As a leader in business, it is critical to guard your professional reputation. Once you have compromised your personal brand, it can be very difficult to recover from the damage. There are many things that go into your overall reputation, including your ethics and integrity.
One of the most important aspects of maintaining your personal brand is being a person of your word. Keeping your word is simple, but it is not always easy, particularly when there are many things vying for your attention or when there is bad news to deliver. However, it is of paramount importance if you wish to be a trustworthy business person.
There are two primary pieces to being a person of your word. The first is saying what you mean. This means that you set appropriate expectations with those you interact with.
Don’t be the person that perpetually avoids bad news. If you have to deliver, for example, the news to a customer that prices are increasing next year, do so in a straightforward manner. Don’t dodge the conversation, or try to hide the increase. Be prepared to explain the reasoning behind the increase, and look for other ways to keep customer costs down.
Always stay ahead of the bad news, too. Even though you may be dreading the delivery, your customers will appreciate you letting them know the real situation as soon as you know it.
The second aspect of being a person of your word is meaning what you say. Don’t make promises you can’t keep. If you make a commitment to someone to get back to them on a certain day, for example, get back to them. Even if you don’t have the answer; let the person know you didn’t forget, and give them a new expectation of when you can give them the answer owed. People will appreciate that you remember your commitments and act on them.
In today’s world, too many business people fail to recognize the importance of keeping their word. Because of this, those people who do “say what they mean and mean what they say” stand out among the crowd in a particularly positive way. The simple act of keeping your word and being straightforward with your associates and customers may be all it takes for you to keep and grow your business even when the news is not all positive.