Have you ever done something bumbling like walked out of the bathroom with your fly down or dress tucked in your pantyhose? If so, you lost major cool points, according to any teenager you might survey. But are you doing things at work that are causing you to lose major personal brand points?
Your personal brand is built over time through every interaction that people have with you. From making or missing deadlines to your cell phone ringtone, everything you do is either earning or losing personal brand points.
Why should you care?
Just like you make brand decisions everyday ― from the toothpaste you use to where you buy your gas ― people are making decisions about you based on your personal brand. And those decisions affect everything from the amount of money you’ll earn over the course of your career (and into retirement) to the professional and social circles you’re exposed to.
How can you make sure that you aren’t unwittingly giving away personal brand points? Consider these three quick tips:
- Don’t assume your manager is a mind reader. Want them to know your project came in on time and under budget? Tell them! Interested in being considered for new opportunities? Make it known. Equip him or her to advocate on your behalf by regularly keeping them up-to-date on your successes as well as your challenges.
- Let your colleagues into your world. This doesn’t mean you have to share your deep-dark secrets in the break room or invite your boss over for Sunday dinner, but a little Monday morning small talk won’t kill you. This can feel painful if you’re incredibly private or introverted, but recognize that most of us want to work with people we know, like and trust. If you want to be seen as a valuable contributor and not just a cog in the wheel, consider letting your guard down just a little bit.
- Always have a good answer to the question, “What are you working on?” In fact, ask yourself right now, “What is the most impactful thing I’m doing for my organization?” When someone asks you what you’re working on, they don’t necessarily mean right that moment. Respond in a manner that lets them know how you’re adding value, not just the mundane task of the moment.
Whether you’re an engineer, entrepreneur, educator or anything in between, building and maintaining a powerful personal brand is important because it helps people truly understand who you are and differentiates you from other people who do what you do. Your personal brand is your currency. Invest in it and protect it.
Want more? Download my to my interview on SKILLS Radio with Brian Olds: Zero to Hero: How to Supercharge Your Brand