People are going to think what they want when they want. It’s inevitable. But you have some control over how much of a spin can be put on a story.
Do the decisions you make while in a position of leadership appear to have your own interests at the center? Can you speak to your motivation for making a decision without skirting the truth?
If you have to think about how to explain a choice that won’t make people question your integrity, maybe you should reevaluate what you’re doing.
So, every time you make a decision, ask yourself “How will this be interpreted?” Think hard and be honest with yourself. Because, as my (and probably your) grandma always said, “It takes years to develop a solid reputation, but it only takes one bad decision to ruin it.”
Make professional development a priority.