Reputation Matters But Character Leads The Way

Reputation is the basis of leadership, no matter the job. It is built over many years, one word at a time, one action at a time, one deed at time. In leadership, few things matter more.

Reputation is among the most treasured and powerful assets. It is what others think of us, and it’s at the foundation of how we distinguish ourselves.

Our reputation is ours, very personal but also very easy to lose.

Reputations are earned slowly and are lost quickly.

We must guard our reputation like a precious gift; we must nurture it and nourish it daily.

Character. The key goal in shaping your reputation by having your personal character stand as a driving force for everything you do and say. If you want to discover the true reputation of a person, you have only to observe what their character is all about.

Code. To make the right decisions you need the right moral compass and the right grounding to tell you what is right and what is important. At times, it may take every fiber of determination to behave in keeping with the values you hold dear, but doing so will allow your moral code to reveal itself in your actions.

Connection. Every person you encounter is looking to see if you are genuine, if you’re in sync, if you’re open to connection. Your reputation grows best among people you have seen, heard, and valued.

Communication. When you communicate, your goal should always be the alignment of perception and reality. Your reputation stems from what you say as well as what you do.

Caring. When you care you make people feel respected and valued. Caring is not a sign of weakness; it is a sign of strength. It is the framework of your leadership, and it develops your thinking, being and doing.

Commitment. Reputation is created through a sense of ownership and accountability. You can’t build a reputation on what you are going to do, but you can build a solid reputation on doing what you say you will do.

Credibility. There is a strong link between credibility and a great reputation. We know that the presence of trust leads to a strong reputation. You always want to be proud of what you do and make sure it reflects your values and principles. To be credible you want must be true to yourself and others at all times.

Sad but true, reputation boils down to what others think of us and how they judge us. If we get caught up with everyone, we will lose out on everything.  We will miss out on what we are here to achieve, and what we want to accomplish.

It will be our character demonstrated over and over again, that will let others know who we are. And how our skills to our responsibilities and our passions for excellence leads in everything we do.

At the end of the day, we serve our reputation best by leading with our best self and letting our character speak for itself.

If we have character, our reputation will take care of itself.

Lead from Within: Reputation matters, but character will always lead the way.




N A T I O N A L   B E S T S E L L E R
The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness

After decades of coaching powerful executives around the world, Lolly Daskal has observed that leaders rise to their positions relying on a specific set of values and traits. But in time, every executive reaches a point when their performance suffers and failure persists. Very few understand why or how to prevent it.

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Photo Credit: Getty Images

Lolly Daskal is one of the most sought-after executive leadership coaches in the world. Her extensive cross-cultural expertise spans 14 countries, six languages and hundreds of companies. As founder and CEO of Lead From Within, her proprietary leadership program is engineered to be a catalyst for leaders who want to enhance performance and make a meaningful difference in their companies, their lives, and the world.

Of Lolly’s many awards and accolades, Lolly was designated a Top-50 Leadership and Management Expert by Inc. magazine. Huffington Post honored Lolly with the title of The Most Inspiring Woman in the World. Her writing has appeared in HBR,, Fast Company (Ask The Expert), Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and others. Her newest book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness has become a national bestseller.

  1. Panteli Tritchew

    04. Feb, 2014

    It’s so true, that “reputation boils down to what others think of us and how they judge us.” I believe that that is one of the greatest challenges of leading from within—that we have been conditioned from the crib to perceive our metrics for success as coming from without: good grades, higher salary, promotions, praise, recognition, and reputation.

    We cry, and the milk of human kindness appears. We are worthy. We cry and something harsher happens. We are not worthy. Recognition, worthiness, affirmation-we quest these powerful human dynamics from cradle to grave.

    When so much of how we define our worthiness is invested from outside ourselves, it is doubly difficulty to develop our character, our code and our compass.
    You’ve captured two of the keys to our castle in such a lovely way, Lolly. “Having your personal character stand as a driving force for everything you do and say” and “To make the right decisions you need the right moral compass” are the beacons we can carry within when we connect and communicate without.

    Missing you all on #leadfromwithin chat, but tuning in next week—Spring Break! 🙂

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      07. Feb, 2014

      We miss you at #leadfromwithin!

      And your comment is so spot on. We are so busy defining ourselves by what is outside of ourselves, that we lose the essence of what matters, the most, lies within.

      Thanks Panteli

      Come back to us soon!

      Reply to this comment
  2. Bill Benoist

    04. Feb, 2014

    Abraham Lincoln once wrote that character is like a tree and reputation is the shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.

    I’m pretty certain he was thinking that to change the shadow, we must work with the tree.

    Thank you for a great read, Lolly

    Reply to this comment
  3. Terri Klass

    04. Feb, 2014

    I love “We must guard our reputation like a precious gift: we must nurture it and nourish it daily.”

    The irony is that our reputation is constantly being evaluated so we always need to be authentic and true to our core beliefs. Even when we are challenged, it is essential to stand strong and not compromise our leadership values.

    I also think that trust is the foundation of all relationships and determines whether or not we build meaningful connections. Leadership is ultimately about the wonderful people we meet along the way in our professional and personal lives.

    Thanks Lolly for a magnificent post!

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      07. Feb, 2014


      Leadership values, personal character is what helps us stay strong when the winds are stormy in our lives.

      When things are not going well that is when character matters.

      Reputation is about others, character is about us.


      Reply to this comment
  4. LaRae Quy

    04. Feb, 2014

    Great post encouraging folks to lead with their best self.

    To me, the key is living our best “self” and not trying to live someone else’s version of they think we should be.

    If we’re honest, we’re authentic. When we’re authentic, there is a best self to find.

    Thanks, Lolly.

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      07. Feb, 2014

      You are so right LaRae If we’re honest, we’re authentic. When we’re authentic, there is a best self to find.
      So true and yet so hard for so many.
      Thanks for stopping by.


      Reply to this comment
  5. Simon Harvey

    04. Feb, 2014

    YES YES YES to this: “If we have character, our reputation will take care of itself.”

    If you are worried about your reputation then you are looking from the outside. When you leadfromwithin you are not concerned with reputation for this is a meme set out to bait the ego, if you go for it and try to build it, grow it, or crush it, you will fail.

    As Bill points out in the Lincoln quote: “Character is like a tree and reputation its shadow. The shadow is what we think it is and the tree is the real thing.”

    Reputation is belief in something or someone, not your own belief about your service or your character. Reputation as the shadow can not be measured by yourself. It moves as you move. When you see a shadow your vision of it will be different than mine for your perspective is different. Everybody has a different perspective so everyone has a different belief of reputation. Some people are naturally skeptical while others are more accepting.

    Reputation is based on belief, if you need to keep checking in to see how it’s doing you are basically questioning someones belief. Check in with your character and look within your own heart to see the direction you are leading, then listen some more and have faith in your own abilities and virtue.

    For me to leadfromwithin is to look within and seek better understanding of the direction I go. To leadfromwithin is to define my leadership. To leadfromwithin It is know that it is within me that my character grows, where I hope my reputation points, and where life flows. Character matters as it is part of who you are. Reputation is a belief that someone has of your character. Be the person you know you can be, be bold, be beautiful and be YOU, and your character will take care of your reputation.

    Love the post Lolly and so looking forward to tonight as 8pm will be 8pm not 1am. Hooray!

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      07. Feb, 2014

      This is beautiful Simon; To lead from within It is know that it is within me that my character grows, where I hope my reputation points, and where life flows. Stunning sentiment and so true.

      Your comment is shared from the heart and I truly appreciate you.


      Reply to this comment
  6. skipprichard1

    04. Feb, 2014

    Reputation. We guard it; we build it; we strive to create it. And yet reputation may or may not be an accurate reflection of what is inside us. Some reputations are destroyed unfairly. Others work so hard to create illusions and reputations that they miss out on what really matters.

    When we know ourselves, and have confidence in who we are, then we build character from the inside out.

    Reply to this comment
    • lollydaskal

      07. Feb, 2014

      Beautifully put, When we know ourselves, and have confidence in who we are, then we build character from the inside out.

      Thanks so much for sharing


      Reply to this comment
  7. Martina

    05. Feb, 2014

    Excellent points, Lolly.

    It is the integration, the intricate dance of fitting and holding together, all of these elements that make our reputations authentic things that will stand the test of time, circumstances and situations. If any one of these is out of alignment, it all becomes a sham. Built over time and through relationships, it can be lost in a moment. Well worth guarding with our hearts.

    Reply to this comment
  8. Milos

    07. Feb, 2014

    I agree…reputation is what others think of you, character is who you truly are

    Reply to this comment
  9. Jacky

    09. Feb, 2014

    When we are mindful, deeply value and consistently maintain our personal and professional relationships with care, clarity, kindness, honesty, trust, a giving mindset and courage, any glitch in the perception of our reputation will implode naturally because it has nothing to feed on.

    When there is a glitch of untruth emerging, our challenge in leadership character lies in controlling the emotional impulse to react defensively on our triggers of fear, anger, insecurity, hurt ect.

    The challenge and resolve lies in trusting ourselves and trusting our relationships.To engage in courageously in open hearted blame-free inquiry and then to let go, providing natural space for untruths to dissolve and implode.


    Reply to this comment
  10. Tarik

    10. Feb, 2014

    Lolly, you’re a hundred percent right about the importance of reputation. As the saying goes – it arrives on a tortoise and leaves on a horse. But may I put a slight twist on what you’re saying? Reputation is the result of our actions. Good leaders generate a good reputation by doing the right thing. So every day, as leaders, we should focus on your 7 C’s for their own sake rather than for any reputation they may create for us. Thanks for another great post.

    Reply to this comment
  11. agus

    11. Feb, 2014

    What I can say for this one is, when anyone have been doing what you’ve written here and fail. That is destiny/fate. Cause there is good and bad destiny/fate.

    I’m not saying negative / negation things. Because what you’ve written is a great and amazing. Theoretically, if anyone follow and do like what you’ve written must be great leader.

    That’s why, may be we have to take look another side rather than material only. Then we may achieve a greatest winning and achievement as a leader.

    it’s bit tricky to imagine similarity about reputation and character, it’s like body and soul or soul and mind but whatsoever that is, as well as we still need to growth then I’m agree that “We must guard our reputation like a precious gift; we must nurture it and nourish it daily”

    To gain good reputation then he/she shall always build character, and nurture it and nourish it daily till certain time.
    Especially as a Leader.

    If you do what you’ve written, you’ll be a great leader Lolly.

    Thanks to share.

    Reply to this comment
  12. Anne Davis

    13. Feb, 2014

    Yes! I love your ideas about credibility! A great way is make sure you are cultivating trust by being upfront and forthcoming:

    A credible person has nothing to hide and is proud of their reputation. Thanks so much for this post!

    Reply to this comment
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  14. Sandy Merz

    21. Mar, 2014

    Every semester I have my 8th graders read this poem from Sean Covey’s 7 Habits for Teens book and try to guess the answer, which is, of course Habits. The kids come up with a lot of great answers that work just as well, but my all time favorite is: Reputation.

    Who am I?
    I am your constant companion. I am your greatest helper or heaviest burden.
    I will push you onward or drag you down
    to failure. I am completely at your command.
    Half the things you do you might just as
    well turn over to me and I will be able to do
    them quickly and correctly.

    I am easily managed–you must merely
    be firm with me. Show me exactly how you
    want something done and after a few lessons
    I will do it automatically. I am the
    servant of all great individuals and, alas, of
    all failures, as well. Those who are great I
    have made great. Those who are failures,
    I have made failures.

    I am not a machine, though I work
    with all the precision of a machine plus
    the intelligence of a human. You may run
    me for a profit or run me for ruin–it
    makes no difference to me.
    Take me, train me, be firm with me,
    and I will place the world at your feet. Be
    easy with me and I will destroy you.

    Who am I?
    I am _________

    Reply to this comment

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