Part I – Building Your Brand at Work
By Ernie Humphrey, VP, Thought Leadership, Stampli
Collaboration is critical to the success of any business leader. A compelling professional brand empowers effective collaboration with team members, direct reports, colleagues, and professional peers. I am going to share what it takes to build and manage a compelling professional brand in a two-part blog. This blog will focus on the foundation for building a successful professional brand and specific advice for building your professional brand at work. My second blog will focus on how you build your professional brand outside of work.
Pillars of the foundation of a solid professional brand are:
- Know What you Know – have confidence in what you know and the value you offer in relationships.
- Appreciate What you Don’t Know – understand what you need to know to build trusted relationships and what you can learn from each relationship you invest in building.
- Invest in Knowing Your Colleagues – trust is earned and people need to know you care.
- Let them Get to Know You – trust is earned and that means being authentic.
- Communicate What you Know – if you have knowledge that will help someone be successful, they will be open to what you have to say, and build a relationship with you.
- Communicate What you Need to Know – if someone feels they have knowledge that will help you be successful they will be open to sharing it with you and building a relationship with you.
- Actively Collaborate – identify opportunities to work with people for a goal.
Setting the stage for mutually beneficial relationships at work means understanding the value of your relationship to your colleagues and communicating your relationship expectations to each colleague — and being willing to let them know what to expect from you.
Specific advice for investing in relationships that will build your professional brand at work and fuel your career success:
- Listen, Listen, Listen – nothing builds trust more than listening and investing in knowing the interests of your colleagues outside of the office.
- Learn the Professional Languages of Colleagues – not everyone speaks the language of treasury and finance. Learn the language of sales, marketing, IT, HR and operations and this will help build credibility with any colleague.
- Ask them to Tell you Their Biggest Work Challenges – this seems easy, but few people do it. We are all alike, we are willing to share our challenges. Venting is great therapy for anyone. Aspire to that “trusted ear.”
- Help them Solve Work Challenges – there is nothing better to forge a relationship then proactively making someone’s life easier. Most people will share challenges that only perceived that you can help them resolve in short order, an easy win for being a valuable colleague.
- Be Authentic in Your Communications – some people are not social by nature, so do not try too hard, be yourself, but you need to have the right tone in your communications and be honest.
- Communicate Bad News Proactively – no one likes bad news but being blindsided by bad news is even worse. If you know a problem is “brewing” let people know before they get a call or email about it.
- Build Trust with Colleagues so they Have No Fear in Communicating Bad News to you Proactively – let people know that you realize the value of failure. If you have a reputation of being a perfectionist with little patience, you will have trouble building relationships.
Many people do not realize that they have a professional brand at work and it matters. A good brand can help open doors and fuel career success, but having a brand of getting it done no matter who you run over in the process — can create an inherent barrier to moving up the corporate ladder that can’t be overcome and will damage your career. Invest in your professional brand and take control of your career.
Learn how to build your professional brand outside of work in Building & Managing Your Professional Brand as a Finance Leader – Part II.