How to ruin your reputation without even trying

Whilst some people make big mistakes that destroy their reputation in one go, the majority of us put our reputation at risk through a series of smaller mistakes and choices. It is true that without great performance and results nobody is going to rise through the ranks (or even keep their job) but the impression we create is important too.

Here are 13 tips ways you can ruin your reputation over time.

1) Misread the mood

Always make sure to choose the office party to talk about your problems and wait until there is a round of redundancies to share the news about your latest promotion or job offer.

2) Get the humour wrong

Don’t make any effort to pay attention to cultural norms. Be sarcastic and make jokes that demean and embarrass others.

3) Complain and find fault

Always focus on the negative about your boss, colleagues, clients and job. Wherever possible point out the mistakes of others — no-one’s perfect and they need to be reminded of that.

4) Gossip

Make sure to pass on any rumours you hear and, if you don’t hear any, make some up. Remember that everyone likes being the centre of attention.

5) Share everything you do on social media

It’s the 21st century and, just because you have a job it doesn’t mean you can’t have a life. Post pictures of your great weekend and make sure your status updates reflect your changing moods.

6) Break promises

Break small promises like returning phone calls; it will prepare people for the moment when you break a big one and at least no-one will be able to say you aren’t consistent.

7) Always have the answer

Especially if it’s not an area where you are an expert; only weak people ask questions to learn more. If you speak loudly and confidently enough your colleagues will recognise your genius and that’s got to be good for your career.

8) Never take responsibility

Whatever it was, it probably wasn’t your fault and, even if it was, if you deny it most people won’t notice.

9) Embarrass your boss

Interrupt your boss in meetings and correct him in front of others as you roll your eyes. It’s important to come across as your own man.

10) Always use “reply all” on email

Your colleagues should feel privileged to get the benefit of every pearl of wisdom and anyone who feels that their time is wasted by reading emails that don’t affect them doesn’t understand the importance of staying in the loop.

11) Write long emails with lots of spelling and grammatical mistakes

Everyone knows that, in the digital age, spelling and grammar are a choice and anyone who thinks otherwise is clearly an old fogey who needs to get a life.

12) Concentrate exclusively on those more senior than you

Why waste your time building relationships with colleagues at all levels of the organization when you can concentrate on making sure your boss and your boss’ boss know who you are? They’re your competition after all.

13) Assume your work will speak for itself

The only thing that matters is results so just focus on getting your work done — it’s your boss’ job to notice and to manage your career for you.

What other ways have you seen people destroy their reputation? What mistakes have you made in the past? I’m interested to hear your thoughts. And if you like this article (originally publsihed on LinkedIn) please do share it with others.

Dawn Metcalfe is an executive coach, trainer and leadership advisor. She is also the author of Managing the Matrix and Hard Talk™. Dawn is the founder of Dubai based PDSi, which helps individuals and teams get even better at what they do, and has worked with business leaders around the world to change the way they see the world, their behaviour and their impact on others.