Reputation sits at the heart of Social Leadership: it’s earned within our communities, through the actions that we take, and, if we earn it well, it acts as the foundation of our Social Authority. But reputation is not carved from stone, it’s not cast in iron. It’s fluid, adaptive, responsive, responsive to our actions. It’s a work in progress.
If we earn a strong reputation, through kindness, fairness, humility, a willingness to do what’s right, not just what’s easy, then, in turn, our community will help us to be more successful. We are stronger because of the support and alignment of our community, not because we use or abuse it, and certainly not simply because of any formal power given to us: formal power does not carry weight in social communities.
So, when we consider our reputation, we should consider how we earn it, and how we maintain it. We should always view it as a work in progress.
I had an issue at the start of the year that lead to the Law Society publishing a Public Rebuke. I was concerned about the possible reputational damage. It was interesting as the response was generally supportive and understanding. It’s only now that I am looking back and realising how strong some of the bands and friendships I have made. In some people’s eyes I was seen as the victim of the Law Society’s overreaction. There is a lot of truth in what you say. People don’t respect enforced power.
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