品格或名聲,你選擇哪一個?

By Robert J. Tamasy

若你需要為你的辦公室找一位律師、一位會計師、另一個供應商、或一個新的清潔公司,你會如何評估可能的人選?從電話簿或網路搜尋不會有多大幫助,因為它們只提供有限的資訊。所以我們可能問朋友和可信任同僚的意見,也就是「滿意顧客」的推荐。或者我們可從「商業改進局」(Better Business Bureau)得到一份報告,看看有沒有人對我們所考慮的人選或公司提出報怨。

在雇用新員工時,我們常常用一個類似的策略:我們聯絡應徵者提供的徵詢人,或打電話給他們以前的雇主,問有關他們的資訊──問到法律允許的程度。不論是找新的服務公司或聘雇新的員工,我們都要知道他們的名聲如何。

但名聲是我們可期待的真實指標嗎?我們都聽過一些企業、專業領袖、還有被選出來的官員,曾經擁有無瑕疵的名聲,但當他們隱密的不道德行為被揭發開來,他們的名聲就毀了。為何會如此?

最近我聽到某個人對品格與名聲作了重要的區別。他說:「品格是真正的你。名聲是別人認為的你。」換言之,你看到的表象不一定與你得到的一樣。例如,我可以想到一些我欣賞的演說家,我想像若能與他們作朋友將會是非常愉快的事。然而,在許多場合中,我發現雖然這那些人擅長演講,但私下他們的人格和行為卻非常不一樣。

在職場中,區別品格與名聲是重要的。在行銷時,人們強調形象。有時我們稱之為「品牌」。目標是要說服消費者、顧客和客戶,我們要他們認為我們是怎樣的人。遺憾的是,有時人們會戴上面具,偽裝自己,隱瞞他們真正的內在。

這麼做的原因可能是:羞愧、尷尬、覺得自己「不夠好」。但假如我們的「面具」是故意要去欺騙,這問題就嚴重了──而且時間久了真相通常會顯示出來。好品格總是會導致好名聲,但好名聲不一定保證有好品格,不論在個人或公司都是如此。請思想聖經說的話:

小心外在的表象。我們傾向於根據知覺(我們看到和聽到的)去評斷人們。然而,我們所覺察到的可能是不正確的。撒母耳記上16章7節告訴我們:「耶和華不像人看人:人是看外貌;耶和華是看內心。」箴言16章2節也說:「人一切所行的,在自己眼中看為清潔;惟有耶和華衡量人心。

保守你自己的動機。若我們想去欺騙,沒有呈現出真正的自己,我們就是有罪了。但我們若是正直的人,那就包括誠實地表現出自己真正的形象。「你要保守你心,勝過保守一切,因為一生的果效是由心發出」(箴言4章23節)。

完美的人有好名聲--那是建立在好品格的基礎上。使徒約翰形容這麼一個人:「大家都稱讚底米特。真理為他作證;我們也為他作證。你知道我們所說的話是真的」(約翰三書12節)。

勞勃.泰默西是領袖資產協會的傳播部副部長,這是一個總部在美國喬治亞州亞特蘭大的非營利組織。他也是一個有40年經驗的退休新聞工作者。他寫過一本書「最佳狀態的商業:箴言給今日職場的歷久彌新智慧」(Business At Its Best: Timeless Wisdom from Proverbs for Today”s Workplace)。他也與David A. Stoddard合著一本書「導師之心」(The Heart of Mentoring)。要了解更多資訊, 可上網www.leaderslegacy.com 或上他的部落格www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com以及www.bobtamasy.wordpress.com 。

省思 / 討論題目
當你想要找某人做某項服務,例如法律或諮詢,在選擇過程中那個人或公司的名聲對你有多重要? 你是否同意名聲與品格可以是非常不一樣的事?為什麼? 你是否曾經驗過,一旦有機會真正地認識一個人,卻發現你最開始對他的認識非常不正確?請解釋那對你是怎樣的經驗。 你可以採取什麼實際的步驟,確保不僅你雇用的人有你要找的好品格,當人們決定為你工作時,你也有他們所期待的品格?註:若你有聖經且想要看有關此主題的其他經文,請看:
箴言16章5、7、9節,17章3節,20章9、27節,21章2節,22章11節;馬太福音5章8節,12章34-37節;馬可福音7章1-7節

CHARACTER OR REPUTATION? YOU CHOOSE
By Robert J. Tamasy

If you needed to select an attorney, a new CPA, a different supplier, or perhaps a new janitorial service for your office, how would you go about evaluating possible candidates? Looking through phone books or online listings would not be very helpful, since they provide only limited information. So we might consult with friends and trusted associates, taking the “satisfied customer” approach. Or we could get a report from the Better Business Bureau to see if any complaints have been registered against persons or companies we are considering.

Often in hiring new employees we employ a similar strategy: We contact references they provide to ask their opinions, or call previous employers to ask for information – to the extent the law permits. Whether looking for new services or to hire new staff, we want to know what kind of reputation they have.

But is reputation always a true indicator of what we can expect? We all have heard about business and professional leaders, along with elected officials, who once had flawless reputations only to have them destroyed when secrets of moral or ethical failures were revealed. Why is this?

Recently I heard someone make an important distinction. He said, “Character is who you really are. Reputation is who people think you are.” In other words, what you see externally is not always what you get. For instance, I can think of public speakers I appreciated, imagining how enjoyable it would be to have them as friends. On several occasions, however, I discovered that although those individuals were excellent in speaking publicly, privately their personalities and behavior were very different.

In the workplace, this distinction between character and reputation is important. In marketing, image is emphasized. Sometimes we refer to it as the “brand.” The goal is to convince consumers, customers and clients we are who we want them to think we are. Unfortunately, sometimes people wear masks, disguising themselves and concealing what they truly are inside.

There might be valid reasons for this: shame, embarrassment, feelings of not being “good enough.” But if our “masks” are deliberate attempts to deceive, the problem is serious – and usually the truth becomes evident over time. Good character almost always results in a good reputation, but a good reputation does not always ensure good character, individually or corporately. Consider what the Bible says:

Be wary of outward appearances. We tend to judge people according to perceptions – what we see and hear. What we perceive, however, can be inaccurate. In 1 Samuel 16:7 we”re told, “The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” Proverbs 16:3 adds, “All a man”s ways seem right to him, but the Lord weighs the heart.

Guard your own motivations. We can be guilty ourselves of attempting to deceive, misrepresenting who we are. But if we are to be people of integrity, that includes being honest about the image we project. “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life” (Proverbs 4:23).

The ideal individual has a good reputation – built on a foundation of good character. The apostle John described such a person. “Demetrius has a good testimony from all, and from the truth itself” (3 John 12).

Robert J. Tamasy is vice president of communications for Leaders Legacy, Inc., a non-profit organization based in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A. A veteran journalist, he has written Tufting Legacies (iUniverse); Business At Its Best: Timeless Wisdom from Proverbs for Today”s Workplace (River City Press); and has coauthored with David A. Stoddard, The Heart of Mentoring (NavPress). For more information, see www.leaderslegacy.com or his blogs, www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com and www.bobtamasy.wordpress.com.

Reflection/Discussion Questions
When trying to find someone to perform specific services, such as legal work or consulting, how important to you is the reputation of the individual or company in the selection process? Do you agree with the assertion that reputation and character can be very different things? Why or why not? Have you ever had the experience of discovering that what you had initially perceived about someone was very inaccurate, once you had an opportunity to truly get to know the person? Explain what that experience was like for you. What practical steps might you take to ensure not only that the people you hire have the right character you are looking for, but also that when people decide to work with you, that you also have the kind of character they expected you to have?NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to review additional passages that relate to this topic, consider the following verses: Proverbs 16:5,7,9, 17:3, 20:9,27, 21:2, 22:11; Matthew 5:8, 12:34-37; Mark 7:1-7

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