Many high-achieving business people I talk with, women or men, come up against a similar roadblock in their career when they reach a certain level of seniority. Although they are extremely proud of their achievements and career progression, they feel restricted and frustrated in their position.
It usually plays out like this: they feel resentment that their voice is not being heard in meetings; they’re disappointed their capability is not being noticed; they feel anger because they’re being overlooked for promotions or higher-level work.
Left unchecked, this resentment can damage relationships with others in your team, and worse, it can make you question your own ability and crush your confidence.
I’ve worked with clients who have experienced this. In our first conversation, they usually say, “I don’t understand why this is happening. I have the best qualifications in our team. I produce the best quality work, and quickly. But nobody seems to notice.”
Unfortunately, those clients come to me when the damage has already started. You see, the resentment and repercussions I described above can often be avoided if you put effort into building your leadership brand and reputation early on in your career.
In order to do this, it’s imperative that you understand one crucial thing:
Other people will not know how competent and capable you are, unless you show them. And you have to show them in a really obvious way.
Why? Because as humans we have a pretty limited vision of the world. Most of the time, our concern is about how we’re showing up to others. We don’t put much effort into reading how others show up to us, or see their potential.
Think about it. When you’re sitting in a business meeting and you don’t verbally express your idea, how are others supposed to know that you have a brilliant idea?
When it’s promotion time, and you don’t tell your boss you want to be considered for the winning job, how are they supposed to guess?
And you can relate this back to your personal life, too. When you’re angry with your partner, do you verbally express why you’re angry, or do you use silent treatment and make them guess?
All too often in our career and personal life, we want others to automatically know our thoughts and ideas. We think that if we keep our head down and produce good quality work that we will be noticed.
Let me ask you: How has this worked out for you so far?
If you have identified that this is an issue for you and you want to make change happen, then I want to let you know that it’s not too late. But what you need to focus on is reversing the damage that has been done. You need to reverse the image and judgements that others have made about you and your competence thus far.
How do you start reversing a damaged go-to expert reputation? You need to spend time discovering the gap between how others see you and how you want to be seen. Follow these three steps to get started:
STEP 1: Understand what other people think about you.
This is a really important step and critical for the next ones that follow. Most of us don’t actually know what others think of us. You might think you know, and you might be right on a couple of qualities, but perhaps there are other qualities that you’ve never considered.
In order to get a thorough understanding, you need to perform a Peer Evaluation. With my coaching clients, the Peer Evaluation is quite involved. However, you can get a decent amount of information by asking one simple question to three different people:
Describe me in three words.
STEP 2: Write down how you want others to see you.
You have an idea of what other people think of you (from Step 1). Is this how you want to be seen by others? Are there other qualities that you know you have, but others don’t see? Are there qualities you want to express better because others don’t see them clearly? I want you to write down these qualities using the below instruction:
Describe how you want to be seen in three words.
STEP 3: Identify what qualities you’re missing or you need to express better.
What are the qualities you wrote down in Step 2 that do not appear in any of the answers from Step 1? These are the qualities that other people don’t see, or don’t see clearly enough. These are the qualities that you need to work on if you want others to see your amazing capability and potential.
Once you have done the above three steps and identified the qualities you’re missing, you need to start thinking about how you can express those qualities better. Through reading books or enrolling in training programs, you can work on expressing those qualities better. This path will take time.
Or, you can fast-track the process and reach your career goals sooner by working with a coach. If this is something you’re interested in finding more about, I would love to talk with you. Please e-mail me personally at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule your free 30-minute Skype consultation.