What does a business social network mean to you? If you don’t have a clear answer to that question, it’s probably a good time to start thinking about it. Like it or not, you’re a part of a social network – whether you’re self-employed, a senior executive, or an entry level staffer – and how you interact with it is either helping or hurting your career. If you want to receive promotions, raises, and all the other benefits that go along with growing your career, understand that you have to add value to the social network you’re a part of. How do you do that? It comes down to your personal brand.
Building an effective personal brand starts with being trusted (see my first article in this series to find out more). Contributing to the network in a positive way means doing your job, and doing it well – the people you work with, and for, have to be able to rely on you.
The next step is becoming known (the subject of part two of this series). Doing your job well is key, but so is having a connection with people who notice you. Having a lot to offer doesn’t help you much if no one in your network can identify you as a contributor.
However, even if you’re trusted and well-known, there’s another important question you have to answer. Do people actually want you for the job? If so, then it’s safe to say you’re already respected. If not, then you have some work to do.
So, how do you go about getting respect from within your network? First of all, it takes integrity – you have to follow through even when it’s not convenient or fun. Secondly, you have to be confident. People who are “wishy-washy” might perform well at their job, but they won’t command respect; instead, they’ll be taken advantage of. Finally, you need to give what you want to get – respect. Even when you have everything else going for you, treating people like objects or giving them the cold shoulder will get you nowhere.
If you’re honest, confident, and respectful, then you’re on track to make a big impact within your network. You’re the type of person that people look forward to working with because you bring out the best in them. When you embody these qualities, you’re not just helping yourself; you’re supercharging the entire network, bringing energy and a sense of purpose to the people around you.
Making it Happen
Sometimes you might feel like you’re doing all the right things, but not getting results. When you know you have the potential to make a big impact on your social network, but something is holding you back, how do you find out what it is? First of all, realize that just because you’re not respected now doesn’t mean you can’t be in the near future.
Now is the time to take a step back and re-evaluate your commitment to yourself. How well have you thought out your personal brand? Chances are you’re holding yourself back due to a lack of confidence about where you want your career to go, and how you can get it there. Being respected is all about being the best version of yourself that you can be, so if you’re not fully committed to what you do, you aren’t adding nearly as much value to your network as you could be. When you are your best you, you’ll help the people around you accomplish more, and that’s when you’ll see new growth in your career.