your thoughts and get to know yourself better.

Establish transparency with your supervisor

One of the best ways you can positively change your reputation at work and gain more respect is to be transparent and honest with your supervisor. If you approach the dialogue in a professional manner, being open about your struggles in the workplace and letting your supervisor know that you're striving to improve can give you an instant boost of respect points. Communication is vital for everyone's success, especially if your job responsibilities work in tandem with the work of your colleagues. 

A report from UC Berkeley reveals that not being transparent in the workplace can create an environment of distrust and insecurity amongst both leadership and individual employees, but being transparent can have the opposite effects. Establishing a line of open communication with your supervisor shows initiative, resourcefulness, responsibility, and commitment to your career. Additionally, transparency and honest discussion can create increased trust between you and your colleagues.

Prior to speaking with your supervisor, decide what you want to say and rehearse to make certain that you are able to speak articulately and confidently. Asking your supervisor for their input and advice on how to strengthen your skills in the workplace creates an active dynamic where you both become invested in your improvement. Work with your supervisor to devise a plan for success in your role, and don't be afraid to request accountability if you need support with time management or any other aspect of your job performance. Honesty is always the best policy. 

Put perfectionism aside

Perfectionism, working long hours, and making sacrifices, such as giving up sleep, to accomplish professional undertakings are attributes that are often praised in modern society, though they are frequently counterintuitive to well-being and success. In fact, focusing too much on achieving perfect results, ergo being a perfectionist, can have detrimental effects on your physical and mental health. The stress that comes with striving to obtain perfection can lead to depression, irritable bowel syndrome, ulcers, and other medical conditions. Aiming for perfect results, crafting the perfect project, or putting together the perfect presentation can ultimately backfire by instigating procrastination, overthinking, and missed deadlines.

When you're engaging in self-reflection, see if perfectionism plays a role in your performance in the workplace. The best remedy for perfectionism is to practice self-compassion, which might take a bit of time to embrace if you're someone who is used to constantly pushing yourself toward perfection. The premise of self-compassion is akin to self-love in offering yourself the gifts of patience, understanding, and acceptance of your talents, as well as your reasonable bandwidth to accomplish tasks. If you need to take an evening to rest instead of pushing yourself to piece together impeccable details on a presentation for the following day, allow yourself the downtime to become refreshed. Mindfulness, meditation, yoga, and calming activities like taking a warm bath, journaling, or going for a walk are ways that you can cultivate self-love and self-compassion. Speaking with a professional counselor can also be beneficial. 

Find ways to reinforce positive habits

Meeting deadlines and showing up on time for meetings are two requirements in most jobs, so if you struggle with being on time then addressing the underlying reason is a pivotal step in shifting your professional reputation. It may be that you struggle with time management because you have ADHD or a related condition, for which tools like post-it note reminders and timers on electronic devices can help keep you on track for meeting deadlines and showing up on time. Even if you don't have a medical diagnosis that indicates difficulty with time management, being on time is something that most people are unable to navigate at some point in their lives. If you find yourself consistently showing up late or submitting work after a deadline, assess if there's something going on in your life that is monopolizing your attention or energy. Once you have tools and practices in place to establish positive behaviors, take pride in each step you take to shift your reputation.

Reinforcing positive habits and celebrating your improvement milestones will help you continue to forge ahead with positive progress in gaining professional respect. The act of rewarding behaviors aligns with principles of positive psychology that have found that the more a person is uplifted, the more productive and successful they'll be. You can loop your supervisor in and ask them to give recognition when they notice your improvements and to help you identify when you're successfully shifting your workplace reputation.

Embrace opportunities for accountability

Your supervisor isn't the only person you can ask for support in changing your reputation and increasing the respect, praise, and accolades you receive in the workplace. Seeking accountability from colleagues, friends, and professional coaches or counselors can further reinforce the positive changes you're committed to making. Setting intentions on your own can be effective, but having a community supporting you can increase the likelihood of your success in following through with your goals. Accountability also means relinquishing tendencies towards placing blame, even on yourself, for why projects aren't complete or deadlines haven't been met.

Ask your community of colleagues, friends, and family members to hold you accountable for each step of improvement you set for yourself, including micro-goals and seemingly small habits that can ultimately have majorly positive outcomes for your workplace reputation and overall well-being. If you struggle in your professional life, you might feel embarrassed reaching out for help in changing your habits, but the best way to cultivate and reinforce new behaviors is with a stronghold of people you trust cheering you on and ensuring that you're achieving the improvements you want to incorporate to change your reputation and earn more respect. Don't be afraid to ask friends to text you periodically to keep you accountable for making progress. Knowing that you aren't alone in creating changes in your life will lead to more sustainable outcomes that you'll be grateful for in the long run, including stronger relationships with your accountability circle.