Character vs Reputation in Leadership: Which Is More Important?

Who you are and how you’re perceived are critical to the success of any interaction you may have. That’s why taking on a leadership role of any kind requires continuous self-reflection and self-awareness.

While many may make a case for character or reputation being more important in leadership, they both play a unique part in what kind of a leader you are and will be. Continue reading the following post as Arden Coaching digs a little deeper into the relationship between character vs. reputation.

Character + Reputation

While your character revolves around who you truly are and your moral fiber, your reputation is how others perceive those things about you. Pointing a finger at one being more relevant than the other is hard to do because often times they work hand in hand.

Building your character is essential in the long run, but as a leader, your reputation and how people understand you short term (say after one or two interactions) is your currency. Short term, what matters beyond whether you’re selfish, arrogant, or a bully, is if people think you are, because how they see you directly affects how they respond.

Perception Is Reality

A leader needs to know and actively hone their reputation. Of course, some of your reputation is created by actually being the things you are. The other side of it involves understanding and managing your perception. How do you keep your reputation in check? Here are a few tips:

This reduces the chance that your reputation comes across as anything other than an accurate representation of your character.

Align Your Character with Your Reputation

We already know full well what we think of ourselves. It’s finding out what others think of us that allows us to improve, adapt our behaviors, and work toward aligning who we are with how we’re seen.

At Arden Coaching, the character vs. reputation discussion draws in many reasons why we do 360 leadership assessments with our clients. We position 360 leadership assessments at the beginning of executive coaching engagements, using them to find out what kind of reputation already exists and how this might be contributing to an individual’s current performance.

Improving Character and Reputation Starts with Gaining Awareness

Character and reputation can’t be ignored. The interwoven roles they play are incredibly important to our success as individuals, colleagues, and leaders.

If you’re interested in zeroing in on how others define your reputation and what that may say about you, we encourage you to learn more about the evaluative 360 tools we use at Arden Coaching to reveal disconnects between character and reputation. You can request a 360 consultation with one of our coaches here.

As you begin to work toward new self-awareness, remember to be open to the feedback you receive, and you’ll go far!