Three of the Biggest Myths About Branding Yourself Online

While researching and reading current articles and blogs on career and professional development, I’m noticing an interesting trend. Most of the articles that I read are all about personal branding online. Now, please don’t read this and think that I’m not a fan of personal branding as it pertains to professional branding and networking ( I LOVE personal branding and being your most authentic self). All I am saying is that in the quest to craft and curate your best personal brand online for the purpose of professional growth, let’s just consider some of the biggest myths about personal branding so that we’re all clear.

 

Let’s begin:

3. Developing your personal brand should be the primary focus over skill development. Again, I am a big fan of personal branding but in the landscape of career development articles, you’re going to see most or your advice leaning towards developing your LinkedIn account and learning how to write the perfect Twitter bio. As an employer, would you hire the person with the most skill or the person with the best presence online? Let us not forget that the real reason why employers aren’t hiring:

“Indeed, one of the perennial complaints of employers is that they cannot find qualified workers. Ancestry.com, a genealogy Web site in Provo, Utah, has openings for 150 engineers, data mining specialists and developers of mobile apps. “While we find a lot of people who are unemployed,” said Eric Shoup, a senior vice president, “they are not the people who bring the skill sets we need for our business.”

He said the company did virtually all its hiring away from other companies.”

– Job Gains Reflect Hope a Recovery Is Blooming (New York Times – 2/3/2012)

2. You can trust everyone’s “expert” opinion online. Twitter can be a very tricky place to get professional advice online. While there are great business and career management experts like @YouTernMark, @SmallBizLady, @MeghanMBiro and @HRMargo (just to name a short list of a few) who spend their time sharing relevant tips from results-based personal experience and tapping into their deep networking pools, there is room for everyone to have a voice online even if they don’t have credentials. Check out this advice from a recently published Forbes.com about the perils of networking just for networking’s sake (and the same can be said about social media networking):

“”It’s all about who you know.” Well, not entirely, say recruiters. Rather than building a quantity of connections, build quality connections. Also ask yourself: Have I been carrying myself in a way that I’m a good referral? Strong connections help, but be sure you can back it up with experience and competence.”

The Worst Career Advice (Forbes.com)

1. Personal Branding is a relatively new concept.  While social media is a great equalizer for introverts and extroverts, the concept of personal branding isn’t new. Before social media started to change the way we did business and built interpersonal relationships with one another, “Personal Brand” was simply named “character, integrity and reputation.” We have always had to ask ourselves questions like “how do I want to be remember?” and “what value can I add to the conversation?” The only difference is that now the things that we say and do have become 24/7 online marketing material for our backgrounds and opinions in a virtual space as opposed to memories left in the hearts and minds of those who we’ve come in contact with.

A great book to check out on personal branding/networking is called “Dig Your Well Before You’re Thirsty” by Harvey Mackay.

 

Have I left out any myths? Do you think we place personal branding over skill development?

Share your thoughts on the blog by commenting below.

How to make positive change: Do everything you’ve never done.

Want to know a secret?

There’s a gift and a curse behind all of your success in life and leadership. What got you to this point in your life and your career should be celebrated but it should also be challenged. Learn to challenge the good and bad parts about your development as a person and as a leader so that you aren’t hindered from growing to the next step.

Self Reflection. I have come to find in my HR career that there were certain traits that I had to acquire in order for me to be successful at the next stage even though I may not have had them or been good at them when I first reached the next step. For example, before serving a four-month term as an interim HR director for a 1,200 employee, multi-state organization, I was terrified of delivering bad news. I hated to be the bearer of bad news because I wanted to always be liked. However, wanting to be liked in the workplace sometimes has to come secondary to keeping the integrity of the workplace in tact and heck, even keeping your job! When counseling managers and employees (who were all older than me by the way) I had to get over my anxiety of leading individuals older than me. Had I not overcome these fears I wouldn’t have been able to serve in the capacity that I did and our business would’ve suffered as a a result.

Fixing What Was Needed to be Fixed. If I had not been able to deliver bad news, personnel problems could have gone from minor infractions to monstrous catastrophes. Yes, I may have been elevated to that position due do a combination of education, having proven myself in the workplace and circumstance, but there were still things I needed to become better at in order to step into the role and not fail miserably. Never underestimate the need to grow to respond to new challenges.

If you are stuck in a rut or have hit a plateau then perhaps you should change things up a bit and do everything you’ve never done.

Here are a few suggestions:

If you’ve been a talker, start listening. If you are a leader, there’s a strong chance that your followers who have something to say about your leadership. There’s probably good and probably bad. Ask your team members about your progress as a leader and see what they say as your positives and negatives.

If you’ve been slow to action, speed up. Organizations and departments on the move can only move as fast as their leadership. If you’re the type to cautiously and meticulously analyze decisions, try pulling the trigger a little bit sooner. The problem with mulling over a decision too much is that you can actually talk yourself out of a really good plan or opportunity. Paralysis by analysis is real. Take some chances and see what happens!

If you’re a micromanager or task hoarder, loosen up. If this is your mode of operation and you have been successful, I have great news – life gets so much better when you loosen up! It’s a better use of your time to teach people how to do things than trying to do them yourself. Trust your team members to do a good job, coach them, and set up quality assurance measures so that you can go on to do more leadership activity for your team.

If you want to be liked, ask yourself why. This one obviously personal but maybe you can relate. You will need to realize that whether or not someone likes you, you still have to do your job effectively. Of course not everyone is going to like “bad news” or like “change” but if it is better for them and for the organization then you must do what it takes to ensure that everyone’s best interest is taken care of.

 

These are just a few things to help get you started. Work with your team and a consultant to discover your leadership blind spots. It will save you time and money in the long run and even allow your team to flourish in all the ways that you might have been holding them back.

 

Here are a few takeaways:

Leadership Takeaway: Never be afraid to challenge every aspect of your leadership toolkit. Your team members can help you figure out blind spots that may be holding you back and sweet spots that need to be sharpened. Learn the difference between the two and adjust accordingly.

HR Takeaway: Employee engagement is tied to their response to leadership. Ensure feedback channels are open and effective to help increase productivity, motivation and retention.

Professional Development Takeaway: Learn to lead by understanding that the key to leadership is understand how to motivate people and get them to produce results. As you grow in your career, be conscious of the different factors that motivate different types of colleagues.

Bad bosses hurt the bottom line

Working Under Bad Bosses:

Workers tend to disengage under bad bosses, losing motivation to complete work and build rapport with their supervisor. The Gallup Management Journal’s semi-annual Employee Engagement Index reports that 54% of employees are not engaged, and 17% are actively disengaged at work and only 29% are actively engaged. Also, turnover increases under bad bosses.

The top three reasons why employees leave work are (in order):

  1. Poor management
  2. Lack of career growth
  3. Poor communication.

All factors that are in some way, shape or form influenced by direct supervisors.

Disengaged workers affect the bottom line. A 2006 Gallup Management Journal study found that 15% of U.S. Workers are “Actively Disengaged,” costing the U.S. Economy $328 billion.

Bad bosses fail to stimulate their workers and it can tremendously affect potential organizational gains.

Do you know of a bad boss? Have you been affected by one? Let us know!

What you need to know about the National Labor Relations Act

The NLRA (or Wagner Act of 1935) protects the rights of employees to:

  • Form or join a union
  • Bargain collectively for a contract that sets wages, benefits, hours, and other working conditions
  • Discuss wages, working conditions or union organizing with co-workers or a union
  • Act with co-workers to improve working conditions by raising complaints with an employer or a government agency
  • Strike and picket their employer, depending on the purpose or means of the action
  • Choose not to join a union or engage in union activities
  • Organize coworkers to decertify a union
    If employees choose a union as their bargaining representative, the union and employer must bargain in good faith in a genuine effort to reach a binding agreement setting out terms and conditions of employment. The union is required to fairly represent employees in bargaining and enforcing the agreement.

Employers may not:

  • Prohibit employees from discussing a union during non-work time, or from distributing union literature during non-work time in non-work areas, such as parking lots or break rooms
  • Question employees about their union support or activities in a manner that discourages them from engaging in that activity
  • Fire, demote, transfer, reduce hours or take other adverse action against employees who join or support a union or act with co-workers for mutual aid and protection, or who refuse to engage in such activity
  • Threaten to close their workplace if employees form or join a union
  • Promise or grant promotions, pay raises, or other benefits to discourage or encourage union support
  • Prohibit employees from wearing union hats, buttons, t-shirts, and pins in the workplace except under special circumstances
  • Spy on or videotape peaceful union activities and gatherings

Unions may not:

  • Threaten employees with job loss if they don’t support the union
  • Refuse to process grievances of employees who criticize union officials or do not join the union
  • Act in a discriminatory way when making job referrals from a hiring hall
  • Cause or attempt to cause an employer to discriminate against employees because of their union-related activity
  • Take other adverse action against employees who do not support the union

The NLRA applies to employees in most private-sector workplaces, including manufacturing plants, retail centers, private universities, and health care facilities. Agricultural workers and domestic workers were excluded in the original law and are not covered. Also exempted are supervisors and independent contractors. The organizing and collective bargaining rights of railway and airline employees are protected by the National Mediation Board, not the NLRB.

The Act does not cover federal, state or local government workers, with the exception of employees of the U.S. Postal Service. The Federal Labor Relations Authority has jurisdiction over federal employees. The organizing and collective bargaining rights of state and local employees are determined by state laws enforced by individual state agencies.

For more information regarding the NLRA, visit the National Labor Relations Board FAQ Page.
Not sure how this legislation applies to your medium or small business? Contact us today.
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