The way you view yourself doesn’t usually line up 100% with what others think of you.
The difference is especially important at work, where a gap between what you’re aiming to project and your colleagues’ perception could be the explanation for why you’re not getting ahead.
If you want to be seen as a leader, you need to be fully aware of what you’re putting out there and how it’s being received.
Your professional image goes way beyond how you’re dressed. It’s the energy you bring to what you do. It’s your facial expression. It’s your tone of voice. It’s how prepared you are or not. It’s how you collaborate or not. It’s how you lead.
The problem comes when we don’t realize what we’re communicating about ourselves through all of these things. Some things about you people won’t say to your face but they’ll probably say about you in the bathroom.
Make sure you’re being viewed as the leader you are:
1. Know who you are and what you stand for. That’s the starting point. What are the personal values that everything you think and do are based on? Others can see right through it when you’re not being genuine: You can fake it all you want but people can feel your energy.
2. Make some adjustments to your communication style when it’s called for, especially when having difficult conversations with a team member. Sometimes you have to step back and reframe what you’re saying so others can hear you better. It not only shows that you listen, but it shows you have some flexibility.
4. Know what’s your dominant communication style, and what’s the communication style of the people you interact with. Take the time to understand the communication and learning styles of those around you.
5. From time to time, you will have to deal with a heated conversation, a disrespectful tone, or worse. While you can’t control what other people say to you (or how they say it), you are always responsible for how you react.