Mr. ?, 30, is a manager in an IT services company. He strongly believes in doing his work, and prefers that his work should speak for itself and bring him the recognition it deserves.
For him, even working on developing a personal brand is in a way 'untrue' and not in the right spirit. He recently approached a human resource (HR) consultant asking had he created a personal brand, would his career have moved forward considerably.
This happens quite often to the unsung employees of the corporate world, who prefer to remain silent and work quietly in the background. Is there a reason or need for them to create their personal brand?
"In the corporate world, without visibility to the work you are doing, or allowing the right stakeholders to see the value you bring to the role or the organisation, it may curtail your chances of getting the opportunities you are capable of and deserve.
HR experts say it's a good thing to have the organisation understand your strengths and how you can contribute effectively in the long run. This has to be complimented with actual capability and caliber.
There could be two aspects of building a personal brand, internally within the organisation and externally in the public domain. At the initial stages, the first aspect kicks in, but somewhere later in one's career, one can balance it with building one's personal brand externally in the public domain too. Social media comes into play in influencing the creation of the personal brand.
"Times have changed from the days when CEOs would employ brand builders to mange their profile. Today social networks are building profiles of young professionals.
A wide network of people who matter and who follow you on Twitter or Facebook or the number of acceptances that you receive in your Linked In is making a difference to the way in which you are building your brand.
Thanks to social media, young managers are now finding a fundamental reason to be identified as someone who is different and for this they are willing to go to any lengths at a professional or personal level.
But the dynamics of building the personal brand within the organisation are different,recalls a manager in the service industry, who was in a customer-interfacing role, where the need to build effective relationships was very strong.
He was always looking to highlight his work to one and all, drummed most of his achievements as he saw them, but they were not necessarily seen in the similar way by the organisation.
Some of his strengths included understanding the corridors of power, building relationships with them, taking on responsibilities that were on the fringe but were visible areas that the seniors in the organisation could see.
Among his weaknesses included wanting to be in the limelight at the cost of others. He started to eclipse the work of others, was not ready to share credit and tried his best to keep positioning himself in every forum.
Every time his own limitations caught up with him, he would change jobs, and thanks to the 'reputation' that he had managed to build up for himself, he actually would secure good openings. Then came a point where he was finally in a job, that far exceeded his capability, and he could not succeed anymore.
"As one builds a personal brand, it needs to also get supported by what you actually are capable of, and can bring to the organisation."
Build relationships across the organisation that go beyond your immediate stakeholders. This allows you to have an overall understanding of the organisation rather than being caught in a silo mindset. Do not hesitate to make lateral moves across functions, as this shows genuineness in developing an overall understanding of the business.
Poster boys and girls who are good in everything are hard to find. It is usually people who have great networking skills, articulate communicators, who do not hesitate to voice their opinions are the ones who are 'visible' in organisations, and thus are able to build their personal brand.
When you are building the personal brand
Be the change agent or part of the team that spearheads new initiatives. This will require ability to take on challenging assignments. Push the boundaries and challenge the status quo. A lot can be achieved by questioning 'it-happens-like this-only' syndrome.
Do not hesitate to express the most rationale viewpoint, as opposed to not being seen to have an opinion. Build relationships across the organisation that go beyond your immediate stakeholders. Have informal conversations with seniors to gain their insights on work-related matters. Work on developing communication skills and a positive mindset.
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