Eight Tips to Stay on Top at Work
Every day at
work, you run the risk of damaging your personal brand – even if you
don’t think you have one. How is this possible? Well, your personal
brand is the way people perceive, think, and feel about you in
relation to others. The people you work with already have
perceptions, thoughts, and feelings about you, so just by virtue of
being “you” in the workplace, you already have a personal brand.
The question is
whether you have the personal brand you want. Is your brand bringing
you greater success, or is it actually holding you back? Not knowing
the answer to that question can mean the difference between a career
that stays land-locked and a career that skyrockets.
So, what are the
best ways to keep personal brand damage under control?
1. Get clear about what your current brand stands for right
This means discovering how people perceive, think, and feel about
you in the present moment. Enlist a friend you trust to ask several
work colleagues for the top five words they would use to describe
you. Are you described the way you want to be? If not, your personal
brand needs some adjustments.
2. Determine where you need to make changes.
If you aren’t happy with the results of your research, that’s good
news. Why? Because it will clarify exactly what you need to change
in order to create the brand you want.
3. Define carefully what you want your brand to be.
Once you have an idea of where your current personal brand is
failing, you need to define your desired personal brand. Most people
struggle with their personal brand because they haven’t taken the
time to clearly define it. Not having a personal brand definition is
like meandering from point A to point B without a map. You might get
there eventually, but you’ll make a lot of wrong turns along the
So, take some
time to consider: How do you want to be known? What are your
strengths, and how can you best fill the needs of your brand’s
“target audience” – i.e., your boss, your colleagues, and/or your
4. Learn how to communicate your brand effectively.
Defining your desired personal brand is an important first step, but
if it remains on a piece of paper in a drawer, it won’t do you much
good. In other words, no one’s perceptions, thoughts, or feelings
about you will change unless and until you communicate the personal
brand you really want. So, keep your personal brand definition in
mind as you go about the top five activities that all of us do every
day. These activities best communicate what you stand for: Your
Actions, Reactions, Look, Sound, and even your Thoughts. The key to
success is being consistent with these five activities – in what you
say, do, and think – day-in and day-out.
Do you act like
someone with your desired personal brand would act? Do you stop
yourself before reacting negatively to situations that arise? Do you
look and sound like someone with your desired personal brand? And
yes, do you think like someone with your desired personal brand?
Thoughts are incredibly powerful and can not only affect your own
feelings but how others perceive, think, and feel about you as well.
5. Avoid damaging your personal brand.
After you have defined your personal brand and created a plan for
communicating it, you also need to take special care to keep it
intact. How do you do that? One way is to watch others, and learn
from their mistakes. Even if you don’t know anyone personally who
has damaged their personal brand, you have certainly heard of
celebrities who have made serious blunders. For some of them, the
damage has been so severe that their careers have never bounced
back. So, pay attention to what others do that damages their
personal brands, and avoid doing the same things.
6. Be aware of your own mistakes, and fix them quickly!
If you do commit a personal brand blooper, do whatever is necessary
to fix it. Apologize for it, show that you take responsibility for
your errors, and go out of your way to correct them. This works
wonders to promote a positive personal brand.
7. Learn from your errors to avoid making them again.
When you realize your brand has taken a beating after a mistake, ask
yourself: “What did I learn from this?” Write down the lessons, and
make a commitment to never make that mistake again.
8. Keep a good sense of humor!
Most importantly, if you make a personal branding mistake, be
willing to laugh at yourself. Everyone likes to work with someone
who doesn’t take themselves too seriously.
24-7-365. The truth is: Your personal brand is either working for
or against you 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If
you aren’t taking control of it by consciously defining and
communicating a brand that brings you greater success, you may
actually be damaging it. You may even prevent yourself from reaching
your full potential. So, create the personal brand you want today,
and learn how to harness it. It can be one of the most powerful ways
to move forward in your career.
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