Leaders, please be yourself, not who you think you need to be.

Some of the most effective leaders I have worked for, and with, have a few characteristics in common. All of them understand the importance of commanding respect, while simultaneously remaining true to their personality.

They are not afraid to show a softer side when interacting with their teams. In fact, this is one of the most endearing and important traits that makes people want to follow the leader.

If you are a leader, work for one, or want to be one, think about whether you or the person who is the leader possesses this quality. Perhaps they do, sometimes, but you only get a glimpse of it, and not consistently. Now imagine what it would be like to work for this type of leader.  Or to be this type of leader.

Some people take on a different persona at work.

Are you a big bad wolf at the office and a cuddly teddy bear at home?  As Dr. Phil might ask, “How’s that workin’ for ya?

The other thing people do is to develop their leadership qualities based on being collaborative, and approachable. They allow their naturally ability of high emotional intelligence to flourish.

Unfortunately, emotional intelligence is not something that can be taught, but it can be mimicked.  If you feel you are lacking, pay attention in scenarios to which you are exposed on a regular basis.

For example, watch as successful leaders properly greet a guest and make them feel comfortable, or ask someone you notice who seems sad, or upset, if they need to take a moment, or want to talk.

Leaders who are open to the human experience, are in no way weak.

Sometimes we conveniently forget that our leaders are human, too, and typically under constant pressure. Having to mask their emotions is difficult, but doing so is not a sign of weakness.

When our business leaders reveal that they are experiencing emotions, it sends signals to the people who work for them that they are simply human.  This makes them more approachable.

Contrary to what you might think, when a leader exhibits emotion, many people either do not notice, or do not comment, if they do.  Some may simply be oblivious, while most are probably reluctant to approach the boss.

It’s okay to ask how they are doing, and do so sincerely.

You might be surprised by the reaction you get.  Be prepared to respond in a kind and empathetic manner. This sentiment will be appreciated more than you can imagine. What’s more, the leader will perceive you in an entirely different light the next time you interact. Why?  Because you allowed them to be themselves for that moment. This is not something many leaders feel like they can or should do.

Climbing up the proverbial corporate ladder can take years, but some people reach the top faster than others. How? There are a number of factors, but one of them is that they are likable, and part of being likable is being human. These people are also typically bright, and able to access both the right and left sides of their brains equally. They have a personality that makes others believe in and want to follow them.

Of course, this is an over simplification of the other criteria one needs to climb the rungs. Typically, it is much harder for those who reached the top because of an inside connection to earn the respect of their team. Authentic leaders who have earned the right to be placed into leadership roles are the ones whom we admire, potentially aspire to be like, and ultimately respect and want to follow.

Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Performance Strategist and CEO of MarketMe Too.  She is a Gallup Certified Strengths Coach, author of Wisdom Whisperer, and is a well-respected motivational and social influencer who has a global following from her numerous speaking, print, radio and television media appearances.

Our expertise is in uniting and bridging teams (sports & business). What does this do for our clients? It provides them with an acceleration boost to reach their goals sooner, and interact with a renewed efficiency, focus and energy level.

Market Me Too also works with individuals from students to C-level executives. The individuals, business and sports teams we work with are coached on how to leverage and apply their peak performance talents on a daily basis. Our coaching produces repeatable, measurable and amazing results personally and professionally. Need proof? Just talk to our clients, or read through our testimonials.

If you want better and different results, let’s talk. We know how to help you get them. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com or (339) 987-0195.

 

Advocate for yourself. You’re worth it.

If everyone could afford to have their own public relations and branding company working for them, imagine how much fun you could have with this? Since this is not realistic for the majority of people, the next best or potentially the best person to develop your image and brand is you. Yes, you, although you may be initially challenged with how to do this, it is possible to do.

Whether you want to develop your own brand is something you have to decide to do, but essentially everyone should be doing this. Why? Because if you have a LinkedIn account or are active on any social media platforms, you are already in the process of developing your brand. However, are you giving your brand the kind of attention it deserves, and is the type of effort you are putting in worth it? It should be, otherwise why would you bother to invest your time in the process?

As we all know, no two people are exactly the same, and everyone has their own talents and different types of experiences which add value to who they are personally and professionally. Some people may have taken a more prescriptive approach to charting out their paths, and others may have taken a less formal approach to developing their personal or professional journeys. Either approach is fine, and what makes the difference in terms of your satisfaction with either path is how you go about advocating for yourself along the way.

I have written about the importance of developing your own value proposition,  and this is the foundation you will build upon to advocate for yourself in just about any scenario. It is possible to have two value propositions, and one would be for your personal life, and the other your professional one. However, it is fine to have one which is a blend of the two, especially since some people do not separate their personal and professional lives. For those that have a strict delineation between the two, then crafting two value propositions will make sense.

As a refresher, think of your value proposition as your “elevator pitch” to tell and promote yourself to others. Give some thought about how you are coming across to your audience from both a verbal and strategic perspective. Are you coming across in a way which elicits a response of “so what”, or a response which has the recipient asking more questions about you? The latter is obviously preferred, so here are some tips on how you can craft the elevator pitch to do the best possible job of advocating for yourself.

  • Write down (3-5) things you enjoy doing professionally, and are good at.
  • Come up with 2-3 examples of what makes you exceptional at the things you enjoy doing personally or professionally.
  • Ask your friends and trusted colleagues to tell you what they perceive are your best skills personally or professionally.
  • Write down and practice giving your “advocate/elevator pitch”. Yes, really do this and refine it as you are crafting and stating it to others.
  • If you are not being asked questions after reciting your advocate pitch, go back and re-craft it and try it again. It may take 2-3 iterations to get this right, and it will likely need to be modified over time as you add more skills to yourself advocacy list.

Still not convinced you need to advocate for yourself? Think again, as how do you think the people who you hear about or admire professionally or personally got to where they are today? Yes, this is a rhetorical question, but it boils down to being a strong advocate for themselves. The bottom line is you are worth it, so get out there and start advocating for yourself. I’ll be looking for you to do so.

Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Performance Strategist and CEO of Market Me TooMarket Me Too has expertise in bridging teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth and revenue numbers, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. She is also the author of a newly published business book called Wisdom Whisperer which is available via Amazon, and has had numerous strong reviews.

Market Me Too also works with individuals from students to C-level executives. The individuals, business and sports teams we work with are coached on how to leverage and apply their peak performance talents on a daily basis, which produces repeatable, measurable and amazing results personally and professionally.

If you want better results with what you are doing, let’s talk. We know how to help you get them. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com or (339) 987-0195.

 

Seeing Opportunities. Do you?

Are you constantly amazed by either people you know or read about who always seem to be able to take advantage of opportunities better than others? Are they lucky or do they have a sixth sense when it comes to being able to see or capitalize on situations which are highly favorable to them? The answer as you might imagine is not completely straightforward, and I am going to share with you how you can start to do this too.

Part of the challenge most people have in terms of not being able to take full advantage of potential opportunities either at work or in their lives is simple. They are not fully paying attention to what is going on around them as they are too busy dealing with their day to day challenges at home and work. However, if you conciously look up from time to time from all of the day to day distractions you have, you will begin to notice and see things going on around you via a different and more opportunistic lens.

When you begin to notice what is going on around you, the next part of capitalizing on opportunities is to start asking questions to those who are associated with what you are seeing going on. This might seem more difficult than it really is or needs to be, as you can generally obtain most of the basic information you will need by asking a limited amount of questions. For example, you can ask:

  • Do you see others being involved in “x” with what you are working on?
  • What is your timing for “Y”?
  • Have you put a plan together, even an initial one to determine the validity of the “Z” opportunity?
  • Providing you are interested enough to inquire and sincerly would want to participate, you can then ask: Could I play a part in the opportunity you are pursuing or engaged with?

If what I have outlined above seems a bit too nebulous for you, I want you to think about some of the times you have seen opportunities which you noticed, and did not pursue doing something about to take advantage of them.

Perhaps it was an opportunity to go on a trip with some of your friends, and you neglected to ask if you could be included in going on the trip. Or, possibly there was a discussion at work taking place about your department expanding which would create new roles, some of which you would be more interested in taking on the challenge of pursuing. Another example would be talking about how a certain neighborhood appears to be on the edge of becoming a more trendy place to live, and yet is currently a very affordable place to live. Did you think about taking advantage of this opportunity and let it pass you by?

Sure, luck and timing certainly play roles in why some people seem to be able to take better advantage or have more opportunities presented to them, but I would argue it really has to do with them paying more attention to their surroundings.

The next time you are frustrated with yourself or your life or work situation would be the ideal time to practice exercising how to see and leverage the opportunities surrounding you. If you do not do this, you will only continue to remain in what I refer to as neutral gear. From my perspective, why would anyone want to stay in this gear? Live your life at least in first or second gear, and when you really start to take advantage of and having opportunities present themselves, you will soon be moving onto third, fourth and fifth gears which are way more fun to be living in.

Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Strategist and CMO of Market Me TooMarket Me Too has expertise in bridging marketing and sales teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth and revenue numbers, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. We also work with individuals from students to executives and business and sports teams to coach them to learn how to leverage and apply their peak performance talents on a daily basis. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com.

Did you know? My first business book called Wisdom Whisperer, is now available via Amazon, and has been getting five star reviews! Pick one up, or get one for your friend or colleague. I’ve been told this is a great gift, and is also highly suitable for people in all stages of their life and careers. Why? Because the book format is like a buffet, and you can choose to read or not read the topics which suit you best.

It’s all about the now.  Or is it?

I’ll admit that patience is probably not one of my super powers.  To my credit, I do practice being patient, and many people who have worked with me actually think I am patient.

Perhaps I come across as patient, but if I were a duck, you would likely see my feet paddling extremely fast underneath the calm surface of the water. Being, or appearing to be patient can have advantages. In many business situations, it is imperative to come across as steady, yet able to make swift and well thought-through decisions when necessary.

There have been numerous articles written about the power of now, and a book with that very title by Eckhart Tolle extols the virtues of spiritual enlightenment, living in the moment, and not concerning yourself with thoughts from the past.

In the business world, we are trained to both look in our rearview mirror and to leverage this information to inform our decisions. This knowledge will make us more competitive.

When we take the time to slow down and leverage analysis to help with strategic planning, we go against the concept of instant gratification. However, this is absolutely required and usually takes years of experience to do well, or without guidance.

Being strategic about decisions can be a challenge, especially if you’re a newcomer to the business world. It can also be frustrating to those who are driven by our instant gratification society.

We are fortunate to have technology to rely upon to help provide insights into data that even five years ago would have been difficult to obtain or analyze. Reading and interpreting the numbers is skill that is best developed over time. Having instant access can be enormously beneficial, but taking the time to review the information with others more experienced will serve you well.

An example of this would be reviewing your social media marketing investments to determine if they are providing you with the expected results you desire or forecasted. Fortunately, social media is one of the marketing investment areas which can be adjusted in “real time” if the results are not suitable, and this is one example of appealing to instant gratification.

Not all business disciplines are driven by instant gratification, but sales and marketing teams often are. This is fueled by expectations from senior management who either report to a board of directors or potentially to venture capitalists who have extremely high expectations. In both of these instances, time is not on the side of the teams who are on the front lines of performance. There is a great deal of pressure on these teams to perform well, and in the spirit of now.

Depending on how the powers that be manage their team, employees working for them will be captured by a great sense of urgency and potentially a feeling of being under a performance microscope. It is critical that upper management know how to minimize these emotions, as this type of pressure is not sustainable.

Seasoned managers know how to guide their teams through bursts of pressure and show them how to embrace the power of instant gratification in smaller doses. Since marketing and sales teams are typically quarterly driven, they should pace themselves through their performance journeys.

Some people are naturally adept at pacing themselves, but most people need a bit of guidance or coaching, and over sustained periods of time. Having superior time management skills will contribute to making the marathon pace seem less daunting, and allow the team to embrace the concept of slowing down enough to realize they do not need to have instant gratification for every aspect of their work.

Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Performance Strategist and CMO of Market Me TooMarket Me Too has expertise in bridging teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth and revenue numbers, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. She is also the author of a newly published business book called Wisdom Whisperer which is available via Amazon.

Market Me Too also works with individuals from students to C-level executives. The individuals, business and sports teams we work with are coached on how to leverage and apply their peak performance talents on a daily basis.

If you want better results, let’s talk. We know how to help you get them. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com or (339) 987-0195.

Reputation – Do you have one?

Building your professional reputation is literally something you have been doing one day at a time since you joined the workforce. You have also built your reputation one company at a time, one team at a time, and perhaps one project at a time, too. In other words, every company, every person with whom you work, and the projects to which you have contributed are all part of what combines to define your professional reputation.

How you handle yourself in each and every encounter is also a contributing factor that either adds to or subtracts from the value of your reputation. So, what happens if you have built a solid and positive reputation and you do or say something that has a negative impact? Is it possible to recover?

The answer is yes and no, and time, in many cases can work in your favor. Why?  Because most people are more focused on themselves than you, and not everyone will remember all of the details of the incident in question.

It’s probably easy to name several people who have fallen prey to being victims either by self-sabotage or because of another person or group who negatively impacted the perceptions of others.

This is one reason people or companies hire public relations or crisis management firms to help mitigate the damage done to a brand due to a negative incident. Tylenol, Perrier, Exxon and other companies all had major incidents which severely tarnished the brand.

Both time and redrafting their messaging helped restore the brand back to either neutral, or took them out of the harsh spotlight of scrutiny.

Now think about people who have seen their reputation tarnished. It is painful to watch, and even more traumatic to experience.  People find out who their true friends and supporters are in these instances.

The folks who faired best when their reputation took a turn downwards were the ones who had high degrees of emotional intelligence, but more importantly, surrounded themselves with a support network to help to rebuild their personal brand.

Of course, we are all responsible of our own reputations, but having a strong professional support group, can work miracles.

This is possible because the supporter essentially acts as a reputation buffer when the crash occurs. Having these human ‘airbags’ takes serious and quality time to build, but once they are in place, unless the incident was completely egregious, or ethically challenging, most people will be able to play a support role in restoring someone else’s professional reputation.

On the flip side of one’s reputation being damaged is what most people work to achieve. To have a stellar reputation.

As we all know, good reputations are earned, over time.

Since social media can build or break a career, reputations need to be simultaneously guarded, but also nurtured. The speed at which this communication channel moves makes it both positive and negative in terms of having an impact on the professional perception others have of you.

There are safeguards to control some of the negative aspects of social media, but more importantly, the positive attributes should be optimized.  It’s okay to toot your own horn once in a while – perhaps you won an award, earned a certification, or made a significant contribution to a business project, maybe you volunteered time to a worthy cause . . . take a bow, and build your reputation.

Although no one wants to have an incident impact their professional reputation, it can happen. Although the immediate aftermath feels devastating you can recover.  Do not to let it define who you are.

Most people are good by nature, and there are more who will forget what you did than remember what happened, or when. Keep your chin up, do the right thing when faced with tough choices, and most importantly, do what you can to preserve your reputation when you have an opportunity.

Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Strategist and CMO of Market Me TooMarket Me Too has expertise in bridging marketing and sales teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth and revenue numbers, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. We also work with individuals and sports teams to coach them to learn how to leverage and apply their peak performance talents on a daily basis. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com.

Announcement: I will be publishing my first business book next month. Information about how to pre-order my book will be posted on my WordPress site in the next few days. If you would like more details about my book, please send me an email at kathymurphy@me.com . Thank you. – Kathy

Women of Isenberg Conference: The organizers of this conference at the University of Massachusetts flagship campus in Amherst, MA, have invited me back for a second time to talk about my career in Marketing. If you are in Amherst, MA on Saturday, please let me know, as I would happy to say hello to you. This conference is ‘sold out’, so put this as a must attend conference on your calendar in February 2019.