What is your office role, and the dangers of letting other people define your personal brand by Roz Usheroff

All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances, And one man (and woman) in their time plays many parts . . .

William Shakespeare

As I read Molly Cain’s September 18th article in Forbes “The 7 Types of People Who Never Succeed at Work,” I was immediately reminded of the Shakespearean reference to the many people we encounter throughout our business career and life in general.

What is most interesting to me is that Cain’s perspective while entertaining and even insightful to a certain extent speaks to a much deeper issue.  Specifically our tendency to apply labels that invariably pigeon-hole people into seemingly well-defined categories.  From the “Groupthinker” and “Apologizer,” to the “Apathetic Guy” and the “Sore Loser,” Cain certainly covers the bases.  But is she correct in the absoluteness of her assessment? Given that we rarely get the opportunity to really know most of the people who come and go from our life stage, I would have to say no.

In fact, experience has repeatedly taught me that in most instances, people’s impression of others is largely a reflection of their own characteristics, including their fears and prejudices.  Why do you think potential members of a jury are so meticulously grilled by opposing attorneys?  No matter how objective we may try to be our “personal truths” inevitably and to varying degrees influence our views of the world and others.

See Yourself

Perhaps you might think otherwise.  Fair enough, but do you remember the classroom game in which one student whispers something in the ear of the person next to them.  Then that person whispers supposedly what they heard into the ear of the next person and so on and so on?  By the time the whispered words have reached the final person in the chain, what is revealed at the end is vastly different from what was originally said.  This reminds us that people hear and yes even see the same things differently.

For me this last example as well as the Cain article, is a ringing reminder that we should never allow people to define who we are or lock us into a narrowly defined role that more likely than not fails to showcase who we really are and what we can really do.  In other words, when we fail to manage our personal brand we are opening the door for others to manage it for us.

In this context I have to ask this one simple question . . . who is managing your brand?

Roz Udemy Facebook

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5 responses to “What is your office role, and the dangers of letting other people define your personal brand by Roz Usheroff”

  1. Stacey says :

    Found this through the discussion thread on Molly Cain’s Forbes article, “7 Types of People Who Never Succeed At Work.” I enjoyed reading this blog post and found a few others on your site that are really good too! After reading both articles, I kind of got confused about both. Are you saying that if we do what you say Cain is doing in her article (labeling people at work) that we’re not managing our brand? Or if we come up with labels for our coworkers that we suffer from those labels ourselves? Or are you saying that we should manage our brand by acknowledging the behaviors that Cain identified as unsuccessful and work to avoid becoming that way? Like, if I take some really terrible gossip to someone at the office I should expect that to make me look bad and I should know that will impact my success at work?

    Would love your thoughts!

    • piblogger says :

      Hello Stacey . . . when I made my comment on Molly’s article in Forbes I referred to Roz’s post simply because it reminded me of the fact that we spend so little time getting to know the real person with whom we are dealing yet are still inclined to draw definitive conclusions as to what type of person they are. I guess this is the reality of living in a high speed, Internet-based global community.

      That said, and I am certain that Roz will have something significant to add to this discussion, her point that if you don’t manage your brand re the way you want people to see you, then someone else will – and that someone will do so based on only a limited knowledge of who you are.

      • Stacey says :

        Yes, I’d still love to hear Roz’ opinion on it, but this makes sense. Your explanation does compliment the two articles like I thought they might be. If you don’t manage your brand, your manager or other leaders will make an assumption and label you using only the limited knowledge they have of you, and you might be unwillingly placed into one of these categories. Therefore, not getting promoted or finding success like what’s been suggested.

      • rozcoach says :

        Stacey: I appreciate your questions and would just like to add that perceptions tend to be reality. Managing your brand helps you to ensure that impressions about you are formulated with your input, rather than heresay. It’s so easy to blame others when we are not managing our brand. I dislike labeling and find that this happens when we don’t reach out and create healthy honest relationships. There’s no guarantee that others will see our value if we operate with an entitlement attitude. Courage is being your authentic self but knowing that we must take the responsibility for reaching out and managing impressions. At the end of the day, you have to like the person you see in the mirror.

    • Roz Usheroff says :

      Both you Stacey as well as Jon have captured nicely the true essence of my post. Specifically if you fail to manage your own brand others will. The challenge of course is that in assigning a label to you, their perception will likely be skewed by their own life experiences.

      Conversely, in managing your own brand your perceptions of how others see you may also be skewed.

      I wrote about this perception disconnect in my book when I made reference to the old proverb of how a person’s perceptions are defined by three mirrors;

      1. The first mirror is how others perceive you
      2. The second mirror is how you see yourself
      3. The third mirror is the truth

      Ultimately when you effectively manage your brand, you achieve the balance of truth.

      Thank you again for commenting and please do check out my book.

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