How do I raise my profile?
Dear HRM Magazine Asia,
I have been working with a large global media company as part of its leadership development team for the past four years. It has given me great experience and, most recently, a new ambition to take on a leadership role myself. I am still flying “under the radar” in this respect – how can I highlight my potential to the organisation’s leaders without openly grandstanding?
- Advice needed
Jane Horan: One of the areas that many struggle to navigate is the fine balance between talking about yourself and bragging. There are certainly strategies to talk about what you do without thinking you're grandstanding. You can start by sharing what you know, and how it impacts the organisation. A few ideas:
Be the first (or last) person at a meeting to ask a question. Questions create clarity, help people think and incite learning. Before running your next leadership program, facilitate a focus group to understand what’s needed in development. Listen, then synthesise everyone’s thoughts, which demonstrates your listening and facilitation skills.
Give a presentation. Public speaking, whether it is internal or external, is a great way to share your knowledge and be recognised for your expertise. This also burnishes your expertise, experience and thinking style.
Write a blog post for your company, giving departmental updates or insights, and highlight accomplishments from someone on your team. Talk about their strengths, which will show an inclusive team leadership approach.
All of the above are ways to be seen and heard in order to move on to that ubiquitous “radar screen”. I have found HR professionals in particular have a tendency to downplay their contributions: ‘’I’m just doing my job’’, or ‘’My work speaks for itself”. But, work cannot speak itself – we must give it a voice; an authentic voice.
All this recent spate of self-indulgent story telling falls flat. So, if you want to really share your knowledge or talk about what you do well, think first about why you’re even telling the story. You must know and assess your audience. Be concise, and find that one point, the “bullseye” that will resonate.
And at all-costs, please avoid that unctuous humble-brag!
Dr. Jane Horan is an expert in career transitions, unconscious bias and cross-cultural leadership. An internationally-recognised speaker, she is the author of "I Wish I’d Known That Earlier in My Career: The Power of Positive Workplace Politics", a business book used by corporate universities globally, and "How Asian Women Lead: Lessons for Global Corporations" to show new perspectives on leadership and careers, published by Palgrave Macmillan.