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.
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.
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.
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.
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!