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Do you find it difficult to talk about yourself at work ?
If yes, then read on….
I recollect an interesting coaching session on this topic with a client sometime back
My client is the business head in a large manufacturing company
He feels that his hard work is not getting appreciated
“I feel that I am not good in marketing myself” he said “I am reluctant to speak about my work and achievements”
He felt that this was impacting his growth prospects, as he lacked the visibility in front of his leadership team
Now this is not uncommon…
Many leaders believe that they should not talk about themselves and their work should speak for itself
You feel that if you do it, it will be seen as “bragging”
And it is not in your nature to brag, right ?
You feel hesitant. You feel odd
IT IS JUST NOT YOU
You would rather put your head down and do the work, right ?
This approach of letting your work speak for itself is fine, but only up to a certain point your career
It might have worked for you in the past, but if you really want to step up, it might not work in the future
For one, organizational matrices and dynamics have become much more complex than ever before
You have regional, functional and global stakeholders
And not everyone is physically around you
It is quite possible that not every stakeholder is fully plugged into what you are doing
They have their priorities to look into, right ?
Secondly, having the right executive presence and visibility is an important aspect of leadership
You could have a lot of great ideas, but if you are not able to speak about them in the right leadership forums, then it does not really help you or your business
Third – It is not just about you. It is about your teams as well
You need to make sure that you create the right visibility for your team members in front of the global leadership
Finally, I think it is about active career management
It is very easy to push the responsibility outwards “It is the job of my manager”
But the truth is…
YOU have to take charge of your career
YOU have to actively manage it
YOU have to actively manage your stakeholders
The key word is actively
It is your job to keep your stakeholders posted on what you are involved in
Do not assume that they know everything
All this means that you need to be visible
You need to be out there
You need to connect
And you need to speak up
Think about it…
When you tell people what you have done or what initiatives you are driving, you are simply telling them the truth, right ?
You should be proud of what you have achieved
And you should be able to communicate with confidence
Where you might struggle is the “how” part – how do you communicate so that it DOES NOT appear as if you are blowing your own trumpet
So it all boils down to your narrative....
“I did this” v/s “We did this”
Tasks and process v/s outcomes and results
What is important to you v/s what is important to your stakeholders
Your priorities v/s organizational priorities
Be aware of the importance of being more visible and vocal
Get your story and narrative right
Actively manage your stakeholders and your career
So here is something for you to reflect upon this week :
1) Do you feel hesitant to speak about yourself ? If yes, what is really stopping you ?
2) How is lack of visibility impacting you ?
3) What action can you take to start being more visible in your organization ?