- Who & Why?
Category Archive for: ‘employees’
I can’t tell you how often I used to think about fleeing the nest when I was a practicing lawyer. Especially towards the end of my career.
It’s not like I was suicidal (that’s a very serious topic that needs to get addressed immediately).
I just couldn’t do “it” anymore. I couldn’t draft one more document, I couldn’t listen to one more colleague complain or hear another superior of mine pretend to manage and lead us. It became maddening.
Towards the end, I had many days when I really had to drum up the motivation to not roll over and go back to bed. I knew I wasn’t officially depressed because I would lay in bed and dream of going to the gym all day, instead of to work –ahhh, how much more fun and productive that would be!!
Sound familiar? Maybe not to you. However, maybe your employees or colleagues are thinking so.
I can’t tell you how often we get calls from management letting us know that they fear employees will leave. While attrition is natural and necessary, if you start to see a pattern, you’ve got a problem. For example, is it mostly women that are leaving? Or is it mostly a particular department’s employees that are leaving?
No matter what the reason or where, one thing is for sure in my world: addressing attrition head-on is your only solution. How?
In my world, we do it by developing the brands for each individual employee- either in a group or one-on-one. Why?
As humans, we want to make a difference and drive the ball forward somehow in our lives. When we do, we roll up our sleeves and start contributing to the overall goal. This gives us energy and purpose to keep going. When we don’t know who we are or why we should show up at work, then the game is over. If I don’t think there is anything interesting about me, then why would I go to work each day?
Thinking back, that’s why I couldn’t get up each morning at the end of my legal career. I just didn’t know what purpose I served anymore as a lawyer. I was lost.
My solution is about facilitating the process so each employee has a brand: a) knows their values, b) how to bring their values to work, and c) how to sync up their values with their employer’s values. This is the start of the brand development process.
What does this mean for you? Stop and think for yourself:
- Why do you get up and go to work each day?
- What purpose do you serve at work?
- What are your values?
- Are your values synced up with that of your employer/company/business? If so, how? If not, why?
Life throws us so much “stuff” sometimes, it can be challenging to see it all as a gift. We end up having to juggle so many things that to me it is a miracle when I get to crawl into bed some days. Take today for instance: I had car “issues”. That, in and of itself, is stressful. Then my car got vandalized (don’t ask) on top of it all. I had to deal with all this between the hours of 6:30am and 9:30am. Then I came into the office (late, of course). I had a call followed by a staff meeting and then the bookkeeper had questions, too, to which I was the only one with answers. Get the picture?
Here’s the question: how was I supposed to separate the personal stuff from work and be a good employer and leader? How was I supposed to come into the office and be an effective leader/manager? Is it possible, you ask? Yes, and it can either be done well or… not so well. Here’s how I see the distinction.
I was with a client the other day. She was speaking of the challenges of managing her staff well when there were so many “interesting” and varied personalities involved. I suggested to her that she stop viewing her job as “management” and instead look at it as support. Why, you ask? Management is different than leadership. When we are asked to manage others, it’s as if we are given a set of tasks that those we manage must complete. Our job as managers is to just make sure the set of tasks get completed well by those we manage.
Effective and impactful brands are leaders, NOT managers.
Leadership is the brand that I look to cultivate for all clients. Leadership has nothing to do with a checklist or tasks. It also has nothing to do with giving stellar speeches or your title. Leadership is about having a brand that is: a) creative, b) large and forward-looking in scope and outlook and c) kind to those who report to you. If I had to sum up the concept of successful leaders with great brands it would be those who support others well. When we are able to support others in their goals and challenges, we are not only great managers and leaders- we are human beings who care. Simply put, people take instruction and want to be around those who care and practice compassion.
So what does “support” mean? Support is whatever you make it to be. I always try to remember that supporting others may not look the way I think it should be- it is a very individualistic process that is based on the other person’s needs and goals, NOT ours as the supporting leader. This always requires us to choose to see things differently. This is true when you support/lead/manage people at work, when you interact with your spouse/partner and your children.
So stop and ask yourself:
- How do you support others?
- Do you stop to see things differently by putting yourself in their position?
- How can you improve upon your own leadership abilities?
- How can you develop an awareness practice to know when you could care more and be more compassionate to others?
Mergers and acquisitions are a topic from my previous career as an attorney. However, it applies to personal brand management just as well. We see the impact, first-hand, of what happens to the corporate brands when two entities merge as a result of an acquisition. It’s often times anything but pretty- for the companies involved and all the employees. I was recently interviewed on this topic. See the video below or click on the link http://http://vimeo.com/65261213.
In personal brand management, we are always looking at the two “C”s, clarity and consistency. When two companies merge, we find the clarity and consistency of the brands (both corporate and personal brands of the people) take a big hit.
I was having lunch recently with an employee who had witnessed his company be acquired by another. He was anything but happy by the new corporate brand. He felt completely lost and left out of his “new” company. He was telling me he felt like his voice no longer mattered- that the new company had forced their beliefs and procedures and entire brand philosophy on his acquired company. As a result, he was disillusioned and wondering how long he could take it anymore.
Personal brand management is about feeling unique, owning your uniqueness and communicating your best qualities with confidence to your target market. It is extremely hard to work somewhere when you think your company (and you) no longer matters. We find employees’ self-confidence and ability to express their unique qualities is eroded often to a point of no return. When the trust factor fails, productivity decreases and a quality personal brand fades fast.
The key is for management to have a solid brand consolidation plan post-mergers. This plan MUST include a personal brand management portion so that each employee understands: 1) the new corporate brand messaging and positioning and 2) their own personal brand so they can fit well within the new entity and produce results and be in harmony with other employees.