Imagine the hypothetical of Siobhan. She was a top student in her law degree. She aced her job interviews and had been working at a prominent law firm for a number of years. Her high-level of technical skill enabled her to get noticed by the partners of her law firm and for the first few years, she was automatically promoted.
Then she hit a roadblock in her career. Although her supervisors were still praising her work, she began to notice that others were getting promoted ahead of her. Siobhan became confused and frustrated.
She approached a couple of partners in the law firm and asked for feedback on what she needs to work on so she can be promoted again. The responses were, “You aren’t forward-thinking enough”, and “You aren’t as well-known with our clients as the other people we’ve promoted”.
Siobhan was shocked. She knew she has produced a very high-quality of work and did not understand why her high-level of technical skill no longer enabled her to move up in her career. It was at this point, Siobhan began to realise she may need help.
If Siobhan approached me for leadership coaching, I would point out that she had done a fantastic job to reach this level in her career. However, she failed to see that the rules had changed. What was important now, and what the partners of her law firm were looking for was her ability to develop a name for herself in the industry, and over time accumulate a network of clients and stakeholders who thought of her as the go-to lawyer for that specific area.
She needed to develop a leadership brand.
Failure to get others to know who you are, what you’re good at, and why you’re the best in that area, is the biggest mistake I see business people make.
What got you noticed and promoted early on in your career, will not be enough to keep you getting noticed and promoted as you become more senior.
If you want to stay ahead of the competition and give yourself the best chance to survive layoffs, you need to start developing your leadership brand.
Here are three suggestions I have for you:
1. Identify the unique value that you offer.
What are you already known for in your company? Why do people come to you for advice? Why do they come to you and not somebody else? Asking yourself these questions will help you to understand the unique value that you offer to your team, company and clients.
With my coaching clients, I usually ask them to perform a peer evaluation which is a little more in-depth than the questions above. But these questions will still give you a lot to work with.
2. Embody your unique value in everything you do and say.
Whenever a conversation revolves around your particular area of expertise, make sure you comment on what’s being said and contribute to the conversation. Nobody will ever know what you know, unless you tell them!
For many of my coaching clients, speaking up at business meetings to share their thoughts, opinions and ideas can be a daunting experience. I help them develop the assertive communication they need to speak up, and over time, they learn how to infuse their unique value in everything they do and say in those meetings.
3. Spread your expertise to your wider network.
This could be writing articles and publishing them on LinkedIn, or starting your own personal website to further develop your brand and reputation. What you’re trying to do is to step away from the corporate brand under which you are employed and get people to know you on a more personal level. Please ensure you still comply with any legal obligations of confidentiality you have with your employer.
After developing a plan to create her own leadership brand and working through a number of coaching sessions, Siobhan begins to see people interacting with her differently. Her opinion is requested on topics that are in her area of expertise. She is handed high-level clients who could benefit from her unique set of knowledge. And we can imagine her being invited to a formal lunch by the partners of her firm to discuss her next promotion.
Building your leadership brand can make you stand out. You begin to understand the unique value you bring to your company and clients and when you start to embody that in everything you do and say, your reputation will grow.
If you’re ready to build your leadership brand and you’d like to know how Kara can work with you, please e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org for your free 30-minute consultation.
Visit Leadership Brand Coaching for more information.