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How to manage your personal brand at work

harry helping a client

What is creating a personal brand? It’s the reputation you create in the eyes of others following what you do and what you say.

It’s easy to forget what and who you represent. A small reminder to yourself (in your calendar) will only benefit you. It’s always worth evaluating yourself and your brand to explore ways you may wish to start / stop / change.

When I was first asked what brand I wanted to create for myself, I didn’t have an answer. I had never thought about it before, so I decided to list out the areas I wanted to be known for and reflected to see if I was succeeding or not. 

  1. Pushing boundaries : My first job after university was launching a football charity in rural Kenya. I was flattening football pitches, trying to get children to attend school and improve grades in order for them to participate in a football league. When launching Deliveroo, premium restaurants never delivered so it was a huge task to make them feel confident that their food could travel and be eaten at home. Lately, I am supporting the trades industry going digital with payment collections and on demand deliveries. My common denominator is that I often try something new, different and challenging. This isn’t always a good thing as there is risk and ambiguity to go with it. Whether I have made the right decision or not will depend on if I am retired at sub 50 or if I am slogging away still at 75! I will always try work more efficiently and effectively, looking to challenge the status quo to do more.

  1. Someone who takes their role and business seriously : Work impacts my life more than anything so I know I take what I do more seriously than anything. As I am easy to get along with, am friendly and use light humour to often make people feel comfortable, this may give one the impression that I am not always in a serious frame of mind. I think it’s important to have a balance and not be overly intense, so a lighter period of oneself is a good thing, but I must be mindful of this. Nobody could ever say I am not hard working and I will always do my utmost to maintain this.

  1. Enjoyable to work with : We spend so much of our time in an office and with our colleagues so I think its key to like who you work with. If you don’t, you’ll probably leave your job. Something I am very proud of was during 3 years at Deliveroo, I managed teams across 3 different continents, including over 50 people from various walks of life. In that time only one person left me and my team, who eventually moved country so I couldn’t take it too personally! I value building real relationships with people which mean something to the other person. That’s always laid strong foundations for me to be a good person to work with.

  1. Trustworthy : People often make businesses where relationships are built on trust. I have always been open and honest, in order to build my trust with someone in my business. If we’re in the same boat, then in my eyes we’re family, working towards the same goal, so I will always give trust easily which helps me secure it back. You can become vulnerable here but my theory is – you’ve got to be open to getting hurt to fall in love! 

  1. Inclusive : I’ve always made sure that I have relationships across businesses, not just my team. This has developed by communication and leadership skills, when managing projects with different stakeholders. I also enjoy it as I am able to learn and support more by spending time with others. During meetings and tasks, I always make sure I involve as many people as possible and that no matter what your role is, that we engage as people. Don’t have an ego or moral high ground. Sir Alex Ferguson taught me to know the bottom like you know the top. 

What can you ask yourself re how you are perceived :

  • What do you wear to work? Is it suitable, is it in line with company expectations and do you feel comfortable.

  • What language do you use in the office and how do you talk to people? Do you swear, are you not direct enough as you’re cautious of causing friction, which then leads to miss communications. Its not what you say, it’s how you say it; so say what you mean and mean what you say.

  • How do you manage conversations? Do you show emotion publically, do you discuss topics in private and how do you manage confrontation and praise for others? You will learn that sometimes whether there is a positive or negative point to be made, a public or private place will be most suitable depending on the context and person.

  • Do you take yourself to work? If you try and be someone you’re not, you’ll get caught out, so feel confident with who you are and what you do.

  • Do you ask colleagues about them, personally and professionally? Be interested in others as it’s more likely to be reciprocated and it’s a nice feeling. Building internal relationships will be key to your learning and progression at work.

  • How do you and others perceive you? Getting feedback on this will support your goals. It’s really helpful to get this from people in and outside of your team.

  • How do you want to be perceived? Having a coach can help you shape this answer and then how you work towards your goals, but ultimately nobody else can answer this apart from you.

Below are some points that I have always have in my back pocket to support how I am perceived :

  • Make your why more than a personal gain, so you become selfless and always wanting everyone to win

  • Find solutions not problems. Nobody likes someone listing out the challenges, it can be draining. Be that person who can turn a negative into a positive – finding a solution to every problem. You don’t always have to have the answer, but work and move in a direction to securing one.

  • Offer support with authenticity. Fake news and fake support – this won’t buy you credibility. Care for people for the right reasons and support people with a target in place for you both to work to. Hitting that target will be a great feeling for the recipient. 

  • Set benchmarks : whether it be work ethic or your view on how presentations should be created, set an example of what you deem to be the standards you expect. This will support individuals but also teams. You’ll want all departments to think your team is the best for various reasons. 

  • Give your full attention. Don’t play on your phone in meetings! Imagine how’d you feel knowing someone’s mind is elsewhere whilst you host a meeting. Showing respect is important. 

  • Manage meetings like a true professional. Have you done your homework on who’s attending, why, what are the goals for all stakeholders, have you got the documents you need, who’s taking notes and how can you keep everyone engaged. Most of all..never be late and if you think you may be, just drop the attendees an email to let them know. I have a meeting document that I am happy to share with you and talk through in length. I enjoy this topic!

There’s lots more we can discuss together. It’s a deep topic and a lot to cover. When next in the office or on a call, spare a moment to ask yourself : What does that person think of me? Is that what I want and if not how can I change that?

Feel free to reach out if you fancy a further discussion.

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