In the first several years of my work experience, no one ever told me about “personal brands”…the assumptions about you and your work ethic that become the tagline people use when talking about you. Had I known, I probably would have been more careful. I thought that being a “get things done” girl was fantastic. My boss loved it, those in management positions relied on it, and it was my trademark. If a project landed on my desk, no one need worry-it would be done and done well.
What I didn’t realize is that whilst building this empire of “getting things done”, I had become a one-woman bulldozer. I pushed too much, I lacked an ability to listen to other points of view, and I had a need to be patted on the back too often. What became clear was that upper management liked my drive, and my peers and coworkers wished I would jump overboard. Thank goodness I had mentors who were candid with me. The news was painful, but needed. I would never be a manager of people if I didn’t learn how to get out of the way. Through coaching, learning to keep my mouth shut, and purposefully putting the spotlight on others rather than myself, I’ve been able to growand bring on a team of top-notch people who know how to stand out from the crowd.
Fast forward to now, and I’m suddenly realizing that my personal brand needs another overhaul. Rather than being the person communicated to, I am now the communicator. The items on my plate have changed even over the last year, and I’ve got to readjust my own expectations, those of my leader, and my team. As I’ve been thinking about this, I realized there are a few steps that can be done to help come up with a better brand:
- Recognize Strengths and Weaknesses– We must be really honest with ourselves about strengths and weaknesses. It’s becoming clear to me as I’ve grown and responsibilities have changed, that I am less focused on details and now must delegate more often.
- Determine the best use of your time–In order to add the most value to our company or project, we must be clear on the best uses of our time. While I still enjoy contacting vendors about advertising, it’s no longer the best way for me to spend my time working on author brands.
- Communicate well–This one is challenging for all of us. Talk openly with your team about how each person contributes best and allow each person to use their strengths. When new projects arise, dedicate time to sitting together to go through the scope and specific goals rather than parsing out information a bit at a time. Not doing so leads to frustration on all sides, and conveys a lack of trust to employees.
- Hire people who can do things better than you can–One of my authors said this to me a few years ago, and he was right. I don’t understand html. And beyond that, I don’t have any passion for learning it. Rather than using limited time on something I’m not good at and that won’t ultimately grow my business for knowing, why not hire people for projects when needed and task experts in the areas where we are weak?
- Make others the superstars-People don’t get enough time in the spotlight. Once “management” falls into our job responsibilities, the best thing we can do for our team (and ourselves) is to lift up everyone around us. As a leader, we are lifted up when our teams shine. And to be sure, it’s really freeing to not be looking for kudos around every corner.
- Free others up to make things happen-With delegation comes the need to trust others. Give people the power to make decisions. This one thing can solve many problems and keep team members engaged and happy.
What other things do you think are needed to reshape a personal brand?