How often do you think about your reputation? It's something that you may not focus on, but it doesn't take much to ruin it, as Michael Phelps recently found out. Blogger Andy Beal shows how quickly Phelps killed his reputation in this post.
In the Navy we had a saying; "it takes a whole lot of atta boy's to make up for one oh crap!" The idea is that you can work hard to build your reputation but one mistake can screw it up.
As project managers, we don't have direct authority over all the resources we need for a project. We have to rely on influence as a form of leadership to reach our project goals. Without a good reputation, we make our job more difficult.
So how do we build our reputation? Integrity is important. Keep promises. Deliver what you say you will. When you hit an obstacle, be open with your stakeholders. Admit it when you make a mistake.
When you're trying to decide a course of action, think about the impact on your reputation. Cutting corners on testing? Padding your expense report? Having one to many drinks at the company dinner? As Michael Phelps found out, one little slip up can have big ramifications.