Good reputation a journey well worth taking
YOU are the office slut and pest. Everybody knows you have slept your way up the corporate ladder.
You have schemed, sucked up and lied about your colleagues to get noticed. You wear the shortest of skirts, you are the loudest, the least qualified for the job and the laziest employee.
Nobody respects you anymore and your reputation is in tatters.
Research over the years strongly confirms that more employees are fired because they don't get along with co-workers and bosses.
Asiphe Ndlela, a psycho-logist, says building a good reputation takes a long time to develop. Destroying it only requires a split second of bad judgement.
"Your reputation is your biggest asset. It is a balancing act to juggle the way you come across to others and how they interpret that interchange. Your reputation is nothing, but the public opinion about you. It represents what kind of an image you have in the eyes of others. Having a good reputation is very important at work."
Ndlela says if you want to salvage it, the first person you've got to repair your reputation with, is yourself.
"Ask yourself, am I a bad woman? Do I hurt people? If the answer is yes, stop feeling guilty and being angry with yourself. Own up to your mistakes, forgive yourself for them but don't continue to beat yourself up. Life is not a success-only journey. Learn from your bad decisions and move on."
She says it is important to ask yourself what you would like to see happen in order to clear your name.
"Is there anything that anyone - the bosses, your co-workers - can do that could ever make the situation better?"
She advises the person to walk tall.
"If you walk into the world hanging your head in shame people will treat you that way. You have to be your best friend and you have to decide who you are.
"Begin the process of closure by not reacting to what you think people are saying about you.
"If you allow yourself to be intimidated, feel guilty or shrink away because of what people think, you are putting yourself in a prison."
She says it is also important to seek a second or third opinion from trusted colleagues to determine if there is any validity to your bad reputation.
"If you are in a managerial position, reconsider your managerial style. Ask yourself, could I make subtle changes? Am I a good communicator and listener?
"If you determine that you need to improve a personal attribute, make a commitment to yourself to change your ways.
"Also perform one act every single day that counteracts your bad reputation.
"Most importantly, your bad reputation has built over a period of time. Do not expect to get rid of it within a few hours or days.
"It will take time for people to remove your old, bad image from their mind and replace it with the new, pleasant one.
"So, you need to exercise a lot of patience and stick to your efforts. Don't lose hope midway. Remember 'impossible' itself says 'I'm possible'.
"So, just keep on making efforts and soon, people will get used to the image of the 'new you'."
She adds that it is important to always have something nice to say about other people.
"Even if you don't like the person's work or you don't like interacting with that person, always have something good to say about them.
"If you continue to say something good about somebody else, even while they are thinking something negative about you, you will actually be able to change their perceptions about you.
"Studies have shown that those that give flattering comments towards other people actually improve the other person's impression of themselves. Using this same theory, make sure that you always have something good to say about your co-workers."
Now you are changing your ways. What do you do if some people remind you about the past?
Ndlela says if you are ever confronted or questioned about past deeds, disregard it with a laugh and explain.
Say: "It was just a stage I was going through" or "It was just a stupid part of my life I'd rather forget".