Reputation has to be consistently earned over time. After all it’s too easy to get too comfortable swimming in our personal fishbowls personally and professionally and forget that others are looking in–from all sides, at all times. And significantly, what the public sees is not actually what the insiders see. (This is adapted from Mint 45 in THINKING Like a Leader, Featuring 77 Leadership Mints).
After all, you can get pretty comfortable in your own fish bowl—as long as someone (investors and customers) keeps feeding you and as long as someone (employees) keep changing/cleaning the fish bowl with new products and services.
That’s why the most thoughtful leaders and engaged employees have a knack for looking at themselves as the public perceives them and as the public relates to them. No wonder the Public Relations Society of America defines its profession as building “mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.”
Far from spin doctors, public relations professional are “applied social scientists who advise a client or employer on the social attitude to take to win the support of the publics upon whom its vitality depends,” according to Edward Bernays, credited with founding the that public relations professional in the 1920s.
The most effective leaders realize they can’t be successful with self-serving, defensive, insider-oriented spin control. They realize how grossly inaccurate, shortsighted and misleading it is to equate relating to the public (a.k.a. public relations) with seeking to spin a web of prevarication instead of a quilt of mutual understanding and acceptance to live and let live in your personal fishbowl. Productively. And profitably.