August 4, 2008
Revealing your personality is the key.
For the past three posts I’ve been talking about why you should reveal your personality when you talk with your constituents. Check out the reasons here, here and here. So now we’ve got the reasons down… we know why it makes good business sense. Let’s come up with ideas for exactly HOW to inject a little personality into your communications. To get us started:
- Do your friends have a “typical you” story about you? Something that demonstrates how or why you are the way you are? For instance, my parents like to tell people that my first grade teacher called me a “little Hitler.” No, this is not really about facial hair… it’s more about the fact that I was a know-it-all bossy-pants who tried to run everything during playtime. (Well, and all the time really.) Sometimes I tell this story when my bossiness tries to rear its ugly head. It’s like a warning and a cry for help all in one: I’m about to get all dictatorial, but knowing I’m like that, help me reign it in, will ya? My point (I do have one): Learn how to tell that story about you well enough that you could rattle it right off, because it makes you human and shows you have enough of a sense of humor that you can poke a little fun at yourself.
- What does your spouse (or maybe your assistant?) tease you about? Are you always losing your keys? Do you practice your backswing when you think no one’s watching? Did they catch you humming a Barry Manilow tune? Whatever it is, sharing it with people is similar to the story-sharing above. It helps people relate to you as a person and not just as “my manager” or “the CEO.”
What other ideas do you have? Managers and leaders, what are you doing to reveal your personality at work?
July 16, 2008
Yesterday Chris Brogan posted Am I Too Naked in reaction to a comment from a potential customer. She expressed doubt that Chris could offer anything more as a paid consultant because he shares so much free information on his blog.
This reminds me of one of my favorite takeaways from a book called The Leadership Challenge by Kouzes and Posner. They say:
“Leaders accept and act on the paradox of power; you become more powerful when you give your own power away” (251).
Think about that for a sec. Does the idea knock you out? It should. There are so many people out there hoarding their knowledge, hoarding their information, jealously guarding their intellectual talent. Sure, that’s one way to go. I see what they’re up to: “I want everyone to think I’m irreplaceable. I want to be the only person who knows how to do this! Because if someone else knows it, they might threaten my position. I could lose some of my power… and I don’t want that!!”
This thinking is just plain wrong. In Chris’s case, he never would have met that skeptical would-be customer if it weren’t for the information he shared on his blog. By consistently posting intelligent, useful information, he demonstrates himself as a resource, a font of knowledge that seemingly doesn’t dry up. Does she really think there’s not more where that came from?
What if managers and leaders embraced this model of sharing information? I can think of so many ways that sharing your knowledge and power with your team could benefit you:
- Establish a common language / pool of knowledge
- Cross-train employees
- Boost productivity
- Streamline processes
- Improve service
- Decrease the chances of duplicated work or effort
- Increase satisfaction with the outcome
- Avoid misunderstandings / confusion
What else? There must be success stories out there from managers who “give away their power.” I’d sure love to read some.