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Expectations Play a Big Role in Personal Branding

Aha Moment: Managing your personal brand goes hand-in-hand with managing others’ expectations.

Life is full of expectations.

It’s so automatic that you don’t even realize it.

When you put your key into the ignition of your car and turn it, you expect that your car will start.When you turn the knob on your sink, you expect that water will come out.

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It’s no different with your personal brand.

With an awareness of your personal brand comes an awareness of what others expect of you.

Being “under-expected”

To be under-expected is to not be known or expected to do or achieve something that you know you have the capability to do or achieve.

When you’re under-expected, you’re also undervalued, underestimated, underrated, undermined, and often underpaid.

The bottom line is that when others under-expect you, they’re telling you that your personal brand doesn’t have the value you think it does.

Here are a couple examples to illustrate the point:

  • Mr. Smith is a technical person who missed out on a top leadership position because, though he had the necessary skills and was perfectly capable of doing the job, he wasn’t perceived, or expected, to be able to perform in that capacity.
  • Miss Baker is an extrovert. She’s gregarious and is always ready to give her opinions during meetings and any other time she deems it valuable. Miss Moore is quiet and introverted. She has good ideas but doesn’t share them. Miss Moore would be a better fit for a promotion, but it’s given to Miss Baker because Miss Moore isn’t vocal enough for anyone to be aware of what she can actually do.

Wear multiple hats

You are the one who should be informing others’ perceptions of your brand and therefore, their expectations of you.

If you’re skilled in multiple areas, make sure that the strengths that will help you get ahead in your workplace are on display when it counts.

Here’s how it’s done:

  • Self-assess. What are the skills you have that you want people to know you have? What skills do you have that people don’t know you have or expect you to have? The answers to these questions will help you figure out the steps you need to take in order to create your brand.
  • Be vocal and strategic when pulling out your other hats. Find opportunities to showcase those unknown and unexpected skills. If you’re a numbers guy but you also have a knack for marketing, be sure to mention your skill in that area when conversing with others or via email, for example.
  • Brand yourself. Use your elevator speech to give yourself a tagline that people will remember you for. Tie it to a skill they don’t think you have. You may be surprised how effective this strategy is in changing people’s expectations of you.
  • Take advantage of professional social media forums and groups. Take time to comment on various LinkedIn groups to show that you’re skilled in a variety of areas. Involve yourself in forums for your other unexpected skills. You can even join groups within your own company that are specific to your other skills. Find ways for you to be seen in a different light, wearing those different hats.
  • Find or create your own opportunities. Align with people, projects, or departments that are connected to your alternate skills. Give people exposure to the various hats you’re capable of wearing.

Take the reins and craft your brand so that it expresses the vision you have of yourself and your skills.

You have the power to ensure that what others expect of you is exactly what you’ll deliver.

What other hats do you have the capability to wear? What can you do to craft a personal brand that reflects those skills?