The former England international earned the nickname of 'Psycho' for his unforgiving style of play, but he is adamant that those days are now behind him.
"My on-pitch persona is different to what I'm actually like," he told reporters. "What I was like as a player galvanised that reputation. I take my time to get to know people. I won't be all over anyone from day one.
"I need to gain the trust and then a reputation develops. Sometimes the perception I have goes before me. They think that I'm this tyrant that gets hold of players by the neck in dressing room.
"But when you scratch under the surface and talk to players, people think, 'he's not really like that'. If the reputation goes before you it does you a favour brilliant. But you need to get to know the individual before you pre-judge."
The 51-year-old, who played for Forest between 1985 and 1997, will take charge of the club from July 1.