Workplace relationships are critical to any leader's ability to influence and execute against a strategy. The quality of of those relationships rely on our ability to build trust with those we lead and others throughout the organization. Whether we're speaking or not, we're always saying something. The challenge with non-verbal communication is that it's hard to know how it was interpreted! If you're regularly late to meetings, don't call others back when you said you would, or initiate conversation without asking if it's a good time, then you need to keep reading! Personal branding is critical to the success of any leader, but especially for executives. The most common challenge I find that hinders those I work with is an inability, or unwillingness, to be assertive with others. Keep reading to find some simple ways to practice being assertive along with other tips to let everyone know you care.
Whether we’re speaking or not, we’re always saying something.
Don't Waste My Time!
Time is the most valuable resource we have! A willingness to allow your behaviors to waste the time of others is the fastest way to say "I don't care". How can we effectively build trust, create high quality workplace relationships, and influence when our actions say "I don't care"? Learning to be assertive will help greatly with this situation. Often times it's the previous engagement that's causing us to be late, so be assertive and let others know you have another commitment to get to.
I Never Heard Back From You...
If you've heard this from others, then you may need a strategy and system to get organized. If you already have one, then it's letting you down and you may need to change it. A personal branding strategy would help motivate the actions needed to stay organized, but it can wait. For now, just know you need a way to make sure you don't drop the ball. To have influence, we have to build trust, and effective follow-up is a sure way to get this done. Read my recent post on time management for more tips.
I'm Glad You Came to Talk to Me, Because I was Sitting Here Doing Nothing...?
How do you know if it's a good time to talk if you don't ask? Asking before you go on about how the meeting went, or what someone said, is a great way to say "I care". Most people in the workplace are not sitting around doing nothing. This does not mean they're unwilling to talk either, but give them the choice and the opportunity to defer! You'll have a lot of high quality workplace relationships when interruption is not part of your brand. Read this article from Forbes to find more tips on how to manage interruptions.
Most people in the workplace are not sitting around doing nothing.
If you don't already have a personal branding strategy, then you should create one and I'm happy to help with this. Until you have a personal branding strategy, just avoid sabotaging yourself. That said, here are some simple actions you can take to let everyone around you know that "you care"!
- Be on time - This means you have to leave other meetings, conversations, the house, etc. with enough time to make it. Be assertive and let people know you're happy to follow up, but you have another commitment to uphold.
- Follow Up On Time - Call, email, or text when you said you would. Schedule the action on your calendar to remind you and to help with other conflicts that may have been there.
- Ask For Permission - Don't just interrupt, but check with others to see if it's a good time. This is another opportunity to schedule a time that's good for them or maybe check with their admin to get on their calendar.
Consider reading my series on self-awareness and learn how to manage this stuff on your own!