At a recent staff meeting, we did team exercises. Our boss asked each team of two: "How is your partnering limiting you?" In one foul swoop, we went from enjoying a little sangria to entering what felt like a Think Tank. Enter random thoughts of Well, that's negative; What does that mean?; Should I be scared? Instantly, I think many of us felt exposed, stripped and naked in front of our co-workers. Many thought they were safe, hiding behind a pretty mask or a fortress warning don't come too close, I may bite. Whatever sacred space we thought existed had disappeared.
Well, I try to be pretty transparent about who I am, what I think and the things I enjoy. Therein lies this blog. But for many, having someone peel you like an onion is just not doable. So they fake it by evading the question, answering a different question or by not participating. Everyone on our team expressed their thoughts candidly and honestly.
Do you want to know what my partner said about me? Here it goes: I'm a walking brand, and I need to work on putting myself out there. I really thought I was doing that, but I also know there's so much more I could be doing. If you feel the same, know that you are not alone.
Here's what I learned from that conversation about how I need to better manage my brand:
1. Always think about the next.
2. Ask for an introduction to someone you want to do business with.
3. Play to your strengths.
4. Understand your weaknesses.
5. Get socially networked.
6. Take a new training course.
7. Start blogging about your experience.
8. Join forces with organizations that bring in new business and put a spotlight on you.
9. Have more lunches away from your desk.
10. Be consistent in all that you do.
That's how I'm working to build up my brand. Write me back, and let me know what you're doing.
Tanisha A. Sykes is the Senior Editor of Personal Finance and Careers for ESSENCE. Follow her on Twitter @tanishastips.