Manage Your Professional Reputation – Shari Harley

Manage Your Professional Reputation

How many times have you heard that you never get a second chance to make a first impression. So when something not so positive happens – a customer gets upset, you miss a deadline, or something goes wrong – don’t let your boss know about it from other people. Manage your professional reputation and go there first to create a first impression of what happened.

Managers don’t like surprises. If your manager is going to get a call about something that isn’t positive, let them know before the call comes in. You will shape your manager’s perception of the situation, and perceptions are hard to change. Don’t wait for the s*** to hit the fan. Get ahead of the problem by confronting and giving advice to your manager and other stakeholders.

It might sound like, “I just talked to John in IT. You might get a call. Here’s what happened… I don’t want to shock you.”

Or “I told Brian at Intellitec that we will raise our prices in the second quarter. He is not happy. You might be called.”

Or let’s say you work through a difficult relationship. Tell your manager before you act. It might sound something like this, “I want to improve my relationship with Julie. Our relationship has been strained since we worked together on a software project last year. I want to approach him, tell him that I know our relationship is troubled, and that I want a good working relationship with him. Then I would have asked if You create a first impressionhe’s willing to have lunch with me, talk about what happened, and see if we can start over in a more positive way. What do you think of what I’m doing? Do you approach the conversation differently? I don’t know how this is going to go, so I want you to know what I’m planning to do, just in case it backfires, and you get called.”

Manage your professional reputation assertively by taking responsibility for mistakes, working on broken relationships, and telling your manager before someone else does!

About Shari Harley

Shari Harley is the founder and President of Candid Culture, a Denver-based training company that puts honesty back into the workplace, making it easier to give feedback at work. Shari is the author of the business communication book How to Say Anything to Anyone: A Guide to Building Business Relationships That Really Work. She is a keynote speaker at conferences and trains across the US Learn more about Shari Harley and Candid Culture’s training programs at

Tags: honest question, first impression, manage people, manage your professional reputation, professional reputation