Personal Branding: How To Be You at Work...the Real You

By: TSP Blog | @TSProckstars


In all areas of life, it is important to understand your personal brand and what makes you valuable. It’s especially beneficial to employees as they navigate the workplace and their professional development. After all, everyone wants to feel valuable (and valued) at work, and part of a valuable team and company. Recently we shared our top tips for building a solid reputation, touching on how it can help you take your brand to the next level.

This month we want to dive deeper into the first step of building your reputation and personal brand: being you at work...but we’re talking about the real you. To fully bring your best self to every situation, you need to be yourself. In order to do that, you need to first understand who you are, what makes you different, and how others perceive you. From there, you can use your new self awareness as the basis of your authentic brand.

For some, this question may be easily answered, but for others it can be a tricky question at best. While we’ve suggested this before, it is important to reiterate how helpful personality tests can be. Personality tests can come in all shapes and sizes, but not matter what, it is important you answer the questions as honestly as possible. In doing so, you increase the chance that the test will truly reflect who you are. 

In addition to discovering your personality type, also take the time to evaluate your values. Knowing your values can help decide what you want your purpose to be, as well as help in developing your sense of self. If you are struggling to decide what of highest importance to you, follow these steps from MindTools. Defining your values is a major step in defining your professional and personal goals. 

Once you’ve figured out who you are (or who you want to be), ask yourself what makes you different than the rest. To do so, think about what your friends come to you for – is it advice, a good laugh or an honest opinion? In regards to work, ask yourself what you get asked to do the most of, whether it’s writing, research, planning, presenting, or client face-time. As we mentioned before, people respond to authenticity, as well as the ability to offer them something different than they are already receiving.

Depending on what you find, your differentiating factor may be something you love or something you dread. From there, take a moment to think about if that is what you want to be known for. You can either continue to strengthen that trait or take the time to improve in another area. Either way, it is important to know what makes you different to find what makes you valuable.

While you may see one of your strengths as your key differentiator, a colleague might have a different opinion. In fact, they could see you as a different person than you see yourself, which is why it is important to understand how others perceive you. But, don’t fret if you find that your colleagues see you differently because perception can be changed. 360 Degree Feedback (confidential, anonymous feedback from the people who work around you) is helpful in this pursuit. Even if your organization doesn’t have a formal program in place, you can informally ask your colleagues for feedback or even a recommendation – it will likely highlight some of your key strengths.

When working to transform perception, the first step is to acknowledge how you’re seen and be upfront about your intention to change. From there, take advantage of opportunities to prove yourself. Keep in mind that altering perception can take time, but is worth it when building your brand. This article from Harvard Business Review offers a deeper look at changing workplace perceptions.

While these questions may seem overwhelming, they are important to ask when you are trying to better understand yourself. Not only will answering these questions help you better develop your brand, they may also help you navigate important decisions on a personal and professional level. Once these questions are answered you can move on to the next step in building the brand of You.