Reputation is Also About the “How” — Interview with Aaron Sternlicht


This Red Diamonds Features issue examines the important question of reputation and what it also consists of, what makes it what it is. Is it solely success as the world defines it or is it the “how” that matters, or both?

The question posed today in this piece is inspired by a quote from writer and novelist Joseph Conrad (1857–1924):

“As a general rule, reputation is built on manner as much as achievement.”

What does that mean to you? Is reputation at least partially, if not significantly, relationship driven?

That’s the question answered below answer in this “Best Of” feature.

Aaron Sternlicht
Addiction Specialist and Recovery Coaching Specialist
Lin & Aaron Coaching, LLC

(Aaron Sternlicht and Lin Anderson, Lin & Aaron Coaching)

“As a general rule, reputation is built on manner as much as achievement.”

“An individual’s reputation is comprised of many facets such as their character, morals and values, appearance, actions, and accomplishments.

“Reputations are often subjective in that certain characteristics may be more meaningful for some than others, and therefore reputations of a single individual can vary greatly.

“In this way, reputations live a life apart from you in that, while you may give birth to them, they ultimately are a mental construct determined by others.

“It is one thing to build a reputation, and another thing to maintain it. All too often individuals are able to build a positive reputation only to be tarnished by one poor decision.

“As Conrad eloquently points out, we can have the greatest achievements but our manners are often viewed as of equal importance, if not greater.

“Poor manners can easily tarnish a reputation that is built on the greatest of achievements.”

Michael Toebe is a specialist for reputation, professional relationships communication and wiser crisis management. He is the writer and publisher of the Red Diamonds Newsletter, a weekly publication on Medium on communication, decision making, behavior, conflict, professional relationships, courage and resilience, and reputation and crisis. He also writes and publishes Red Diamonds Features and hosts the Red Diamonds Podcast with the Michael Toebe.