Do you feel under-appreciated at work? Are promotions passing you by? Are your talents and hard work being overlooked? Perhaps you are confident that you are providing great service to your company, based on your abilities and work record, but are wondering why your managers and peers never recognise you?
Perhaps the perception others have of you in the workplace does not coincide with how you see yourself. You may consider yourself to be quiet and dedicated, while your colleagues see you as distant and aloof. You may try your best to be a leading light of inspiration, but others perceive you as dictatorial and pragmatic.
Redefining how others see you in the workplace can open the door to your success. Don’t allow the perceptions of others make or break your career. Here’s how to reinvent your personal brand.
What’s my personal brand?
Everyone has a reputation. Like most people, you probably are very keen to create a position for yourself – although unfortunately, many people gain their reputation ‘by default,’ without conscious planning.
Your reputation is shaped by your behaviour and character, but is mainly dependent on the perception of people around you. This means that your workmates and bosses perceive you in a way that you might not even be aware of.
The people around your have amassed opinions, judgements, and perceptions about you over time which form the basis of their perception of you. Now, it’s time to take your accidental reputation and transform it into your planned personal brand.
Find out what others think of you
First, you need to understand exactly how others perceive you. Discovering your ‘weaknesses’ can be unsettling, but it is vital to your success in changing your behaviour to make more positive impressions on the people around you.
Ask trusted colleagues, managers, and mentors to describe you in just a few words. Get them to describe your work, personality, popularity levels, work ethic, etc. Ask your bosses politely but directly why you have been passed over for promotion. Too often, people simply accept their failure to gain career progression without enquiring why. You may be surprised by your bosses’ answers, and may learn about what you need to do to improve.
Think about what you have learned
Take the time to calmly absorb the information you have received. Don’t take everything personally, whether the feedback is positive or negative – but enjoy gaining insight about what other people think about you and use it as an opportunity to grow and improve.
Consider how these people may have developed these perceptions of you. Think about how you act and behave withothers. Identify which parts of your character – such as friendliness, honesty, how you talk about people when they’re not around – are perceived by other people, compared to your own perception of yourself.
Plan who you want to be
Now, for the most fun part. Decide what aspects of your personality you want to adapt or change, based on the truthful projection you want to create for yourself.
Define the traits you want to be known for – such as reliability, generosity, a genuine smile, care for others, being a great listener, an encouraging person, a hard worker, a person who shows up on time, not afraid to say no. Look for qualities that would be a positive asset to your company. You could even run your ideas by a trusted manager to make sure they feel that this new branding will benefit the company as well as yourself.
Now you know how others see you and have identified how you want them to see you, you can start to make the change. Although not overnight, you can certainly transform yourself through making little changes to the way you act, speak and conduct yourself.
You need to make yourself aware of the importance of every word you speak and every movement you make. Show yourself as you want to be seen. If you want to be thought of as friendly and accessible,make eye contact and smile at everyone who crosses your path.
If you want to showcase your organisational skills, offer to help restructure failing projects and help think of solutions for long-running problems (if you are invited and/or welcome to help).
You won’t be able to change people’s perceptions instantly. Your character transformation is an ongoing process, where you must remain constantly aware of the image and mood you are projecting. It may take a few months for people to appreciate the new you – but with patience and hard work, you can make it happen!
Finally, rebranding yourself is not about becoming somebody you are not. Changing your behaviour to better reflect how you feel on the inside is simply about letting others see the real you – you who deserves those promotions and recognition for your talent and hard work!
About guest contributor Johanna Cider
Johanna Cider is a freelance writer from New Zealand who written pieces for local businesses such as Omega. She loves writing about career and personal development, and believes that even simple changes can make a huge difference in a person’s life. See more of Johanna’s articles on Tumblr.