14/02/2012

By Alexia Leachman, Personal Branding Coach At Blossoming Brands

Put your hand up if you’ve got a personality. Anyone? Great! Now keep your hand up if you let that seep into everything you do in your working life… Like the way that you dress, the language you use in your written communication, the way you go about doing your work, your office environment. Anyone? Oh dear...

Isn’t it funny how the longer we spend as an employee the more likely it is that we’ll squeeze out every ounce of our personality in order to fit in? In many companies, standing out is often the quickest way out the door. Of course, this doesn’t apply in the Googles and Apples of this world, but companies like that are not the norm.

Unfortunately many companies still force us to deny a huge part of who we are in order to fit into their culture. A culture that has most probably been identified in a brainstorming session run by expensive consultants in sharp suits. A company culture that doesn’t make room for the individual personalities of its staff are missing out on a lot more than dodgy outfits and haircuts.

If you’ve worked as an employee for many years and decide to change track and set up a business, one of the first challenges you may come across is figuring what your personality would look like if was squirted all over your working life. What behaviours do you deny because you’re “at work”? How would your written communication change if you weren’t being told to depersonalise everything you wrote? How would you dress if you could leave the pinstripe at home? What would your desk or office look like if you could choose colours other than airline blue or charcoal grey?

A long, long time ago before social media, it was common for a company to identify its culture and select its staff based on whether their face was a great fit. There was only room for one brand and that was the company brand. But today, things have changed. As with many other aspects of our lives, the balance of power has shifted. Instead of having a small number or high power players, we now have thousands of small players with equal rights. Like with the publishing and music industries, a similar revolution is happening in the workplace.

Instead of having just the one brand, a company is a collection of personal brands. And for us to honour and respect both the company and the staff who work within it, we should freely encourage the development and expression of everyone’s personal brand.

By embracing our uniqueness and differences, as individuals we are more likely to me happier in ourselves, and if we’re happier, we’ll do a better job. For the company, having lots of happy employees creates success and performance and on a cultural level, by encouraging staff to discover and embrace their uniqueness and talents, companies are more likely to attract a legion of individuals with similar values and visions. An army of people all pointing their heart and souls in one direction is indeed a force to be reckoned with. Who wouldn’t want to work for a company like that?

So, now that we’re agreed that it’s a good thing to bring your personality to your work, what can you do differently to inject more of You into what you do?

Alexia Leachman is a Personal Brand Coach and Head Trash Liberator at Blossoming Brands. She helps entrepreneurs find their mojo by helping them to clear their head trash, tell their story, raise their profile, build their digital presence and manage their reputation. You can find out more at www.blossomingbrands.com www.headtrash.co.uk And you can follow her on Twitter at @AlexiaL and @BBrands


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