So you’ve finally attained that coveted position as a chief officer. Congratulations. Time for that celebratory party, a few selfies with friends at the bar and a few slurred tweets?
We spend time and effort through our public-information officers to promote our departments, but all too often we forget to manage our own reputations and those of our staff. You were hired or promoted to the chief-officer position because of your reputation and the confidence that the public will infer from your appointment. You are the public face of your department and your values, expertise and actions are transferred by association to your department.
We need to spend time as chief officers building and marketing ourselves to the public. This isn’t being prideful. We can bolster the public’s confidence in our departments by showcasing its leaders. You need to be actively engaged in reputation management.
Your reputation is how the public and your department perceive you. It’s the shadow that you cast. As Abraham Lincoln put it, “Character is like a tree and reputation is like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.”
Increasingly, we’re judged not just on our actions but by our online reputations. The public is increasingly relying on the internet and social media as its primary source for information. This may take the form of public comment on discussion boards, Facebook posts and more.
You can build up your reputation through simple tools like LinkedIn and Twitter with minimal effort that promote who you are. Through these networks, you are able to build up your profile, which may help counter any public comments and can be the source of positive media notes.
Done right it will help convey who you are and what you’re all about all while strengthening the shadow you cast.
Your online presence can also be your downfall.
The distinction between a public and a private life no longer exists. To expect the public to see the difference is naive. The internet feeds public opinion, and it’s ruthless and anonymous.
It’s the modern day equivalent of the public pillory post. We’ve seen many examples of high-profile public figures being harangued—even fired—for what they thought were private posts or actions.
We can even by branded by association. Reputation management involves building, maintaining and protecting your public image. Social media policies and common sense can help as well as building a solid online reputation is essential.