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An example of how to leverage your personal traits in your job

Katie Beirne Fallon went from working for President Obama to heading Corporate Affairs at Hilton Hotels. How did she do it? What traits did she bring with her? Here’s an example of how to leverage your personal traits in your job. Read on!

Katie Beirne Fallon is the Executive Vice President and Global Head of Corporate Affairs for Hilton. She has a peculiar background: She was Senior Advisor and Director of Legislative Affairs for President Obama. She was the President’s Chief Liaison with Congress. Before serving the Obama White House, Katie was the Staff Director of the Senate Democratic Policy and Communications Center in the U.S. Congress. She also worked for Senator Chuck Schumer. How, I wondered, did she transitioned to her current role at Hilton? What were her personal traits that she carried from job to job?

Katie Fallon in red, is a perfect example of how to leverage your personal traits in your job. Here with Hilton's top executives at a 100th birthday celebration media event.

Katie Fallon in red, is a perfect example of how to leverage your personal traits in your job. Here with Hilton’s top executives at a 100th birthday celebration media event.

Mariela Dabbah— Which of your personal traits have helped you the most to navigate the major crises you confronted in your career in corporate affairs?

Katie Fallon— My old boss likes to say I’m very balanced.

MD— You mean, President Obama?

KF— Yes. (Laughter.) From growing up in a large family (I’m one of eight kids) and from having a growing family myself, I have the ability to ask what’s really important and to allow that perspective to keep me calm and build my patience. I allow it to give me clarity of vision on how to approach a problem without the anxiety of worrying about what would happen if I fail.

MD— Even when you are in the middle of the crisis you are able to tap into that peaceful place?

KF— Yes, and again, I credit the household I grew up in. (Laughter) Because I needed to be the mediator of the family, the person who injected a joke when things got tense… I took that with me. I think that’s one of the main reasons I entered politics. Because I liked negotiating among strong wills and different personalities.

MD— What number child are you?

KF— Second oldest. And my sister and I were born the same year, so we are only 11 months apart.

MD— Given that you are 6’1”, do you think your height has something to do with your ability to see things from above the fray? To always keep a perspective?

KF— I never thought about it that way. When I was a teenager I had a tough time being so tall. I was 5’8” at 13. I slouched and wore flats… But now I own it. In reflecting back, I recall many moments when being the tallest one in the group or on a team, people naturally turned to me to come up with a plan of action or to respond to their questions. So I think it helped me develop my leadership skills.

Katie Fallon learned to negotiate various points of view at home. She's one of 8 kids.

Katie Fallon learned to negotiate various points of view at home. She’s one of 8 kids.

MD— Your last job was working at the White House for President Obama. What skills did you develop there that have prepared you to lead corporate affairs at Hilton?

KF— When Hilton’s CEO, Chris Nassetta, offered me to leave public service to come to work for Hilton, he used an analogy that the hospitality industry —and Hilton in particular —replicates the structure of a political campaign. You have all these properties all over the world that function as local campaigns and the general managers of the properties are like campaign managers.  “Imagine the potential you could have if you could get all our Hilton hotels to advocate for the same thing. To implement the same changes. To drive social impact. To run global campaigns around corporate responsibility. It could be even more impactful than what you’re doing in politics,” he said. That’s what won me over.  I have to say the changes we have done in two and a half years have been larger than what I’ve made in a dozen years in politics.

I don’t think I’d be able to have this impact, however, if I hadn’t had the prior experience. Particularly because there was so much friction and tension in the legislative and advocacy world in the last decade that I had to learn how to navigate very different, polarizing perspectives to get things done. And in a different context, at Hilton we have a variety of stakeholders all aligned to different goals: Owners, suppliers, franchisees, different countries with different regulations… So to navigate all these various perspectives in service of our vision I use a lot of what I learned.

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MD— So what specific traits did you bring from politics?

KF— Putting myself in other people’s shoes so I understand their position, which is a skill I built in my time in politics. Going back to my family, I grew up in a very mixed household, with several very conservative members. I’m one of the few who had more progressive views. Having deep respect for my parents and my siblings’ different perspectives allowed for a civil discourse that ended in us understanding each other.

In the hospitality business we only succeed as a company if we treat each guest as the individual human being they are. That’s going to be our secret sauce in the future too. When you think about that as a massive scale, at Hilton we can catalyze not only our workforce, but also the 166 millions guests from last year alone. Each one of them can make those human connections when they travel.

Respecting each individual as a human being has always been at the core of Katie Fallon's attitude in her personal and professional life.

Respecting each individual as a human being has always been at the core of Katie Fallon’s attitude in her personal and professional life.

Discover your blind spots with this exercise, an alternative to the Johari Window!

MD— Do you think you developed a very thick skin by working in politics and that you apply that in your current job?

KF— Yes. Absolutely. In politics you wake up every morning expecting a crisis. And you had to steel yourself to be able to respond and be confident that your instincts will be sharp. And you are bound to get it wrong. If everyday you deal with a different issue you are bound to make mistakes. I came into politics as a perfectionists and it was hard to adjust to that reality. But you have to bounce right back. Because you have to put your game face back on the next day.

I had the benefit of having bosses who reinforced that in me because nobody understands better the challenges of being publicly scrutinized than elected politicians, so I had bosses who helped me develop that perspective. And over time I became easier on myself.

In my Hilton job, we have different things happening every day and sometimes I get it right and sometimes I get it wrong. Thankfully, I have a team of people around me who are not afraid to question me and I’m not afraid to take their feedback.

An example of how to leverage your personal traits in your job, Katie Fallon went from the White House to Hilton Hotels.

An example of how to leverage your personal traits in your job, Katie Fallon went from the White House to Hilton.

MD— Do you feel that in the last couple of years since you’ve been in this company you’ve seen a clear trajectory for women to the C-Suite and strategies in place for that to happen?

KF— Yes. I’m part of the executive committee that sets our goals every year in terms of women recruiting and women in leadership roles. We co-create the goals with our board which is 44% women. The executive committee is responsible for making sure their functions are tracking those goals. We have a deliberate focus to hold each other accountable to the goals we agreed to. To use myself as an example I may be one of the few women who gave birth while being on an executive committee.  I serve in several boards and in one of them they told me they think I’m the only board member who gave birth while serving on a public company board. The fact that they instituted a parental leave policy on the board because of me speaks volumes. When I told Chris (Hilton’s CEO) that I was pregnant he cried. I was worried about the conversation as we were heading into our 100thbirthday celebration, but he was emotionally happy for me. And you can tell from the way the team looks after me when we travel, and pass my baby around on the plane…

MD— So you could truly say, they walk the walk.

KF— They do. They walk the walk. But it’s more than that. I couldn’t do it without them. They are my family.

How to Achieve Success in a Male Dominated Industry

What does it take for women to be successful in a male dominated industry in 2018?  In some industries achieving professional success means learning to thrive in a male-dominated workplace. Here are some practical tips to help stand out and succeed!

When working in a male dominated industry, hold yourself to a high standard

One of the best things you can do for your career is to become a respected expert in your field. This is achieved by holding yourself to the highest standards and being willing to put the time to develop your knowledge and skills. You will find that having pertinent information at your fingertips is a major asset in meetings and discussions. Continued learning and personal growth, combined with a positive, confident attitude, will take you far. But keep in mind that male dominated industries may make you feel like you have to know more than everyone to even raise your hand for a challenge or to voice your opinion. This will only hold you back. So find ways to step out of your comfort zone and become visible.

Keep in mind that non-verbal communication is always important, particularly in a male dominated industry- Photo Credit: burst

Keep in mind that non-verbal communication is always important, particularly in a male dominated industry- Photo Credit: burst

Non-verbal communication matters

You should also hold yourself high in a more literal sense. We demonstrate our status and authority nonverbally through our posture and body language. So sit up straight, keep your shoulders back, and hold your head high. It all contributes to projecting gravitas and authority.

When it comes to speech, keep your tone as deep as possible. Research shows authority is conveyed by deeper voices. When you become angry, sometimes when you laugh and talk, or when you are upset, your tone tends to raise and your message becomes less clear. Breath deeply and find a lower register.

Continue to share your points of view in a concise and direct way, and remember that should you be interrupted, it’s important to keep your cool. You may use humor as a way to let your interruptor know that you want to finish your thought and avoid any confrontation.

Read about how Captain Kate succeeded in a male occupation!

Don’t give into traditional ‘roles’ particularly in a male dominated industry

Given the social norms many women and men grew up with, it might still be expected that women will be in charge of tasks like picking up lunch or coffee. Don’t continue to give fuel to this narrative by offering yourself (even before you’re asked) or by quietly accepting an unfair request time and time again. Suggest instead that women and men colleagues take turns to do these tasks and share them in a more collaborative manner. Each team is different, but structures like rotas can be helpful.

During meetings, make sure male and female colleagues share in tasks like making coffee and taking notes

During meetings, make sure male and female colleagues share in tasks like making coffee and taking notes

In male-dominated industry you may need to stand up to sexism

Sectors such as finance, technology and construction, for example, regularly make women fight twice as hard to earn the respect of their male clients and colleagues. It takes steady grit and polite perseverance to overcome this boys’ club mentality.

So how to keep your head above the water? First off, don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself and your opinions. Confidence is essential– get used to speaking up in meetings and at conferences. Stand up for other women and men when you see them being mistreated. Creating an environment where everyone stands for everyone else will go a long way to improve your workplace and it will send a message to the men in the room of what is expected of them as well.

Also, seek to educate. After all, nothing will change if we aren’t willing to explain to our male peers how specific situations affect and undermine us in the workplace. Including, remainig a bystander in complicated situations. In bringing this to everyone’s attention, you become an advocate for other women in your industry and help make things better for everyone.

Don't miss Bia Figueiredo story, a woman in car-racing! Talk about a male dominated field!
If you don't stand up for yourself -and for others when you see them mistreated - it will be hard to succeed in a male dominated industry or in any other for that matter.

If you don’t stand up for yourself -and for others when you see them mistreated – it will be hard to succeed in a male dominated industry or in any other for that matter.

Be professional and develop a thick skin

Yes – women in the workplace are sometimes treated differently to their male coworkers. If you work in a male-dominated industry with a boys’ club mentality, it’s important not to be over-sensitive. Again, using humor to let men know that they are making a sexist joke, or are asking you to do something they wouldn’t ask of a male colleague, can be a good way to difuse a situation while educating. If you want to be accepted and promoted for your achievements and you work in a male-dominated field, you can’t get horrified when you hear a swear word, for example. You don’t want your colleagues to change the conversation when you approach. And for this to happen, you may need to put your sensitivities aside. Learning about sports to understand many of their conversations is another way to break into their club.

Now, it’s equally important to know when to say “that’s inappropriate.”  You have every right to be treated as a professional and respected at your job. And to get there, you have to be willing to stick up for yourself. Act, speak and carry yourself in the way you want and expect to be treated. Cultivate your executive presence.

In a field that’s mostly male, there will always be critics and people who cross the line. You mustn’t let this stop you from going after what you want and focusing on building your career.

Motivational quote about confidence

Motivational quote about confidence

Start your own business

Thinking of becoming your own boss? I say go for it. More women than ever before are becoming aware of the opportunities available to them through entrepreneurship. Generally speaking, women are open to learning and good at working with others – two vital ingredients needed to run a business.

Naturally, there are startup costs involved – you’ll need a sound business plan and financial order, and you may not be able to pay yourself much of a salary in the first year if you’re starting a business from scratch. The alternative is to buy a business that’s for sale and get a jumpstart on things like branding, processes, and building a customer base.

Over the last three years, the number of women-owned firms launched each day has doubled. Women are now launching an average of 1,200 new businesses a day, which is great news if you’re looking to become an entrepreneur yourself.

In conclusion, to achieve success as a woman in a male-dominated industry, be ready to work hard every day. Never lose confidence or fail to stand up for yourself. Remember that you earned your role for a reason, and know that if you’re prepared to be professional and work hard for what you want, you will eventually overcome any obstacles. Above all, never stop fighting the good fight – because things are definitely getting better.

Andrés Graziosi, a Senior Executive in Constant Evolution

Maintaining a flexible leadership style is one of the keys to continue growing as a leader. This is what Andrés Graziosi, President, Latin America Region and Canada of Novartis Pharmaceuticals has always done. Get inspired!

RSM Hall of Fame

RSM Hall of Fame

He was born in a town on the outskirts of Buenos Aires, Argentina and for the last 15 years he’s had a great career trajectory at Novartis, the pharmaceutical company with headquarters in Switzerland. Andrés Graziosi, Public Accountant with an MBA from ESEADE, started his career at PwC where he spent 10 years as a senior manager.

He arrived at Novartis Argentina as finance manager and then moved for two years to the company’s headquarters in Basel. He then spent several years in Miami from where he directed the commercial area for Latin America and later led Novartis Argentina. In 2014 he was named country leader of the pharmaceutical business in Russia, an opportunity that allowed him to explore a completely different culture, and one of the destinations to which his family likes to return, as he shares with us. Since May 2016, he returned to Miami to occupy his current position.

For his inclusive leadership and unconditional support for female talent, we honor Andrés Graziosi in the 2018 Hall of Fame.

Andres Graziosi honoree of 2018 Hall of Fame

Andres Graziosi honoree of 2018 Hall of Fame

Red Shoe Movement— What’s your impression of female leadership in Latin America and Canada?

Andrés Graziosi— At a global and regional level, female leadership is increasingly present and stronger, which is clearly gaining ground in recent years.

Throughout the region, Latin America and Canada, there are already several cases of women who have reached the top level: The presidency.

Novartis Latin America and Canada have recently named female leaders in Canada, Mexico and Chile and we are proud to have a 50% female representation. We hope this figure will continue to grow.

RSM—What are some personal lessons in terms of leadership that you learned in your position as Russia Country Manager for Novartis?

AG— In general, what I learned in terms of leadership is that what is successful in the Western world, is not necessarily so in the Eastern world. For example, I discovered that Russians are brilliant in hard-skills. They are, however, still in the process of developing soft-skills. One has to change one’s leadership style depending on the context and culture one faces. For example, while in the East showing vulnerability as a leader is not seen as a positive, it could easily be a positive behavior in the Western world.

Andres Graziosi a leader who is in constant evolution shares his vision on a TV interview

Andres Graziosi a leader who is in constant evolution shares his vision on a TV interview

RSM—What are your recommendations for leaders interested in international experiences? What are some strategies to obtain the right visibility?

AG— You have to be extremely receptive, open, and have the ability to listen. Staying open to learning is very important, because, in terms of leadership, you never finish learning.

As an international leader, you have to understand that, in a global world, one has to have certain principles that should be unmovable: such as honesty, or commitment to the other, which should not change, no matter where in the world you are. Apart from this, one must be able to question even his own beliefs.

Andres Graziosi supports the #RedShoeTuesday campaign by wearing red ties (and sometimes red sneakers!) to work on Tuesday!

Andres Graziosi supports the #RedShoeTuesday campaign by wearing red ties (and sometimes red sneakers!) to work on Tuesday!

RSM—Can you share a personal moment of failure and what you have learned from it?

AG—Something at the beginning of my work at Novartis marked my career. I had accomplished everything I always wanted: being part of the company’s finance team. After 6 months of being in that job, however, I felt that I had failed. I didn’t feel happy, I didn’t add value to the company, and worst of all, I wasn’t giving my best. I decided to resign. But my mentor at that time had the vision to see beyond a task or a result and to see my capabilities and potential. He sat with me and helped me see why I was unhappy at work: I missed the contact with the client and being evaluated on my performance. He suggested that I change to the commercial area of ​​Novartis, where I would have these challenges. Through this failure, I was able to find my true vocation. I am extremely grateful that I had someone in my life who guided me along the way. And I was able to get to where I am today, leading the entire region of Latin America and Canada.

Andres Graziosi shares Novartis vision on inclusion

Andres Graziosi shares Novartis vision on inclusion

RSM—With a position of such responsibility, how do you integrate your personal and your professional life?

AG— When your child says “the last three times I asked you to come see me play, you didn’t come”, you realize that your personal and professional life are imbalanced.

The balance between personal and professional life is one of those topics that like leadership, one never finishes learning. Achieving it is not an easy task, but it’s not impossible. What has helped me is to try to maintain awareness of the high level of tension that this type of work causes, where, if one stops being conscious, the wave will under until you are submerged in the work.

Personally, I have achieved a balance through my family. Once in a while, I sit down with them to ask how I am doing as a father or husband, and assess whether I am spending enough time with them and / or paying attention. Thanks to the sincerity (sometimes overly sincere) of my children, I have managed to correct and re-set myself in the right path.

Another survival tip to be able to integrate my personal life and my professional life has been to play sports, to have a little personal time to recharge and relax. It’s something that we all need from time to time. My work teams notice the difference when I don’t manage to have this time.

A leader in touch with his team and his customers, always listening and adapting to change

A leader in touch with his team and his customers, always listening and adapting to change

RSM—Who were some of the most influential men and women in your career? How exactly did they influence you?

AG—Leaders have an extraordinary responsibility to share what they have received with others so that they, in turn, can share these learnings with someone else. Without naming a specific person, mentors have had a great role in my career and personal life. I’ve had the good fortune of crossing paths with visionary and inspiring leaders who have managed to see my potential, discovering things in me that I had not even seen. They have helped me make better decisions, solve complex problems and overcome great obstacles.

That was a huge influence. I managed to improve myself, thanks to dedication and effort, but also thanks to the path that others opened before, and I feel obliged to share what I have learned with those who will come after me.

Andres Graziosi, always moving the needle on inclusion

Andres Graziosi, always moving the needle on inclusion

RSM— Can you share with us the story of a person whose life or career changed thanks to you?

AG— Part of being a leader is knowing how to make the right decisions, at the right time. A while ago, I had a situation in relation to a person in the organization who was not producing the expected results. When consulting with several colleagues, the conclusion was always the same: to dismiss the person. However, despite all the facts, there was something that didn’t convince me. As a leader, my responsibility was to make the right decision so I took extra time to sit down and evaluate why I still had doubts. I knew that this employee had great potential and that in the right place and with the appropriate coaching they could get ahead. After offering the employee a change, today this person is very successful in the organization.

You can contact Andrés Graziosi on Linkedin

4 Benefits for Men Who Support Women All the Way to the Top

In a room full of women the handful of men who attended this breakfast with red ties and red shoes will be remembered by all of them. As the men who support women all the way to the highest levels of their company, these champions will reap benefits unavailable to those who stay on the sidelines.

Let me be clear about my agenda with this post. I’d like to encourage more men to support women’s pursuit of decision-making positions by revealing what’s in it for them. Yes, many of us would prefer for men to contribute to leveling the playing field because it’s the right thing to do or the just thing to do. Or because they actually believe it benefits organizations and society at large. Or because having daughters have changed the way they see the world.

But there’s so much that needs to be done to move the inclusion needle at the highest levels and so much to make any gains stick, that I’m not choosy. Be part of the solution because you’re convinced it’s a win-win for everyone to gain gender parity at the top or because you realize there are a lot of benefits for you in playing an active role. Either way, if you are in, we all win.

We should be treating gender equality like any other business challenge. There's a great opportunity for men who support women all the way to the top.

We should be treating gender equality like any other business challenge. There’s a great opportunity for men who support women all the way to the top.

Here are 4 benefits for men who support women all the way to the C-suite

1Exposure and increased influence

Men who level the playing field have a huge advantage: They are in a minority. As such, you get a ton of visibility. In addition, we all know the power of espousing another group’s causes. It tends to lend credibility to the cause and to you as the one speaking up about it, as you’re perceived as having little to gain from supporting someone else’s cause. It’s why it’s always so effective when straight people support the rights of gay people, when whites stand up against injustices perpetrated on non-whites, and when Jews stand next to Muslims when they’re being discriminated against and vice-versa.

So, whatever you do as a man who supports gender equality in the workplace you will attract attention to the issue and to yourself. You could be a strong catalyst for change (as Sergio Kaufman, CEO, Hispanic South America, Accenture clearly is,) by demanding that the gender issue be treated as any other business issue. With metrics that measure actual progress, by setting up goals for each leader in the organization and by making them accountable for reaching the specific goals. Hopefully 50/50 men and women all the way to the C-suite.

Here’s a list of men who openly support women
Men who support women to the top show their support in many ways. For starters, they support #RedShoeTuesday. From Left to Right: Francisco Rozo, Novartis; Dino Troni, Coca-Cola; Miguel Alemany, P&G

Men who support women to the top show their support in many ways. For starters, they support #RedShoeTuesday. From Left to Right: Francisco Rozo, Novartis; Dino Troni, Coca-Cola; Miguel Alemany, P&G

2Take the credit for achieving the change

Given the state of affairs in most large organizations, if you really wanted to make the achievement of gender equality your legacy, you could probably do it. You could use the large body of research available to make the business case.

The first step, however, should be to find out the real experience regarding growth opportunities of female talent across your organization. Discover areas of improvement, unconscious biases of the current leadership and all talent that may be affecting women’s possibilities to reach their full potential. In other words, do your due diligence as you would with any other business challenge.

If gender equality were treated with the same seriousness as all other business issues, we would’ve resolved this crisis decades ago. Why not be the first in your organization and one of the very few leaders worldwide who is credited for having accomplished equality in a few, short years?

How long must we wait until gender equality is approached like any other business issue?

How long must we wait until gender equality is approached like any other business issue?

3Media opportunities

If your goal is expand your influence outside your organization, being one of the few men who openly talks about this can give you a great story to share with the media. Obviously, you must first walk the walk. Make things happen in your company. Be the change you propose.

Sure, you can talk about the importance of more inclusion at the top and the obstacles that get in the way and that, in itself, will bring you visibility. As I was saying, there are not enough men out there speaking out about this topic. But if you seek real influence, your actions, beliefs and words must be aligned. People, particularly those who work with you, will quickly turn against you if they feel you’re using this sensitive topic to attract attention to yourself while doing nothing to change the status quo in your workplace.

At an in-house leadership training for Novartis Andean Region, men show up in red ties, socks and shoes to openly show support for women's career growth.

At an in-house leadership training for Novartis Andean Region, men show up in red ties, socks and shoes to openly show support for women’s career growth.

4 A large group of colleagues supporting your career ambitions

It goes without saying that once men come out of the closet as open supporters of women career growth those same women along with tend to reciprocate. They can become your strongest allies to help you co-create change in the organization and help you personally achieve your own career ambitions. As long as they see your intentions and actions sincere, they will become your advocates and contribute to building your reputation as a true champion of inclusion.

The secret to develop this strong group of women supporters is to be equal partners. Leave any patriarchal instinct behind. Don’t support women’s career growth with thoughts of them needing your protection out of being weak. Or because you think they can’t do it alone.

Do it from a sense of fairness. After all, you wouldn’t want to win a game of foosball because the table is inclined towards your side, would you? You’d want to claim you won fair and square because you’re the best player.

That’s all women in the workplace have been asking. To have once and for all a level playing field so they can play with equal terms. So they can truly reach their full potential and go as far as they choose to in the workplace.

If you are one of the executives currently leading the way in gender equality, let us know. We are already working on our 2018 Hall of Fame.

 

 

Is your personal branding at risk thanks to your lack of self-awareness?

Imagine if all the work you put into building your personal branding went to waste due to your lack of self-awareness. Don’t skip this post. It will save you future pain and suffering.

Behavior that damages your personal branding

Julie is always excited to meet any high-level professionals and top leaders. She’s a great listener and better questioner. What do I mean? She’s constantly asking candid questions to advance her career. Which is great, because how do you grow unless you ask what you don’t know and request feedback along the way?

Don't miss this post on how to give constructive feedback to your colleagues.

But there’s a fine line between asking for feedback or insights and turning every opportunity into a focus group for your benefit, where everyone becomes your personal advisor. All this without you ever turning around and asking, “What can I do for you?” And doing this meaning it and not as an afterthought. Undoubtedly, this kind of behavior is eventually going to impact your personal branding in a very negative way. How? Well, for starters, your colleagues will quickly catch up and stop providing valuable advice.

If you've invested time and effort in develop your personal branding, you owe it to yourself to become as self-aware as possible.

If you’ve invested time and effort in develop your personal branding, you owe it to yourself to become as self-aware as possible.

It’s a pity though, because Julie has worked hard on her personal branding. She’s invested time, effort and money to become the knowledgeable professional she is. But her chances of success will be acutely diminished by her single focus on her own needs. Her complete lack of awareness of how her behavior affects others’ reaction to her damages her personal brand time and again.

The problem is that if you suffer from lack of self-awareness, how would you know that you’re suffering from it? Well, here are a few signs to help you gain that awareness.

6 signs that your lack of self-awareness is negatively affecting your personal branding

1No matter how hard you try, you can’t get promoted

There are variations of this obstacle. Maybe it’s not that you can’t get promoted but that you can’t get the projects you want. Or the support you need from your bosses to pursue an initiative. Or the air cover when you break the status quo. If you find yourself in any of these or similar situations, take a step back and ask yourself: “Could my personal branding have been compromised?” And then approach someone you trust and candidly ask: “Are there instances when I’m not aware of how I come across that may be jeopardizing my opportunities in the organization.”

Be open to hearing the answer and resist the urge to shoot the messenger. If the person is willing to be honest with you and you penalize them for it, you’ll lose an important future ally.

2You’re kept out of the loop

You’re the last one to find out about your company’s reorg. Or about a new project or a business trip to which you weren’t invited. When your peers and bosses keep you out of the loop, it’s time to wonder whether your personal branding is no longer what you need it to be. Time to find out if you’re known as someone who can’t be trusted with confidential information or to behave in a specific way that’s acceptable in your workplace. And although this is not the only reason why people may be keeping things from you, it’s one you should consider seriously. Personal branding is tied with your reputation. If there’s anything affecting it, you want to address it immediately.

Be aware of your blind spots!

Be aware of your blind spots!

3You have been called a “bully” or other negative epithets in the past

When you push people around, mistreat them, raise your voice or when you act with a sense of entitlement you don’t do yourself any favors. There’s truth to the saying, You catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar. Mistreating people, whether by bullying them or being passive-aggressive, will eventually tarnish your personal branding. This will happen regardless of how good you are at your job. It will come a point where few people will want to work for you or have you on their team. Exercise objectivity and review your last twenty interactions with people at work: Bosses, peers, and your staff. Where you kind? Did you make requests politely or brashly? Did anyone complain to you or others about your treatment? Practicing this 360 review of your interactions will help you become increasingly self-aware. The next step might be to conduct a truly 360 evaluation in your workplace.

4You have an overwhelming need to control

When you micromanage your team, when you have to be briefed on the smallest details of their daily work, it takes your focus away from your own role. It also takes responsibility and accountability off the table for your team, which in turn requires more and more of your supervision. In other words, you create a vicious circle. By becoming increasingly self-aware you will notice when you’re micromanaging and need to back off to let others do their thing. The more you promote self-empowerment and self-motivation, the stronger your personal branding gets. Others will be interested in supporting you, they’ll sing your praises and produce great work for you.

Keep your focus on the results, not on proving that you're right. Your personal brand will be stronger for it.

Keep your focus on the results, not on proving that you’re right. Your personal brand will be stronger for it.

5You always need to be right

If you often find yourself trying to prove to others that you’re right and they are wrong, you’re likely bruising a lot of egos. Not a good thing for your personal brand. Do the best you can and aim for your own excellence while keeping your eyes trained on the results of your work and your team’s work. Who’s right or not is of no consequence when you’re all pursuing the same goal. Insisting all the time that others admit they are wrong will build resentment in the long run. At some point, this behavior will affect your reputation and your ability to land great opportunities.

6You need to point out other people’s mistakes

Very closely connected to the previous item, being the Chief of the Mistake Police can gain you the antipathy of your colleagues. Granted, perfectionists and people who are super detailed oriented suffer in a world of excuses of why things are not as good as they should. Again, there’s a fine line between encouraging your team to be the best and constantly finding what’s wrong with everyone else’s product. Even more so if you are unaware of the mistakes you make. It’s hard to build a powerful personal brand with this kind of attitude.

Your personal branding can easily be affected by your blind spots.

Your personal branding can easily be affected by your blind spots.

If you identify any of these signs in you, it’s safe to assume you lack at least some self-awareness that might be impacting your personal branding. It’s time to look for someone who can shed light into your blind spot so you can correct the behavior ASAP.

After all, none of us is anything without an impeccable personal brand. No time like the present to polish it!