How do people view you in business? If asked, what would they say is your professional brand?
Often we’re viewed for being proficient in our current role, however, if your goal is to advance into a leadership position, others may not be able to see you as a perfect fit.
In my tech career, I had a desire to advance to a new position and when I expressed my interest in advancing within the company I was told no. Flat out… No.
The manager couldn’t imagine me being successful in that position because his view of my performance was limited to my current skills. That was a harsh reality. I had to examine how I was viewed versus how I NEEDED to be viewed in order to be considered as a viable candidate for advancement.
I spent the next nine months reading, researching, learning, networking and getting involved in the new information world. It took time, effort and a strategy to learn what I needed to so that those around me, in particular, the managers in the new area of the company, were able to view me as a viable candidate.
I looked at my professional brand for what it was at the time – not just how I thought I was viewed, but more importantly, how the leaders in the company viewed me and then compared it to what type of skill-set they desired.
I managed my brand gap.
If your desire is to elevate your professional brand, you will need to have critical conversations with managers and leaders within your company and industry. Ask your Human Resource department for assistance. Often times HR will offer a 360-degree feedback program through which you can seek information from other leaders in the company.
This will help understand that critical gap and allow you to determine the specific steps necessary to gain the knowledge and experience you need to change how you are viewed by others.
We talk about this further in the most recent Relevant Conversations and I answer several questions from those participating about why you need a professional brand, how to determine your professional brand, how to gain feedback and then what you need to do to manage the gap. Stop back to view the video of that podcast in a couple of days.
In the meantime, I suggest you check out Strength Finder 2.0 – a great book to help you begin the process of determining your professional brand. And also Lois Frankel’s book, Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office: Unconscious Mistakes Women Make That Sabotage Their Careers. Both are great reads that will help you as you hone your professional brand.