Want to Work for You?
brand of coffee can teach you a lot about your own brand as a
leader. How? Well, consider this for a moment… When coffee is in its
natural coffee bean state, it’s a commodity that sells for just 1-2¢
per cup. When you add packaging and a brand name to it and place it
on a grocery store shelf, the price of that coffee goes up to 5-25¢
per cup. Throw in service and personality to that coffee by offering
it at, say, Dunkin Donuts, and the price rises to around 75¢ to
$1.50 per cup.
there’s Starbucks coffee, which sells for $2-$5 per cup. How does
Starbucks do that? And what does Starbucks have that those other
cups of coffee don’t? It isn’t just a better tasting cup of coffee.
What Starbucks offers is something so much more than taste – it
offers a rewarding coffee experience. When we buy a cup of
Starbucks coffee, we’re paying for the experience of taking a
break during the day… the experience of enjoying a jolt of
java with friends ... the experience of relaxing with a mocha
latte after a night at the theatre. It’s those experiences that
differentiate Starbucks from so many other coffee brands.
The same is true
of you and your own leadership personal brand. If you want to earn
more money, advance in your career, and keep moving up the corporate
ladder, think about the experience you offer as a leader in
the workplace. If you could step into the shoes of those you are
leading, what would it feel like to be part of a team with you at
the helm? In short, would you want to work for YOU?
not in your team’s shoes, it can be difficult to answer that
question. But if you don’t, your leadership personal brand will
suffer. To make sure your individual brand is bringing you success
and growth in your career, you need to learn how others perceive,
think, and feel about you as a leader at the office. Only then can
you find out if your brand needs help. And that means getting
regular, helpful feedback.
That can be
easier said than done, of course. If no one is offering you feedback
because of your heightened position, or if you don’t feel you’re
getting honest feedback from subordinates, it’s your responsibility
to go after it. There is no better way to accelerate both your
career and, ultimately, your company. Here are four tips to give you
an idea of what it’s like to work for you:
Use 360-degree feedback tools. There are literally hundreds
of them on the market, so choose carefully in order to find the one
that will help you meet your specific objectives. For example, if
you want to improve your leadership skills, use a leadership
assessment tool like Leadership Agility 360. If you want to better
manage your emotions on the job, try an emotional intelligence
assessment like Emotional Capital Inventory (ECi 360). Ask to see an
example of the report outcome you will receive, and check to see if
you need a certified coach to administer the assessment.
2) Ask for
In a one-on-one environment, sit down and ask for feedback from your
subordinates, your boss, and key colleagues. (If you try to have a
group meeting for feedback, no one will be honest with you.) Let
each individual know that you’re sincere in your request and that
you want candor. Listen intently, and write down what you hear.
Don’t allow yourself to become defensive no matter what is said. If
you do, the exercise will backfire, and chances are you’ll never
receive honest feedback again. When they’re finished, simply say,
“Thank you” and nothing more.
or videotape yourself conducting meetings, then sit back and review
This can be a real eye-opener. As you watch or listen, put yourself
in your team members’ position, and imagine what it felt like to be
in that meeting with you. Are you communicating the leadership brand
you want? If you find it difficult to assess the recordings, ask a
trusted colleague for honest feedback.
gathered all of your notes from your feedback and from watching and
listening to recordings, look for the common elements and themes.
Based on your learnings, what are the key behaviors that you want to
focus on improving? Choose the top 3-4, then create an action plan
to begin to change those behaviors. Find an executive coach if you
feel at a loss as to how to put the feedback into action or if you
feel you need extra motivation to change some non-productive habits.
these changes every day, but don’t expect immediate success.
Long-lasting changes in behavior require time and persistence.
Most of the behaviors you will want to change have been
long-time habits, so you first need to become aware of when and
how the behavior takes place. Then, you’ll be in a position to
stop yourself and do something different.
Even if the
feedback stings in the beginning, you will soon discover the
many rewards of strengthening your leadership personal brand.
When you succeed in changing an ingrained limiting behavior, you
feel a strong sense of accomplishment. And, the respect you
receive from your team as a result of listening to their
feedback is invaluable. They will feel empowered by the fact
that you took their comments to heart, and you will become a
great role model for how they can use feedback to improve
themselves in the workplace, too.
strengthening your leadership personal brand can you continue to
grow as a leader and further your career. That’s how you enrich the
experience of working with you and make yourself someone you’d be
happy to have at the helm.
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