If you listen to talk radio, there is a commercial for online reputation management. They clean up unsavory marks against you which of course are undeserved. They do not get to the root issue of why those remarks were made. Just that you can clean them up.
There are corporate courses that teach you reputation management, personal branding, and other self-promotion type materials. These classes tell you how to put yourself in a better light to presumably advance your career. I guess because being yourself makes you unlikable.
In my opinion, the key ways to have a positive work perception would be to have the following five attributes:
1. Reliable- the best way to build a positive reputation is to honor your word. Deliver projects on time, on budget, and with high quality work. Give a consistently high effort every day.
2. Humble- keeping an even keel is key. Even if you are receiving rock star attention and results, remember to be humble. You are more likely to reap the rewards if you realize that this success could be fleeting, but how you act during this time will last forever.
3. Relatable- you do not need to be “one of the guys” to be relatable. You just need to be approachable, generally friendly, engaging, and able to connect with your team and co-workers. You do not need to be the gossip mill or happy hour planner.
4. Concerned- simply put, you need to care about your company, co-workers, team, customer, vendors, and other key stakeholders. You need to balance all of these factors to try to do the right thing.
5. Self-Aware- you must be proficient in your job. You do not need to be the best, but you need to have a thorough understanding of how your position affects the rest of the company- and how the rest of the company affects your position. Understanding where you fit is a key way to make sure you are respected.
6. Fair- always do the right thing. You need to treat people as they need to be treated, not necessarily equally, but always in a just manner.
You need to understand that not everyone will like you, but everyone can respect you. Following these traits will make that possible.