Get a Reputation for Supporting the Members of Your Team

John Bender
“Reputation”

Get a Reputation for Supporting the Members of Your Team – Al Getler

Having a reputation often had negative consequences in high school. I saw kids get labeled because they had a bad reputation for one reason or another. Maybe they got in trouble a few times.

It is entirely possible the kids with bad reputations were becoming very familiar with the secretaries in the vice principal’s office. Our vice principal was Mr. Sullivan. We called him Ratso due to some unfortunate facial characteristics that may have resembled a large rodent.

Ratso would stand in the hallway during the change of class and literally pull kids out of the hallway shuffle. This would often result in an escort into the office that looked like that big blond-haired dude on cable TV nailing a bond jumper and leading him to his SUV.

It was hard to shake this reputation when it was pinned on. Kids often lived up to the reputation by acting out in class.

I remember one guy; we’ll call him Ronnie. He would often act up in European History class to fulfill his reputation. This resulted in repeated sentences for detention from our Russian born teacher who was missing half of the index finger on his right hand. Detention took place at 3 o’clock.

One day Ronnie was on a roll. Furious with the whole thing, the teacher yelled in his broken English, “Ronnie! 3 o’clock!” as he held up three fingers on his right hand.

Wait for it…. Wait for it…

Ronnie replied, “You mean two-thirty!” calling attention to the obvious third finger missing half a digit.

The Tow Truck

I saw Ronnie a few times after that in the hallways. He never came back to class. He was an assumed flunky by most.

Five years later I called a tow truck to tow my girlfriend’s broken down car. Ronnie showed up driving the truck. Given his reputation, I asked how long he had worked at the towing company.

“Oh, I don’t just work with the company. I own it. I have six trucks and several tractor trailers that haul antique cars around the country for customers.” Ronnie said.

Looks like Ronnie had a new reputation.

Get a Reputation for Supporting the Members of Your Team

As adults, we certainly get reputations.

As leaders, we get labeled in all kinds of ways. Some people like us. Some people do not. Quite frankly, I have never been all that concerned about what people outside of my organization really think about me.

I am much more concerned about how my team views me. Once again, I am not rushing to work to win a popularity contest by making decisions every single person will like. I will, however, make decisions that are right for the team and for the future of our company and the people who work there.

The reputation I am most concerned about is the one that says, in most circumstances, I support the members of my team. It is important to me that, when people work hard as dedicated members of my team, they know that I will back them up. Even if they make mistakes, I will support them. If their mistakes become habit-forming I may even support them as they find new work someplace else.

People expect to be supported. People expect their leaders to back them. People expect their leaders to defend them. People expect their leaders to fight for them. People expect the truth from their leaders. People expect their leader to lead by example.

If you get the reputation of driving the bus that rolls over team members’ backs at the first chance you get, congratulations! You have a reputation.

The Breakfast Club

Remember the movie The Breakfast Club written and directed by the late John Hughes? Five high school students gather for detention each with a different stereo-type attached.

One character, John Bender (played by Judd Nelson), has a reputation. This central character challenges the authenticity of the other four. Bender challenges their reputations as they each reveal their true selves. We find that the character John is who he is. John Bender ends up bonding the group. He ends up supporting the group.

Get a Reputation Today

In real life, John Bender may have received a new reputation as a rebel/leader as a result of his talents to strip his fellow detainees of who they were and mold them back together.

My classmate Ronnie had a reputation in high school. He moved beyond it.

Yesterday you might not have supported your team members the best you could. Today you can move beyond it. You can get a new reputation.

Be known for supporting the members of your team. It isn’t a bad reputation to have.

What is your reputation and how have you changed it? Why is supporting your team so important? Share your thoughts in the Disqus section after this post or by clicking HERE if you are reading it in an email.

Al Getler is a newspaper, website, book and magazine publisher. He is also a comedian/ventriloquist and a speaker on leadership, customer service and personal branding.

Image: http://www.universalpictures.com/

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