In Working Girl, Melanie Griffith overhauls her appearance (and lies about her title) so others will take her seriously. In the real world, it takes more than a wardrobe change to lift your on-the-job reputation from “wet behind the ears” to “wise beyond your years.”
Indeed, changing the perception others have of you at work can take up to 18 months, according to Barb Krantz Taylor, a licensed psychologist and executive coach at the Bailey Consulting Group.
There are ways to speed things along, however. A few ideas from Krantz Taylor:
1. Roll up your sleeves and solve a problem. Can you help save time? Be more innovative? Be more productive? Save money? “Learn more about ’ world and find and ask for ways to help them meet their needs, as long as it doesn’t take you away from your other responsibilities,” Krantz Taylor suggests.
2. Mirror more. Make sure your personal style matches the corporate culture. Do you use slang or text speak, while others are more conservative? “Try to mirror the language and terminology your bosses use,” she says.
3. Ask for a chance to prove yourself on a "minor" project. Anyone recovering from making a serious gaffe can take this route to redemption: Start by overperforming on a small task, and then take on progressively more challenging ones. Others will soon forget your earlier mistakes.
4. Got expertise? Flaunt it. Let your boss or HR know by asking, “I have this area of expertise (or certification) that I want to bring to the organization, and how would you suggest I let others know about my willingness to pitch in?” Krantz Taylor says.
Bottom line: You don’t have to change jobs to become known as a savvy contributor—nor do you have to be a certain age. “It isn’t just about age,” says Krantz Taylor. “It’s simply a ‘reputation ’ issue and anyone can have it regardless of age.”
— Adapted from How to Escape a Reputation as a Novice, Elizabeth Garone, The Wall Street Journal.
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