As indicated in the previous blog, first impressions need to be bolstered by an ability to present oneself as an incisive thinker and somebody who has the courage of her convictions. Women need to rid themselves of the lingering idea that this will make them unlikeable, whereas in fact it will make them respected.
A related issue that may also be linked to the typical female mindset is a certain diffidence when it comes to talking about one’s accomplishments and promoting oneself. Of course, many men suffer from the same problem, but it seems it is particularly prevalent amongst women. All too often, women adopt the view that their work will speak for itself and that it is not necessary to put themselves forward.
It’s true that one’s immediate team and supervisors may see the value of what one does, but it’s likely that your reputation as an unsung heroine will be confined to that rather limited circle.
What, for example, happens if you put yourself forward for a different position in the company, or your current team is disbanded or leaves—that’s your reputation melting away. It’s important to find ways of demonstrating to a wider audience that you are a good worker who achieves results, and that you are somebody to think of when new projects are being planned. The “how” will depend on the company itself and its ethos. Ideas could be contributing to a corporate newsletter or intranet forum, volunteering to pass on information on a topic you have researched and so on. Depending on corporate rules, posting articles on platforms like LinkedIn could also be a way of promoting oneself and one’s accomplishments in a way that is both professional and effective.
In fact, think like your own PR agent, and join the dots by submitting LinkedIn articles to online publications first, and tweeting links to them.
There’s no doubt that senior management pays attention to this type of thing because they see creating and preserving institutional memory as highly desirable. People who show a willingness to teach others and share knowledge inevitably build a reputation at the higher levels of the organisation.
Those who find it awkward to talk directly about their achievements and skills find these more indirect channels are a good way of getting the job done. But don’t fool yourself: it does need to get done. People are rushed, there is a lot of noise out there and the diligent “backroom girl” (or boy) can end up being the classic unrecognised talent.
In my next blog, I’ll be talking about how to control your own story.