Personal branding used to be that your likability trumped your value. Your personal brand of “going along by getting along” would work as a strategy for integrating with your team. But, that was then; this is now.
Now, you need to prove your worth to your manager and team every day. Every person on a team needs to be the Most Valuable Player in their space so that the rest of the team can count on them to produce results. Not just be friendly.
You’ve seen the Hail Fellow, Well Met person:
They sound impressive when the first interact with you — all the right buzz words, all the right commentary. You think you’ve found someone who can do the job and perhaps do it well.
But after your first common set of tasks that need completing, you find that all that talk is just that: talk. The work doesn’t get done and all that grand theory doesn’t get translated into practice.
The killer is that this person often manages up really well. And uses you and your coworkers to do it. Gather up all the consensus information that would solve a problem, present the solution as if the person figured it out themselves and then take credit when the solution is implemented. Coworkers figure this stuff out all the time and can’t understand why managers don’t.
Management presents the latest and greatest replacement for Six Sigma? This person is all over it, learning what can happen with the new approach, and getting all the buzz words ready. Ignore the practical issues of implementing something brand new — the theory covers it all and that’s all we’ll need for success.
Then, as the obvious difficulties become popular, this person embraces the populist view on what needs changing to make the new approach work. Or even touts the newest theory to stay ahead of the shifting sands of practical implementation. The bedrock principle? Whatever is popular is right for me.
Today, managers and employees need people who’s personal brand results in value to the team. Personal branding as your work gets delivered on time to your coworkers. Personal branding that provides quality work. Personal branding that results in your coworkers can counting on you to do your part to get to success. Personal branding where you raise practical issues so that your team’s solutions get better and better at addressing problems. Personal branding that uses conflict as a way to clarify priorities for the team and raise issues for management to solve.
Value means you produce results that contribute to the manager and team goals. Not being friendly (though doing that in the process is great). Not being nice (although being nice is nice). Not being likable (though you will have greater success if you are). Not being a Hail Fellow, Well Met person with your manager and team.
Does your personal brand result in bringing unique value to your team?
Scot Herrick is the author of “I’ve Landed My Dream Job–Now What???” and owner of Cube Rules, LLC. Scot has a long history of management and individual contribution in multiple Fortune 100 corporations. In 2005, Scot started sharing these hard lessons at CubeRules.com, a site devoted to Career Advice for knowledge workers, whom he calls Cubicle Warriors.