Saturday, August 31, 2013

How to Deal With Confrontation

This isn’t new news, but most people struggle with confrontation. If that’s you, it probably boils down to your very human need to be ‘liked’ by everyone.

Naturally, you want to feel a sense of belonging and when people challenge you and your opinion, or outright disagree with you it can shake that up.

Suddenly you are unsure if this person is accepting, or rejecting you. Suddenly you are not sure if you belong in their little circle or not. Suddenly you feel alone and at sea.

There are a multitude of tactics you can adopt in such circumstances and I’d like to touch on one today.

Let’s start by asking 2 questions:

What is your default position as soon as you are faced with confrontation?

What role do your ‘persecutors’ believe you play?

Thomas Kilmann produced an interesting set of options that you might like to consider (TKI Model) above. Here are the options:

Option 1: Do you back down immediately and effectively run away from the problem?
Option 2: Do you accommodate their wishes and berate yourself for ‘being so soft’?
Option 3: Do you spontaneously challenge them back and go round in circles as you butt egos?
Option 4: Do you look for ways in which you could work together to find a solution?

Consider options 1 and 2 above.

If your ‘persecutor’ has come to think of you as someone who will either run away or back down, s/he will smell blood immediately and go in for the kill. As soon as you compromise, you haven’t got a chance.

If you go with option 3, you’ll be butting heads all day.

Which leaves option 4 as the strongest (and only) path to take. And there are plenty of ways in which you can collaborate.

I don’t want to get into those strategies here – that’s for another time. But what I do want you to consider is which of these default positions you naturally choose when faced with confrontation.

And secondly (and perhaps more importantly) which is the position your ‘persecutors’ believe you will take.

You don’t want to be known as a ‘push over’.

You don’t want to be known as a ‘doormat’.

You don’t want to be known either as a ‘hot head’ who will only ever push back when challenged.

What do you think?

I'd love to hear your thoughts!


Monday, August 26, 2013

The Greatest Myth: To Be 'Resilient', You Must Be 'Unbreakable'

I work a lot in the corporate world and often find that many corporate cultures operate in a dramatically different ways to the rest of the world.

Someone, somewhere along the line introduced this concept that to be 'resilient' at work, you must be some sort of superhero: unbreakable, unbendable and therefore wholly reliable.

Not only is this totally unrealistic, it creates greater problems than it solves.

Resilience differs from person to person and from organisation to organisation. People working in emergency care for example are under very different pressures to people working in a travel booking office for example: their needs for 'resilience' therefore differ enormously.

But whatever your culture, resilience has nothing to do with being superhuman.

Resilience is wholly about three things:

1. Adaptability.
2. Flexibility.
3. Resourcefulness.

The more flexible and adaptable you are to circumstances that come your way the more open minded you will be when solving problems. You will become creative rather than stressed. You will seek solutions and opportunities wherever you can. You will summon new resources because you will be looking for them.

So the next time this word, 'resilience' gets bandied around the office in a rather unrealistic, unimaginative way... get creative. And see what happens.

What are your thoughts about 'resilience'? How do you view it? Is it a 'corporate' word gone mad? How does resilience show up in your personal lives?

Love to hear your thoughts!

Rebecca Wells is a Career and Executive Coach with a specialism in Personal Branding for Corporate Women. She believes that women are phenomenal and add long lasting commercial value to business and yet often struggle to understand their value or believe deeply in their abilities to succeed. Her coaching programs are designed for talented and savvy professional women who simply need that extra push to achieve their greatest fulfillment and success.


Monday, August 12, 2013

How to Establish Your Personal Brand BEFORE Any First Meeting

Your personal brand exists purely in the minds of the people you interact with, be that your clients, managers, recruiters, friends or children.

In the words of Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, "Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room".

When it comes to first impressions in business you have a wealth of tools that you can draw on to help support the image you wish to convey before you've even engaged in your first handshake.

Here are my top 10 tools to build your 'first impressions' personal branding arsenal. Use them to demonstrate your professionalism, value-add and expertise and you're much more likely to build trust and credibility from the start:

1. CV

It's never been good enough to have a drab CV. Thesedays you simply can't afford to be a wallflower; the competition is just too fierce. And a recruiter - or potential employer - sifting through a stack of CVs during her tea break doesn't have the time, or interest, to reach page 3 of your CV to read the juiciest, attention grabbing stuff. My advice? Make your first paragraph count. Cram it with 3-5 high impact statements that really sell your value, and potential value, to your reader.

2. Email address

A big bug bear of mine is unprofessional email addresses. If giving out a personal email address why use, when you can have an address like this: It would be easy for people to make a negative judgment about the first one but not about the second. Simple.

3. Your Advocates

Think about who you want talking about and representing your brand. The referees you choose for your CV for example say a lot about you. If your referee is a CEO a recruiter might think, "This candidate is well connected," or "This person has credibility." Think too about who is talking about you - do they have credibility? Do you want to be associated with them?

4. Your Reputation

What are you known for? If you were to think about the most influential, or well-known people you work with the chances are, some sort of 'value-proposition' comes to mind. Perhaps s/he is a 'go-to' person for something in particular? Or s/he is the most knowledgeable on a specialist topic? What is your reputation built on? What do people think of when they think of you?

5. Your Social Media profiles

You know as well as I do that it matters what you post online. Does your LinkedIn profile truly reflect your achievements to date? Is your facebook profile embarrassing? Are you tweeting endlessly and if so, what are you saying? Are your social media antics beneficial, or a career limiting fiasco?

6. Blog or website

It's becoming more and more common for regular 'careerists' to have their own websites and blogs. Why? Because they're a great tool to demonstrate your expertise and value. And I LOVE that! And even if you've only just started out writing a blog or you have a really simple website, that still tells me you have guts and initiative and helps establish a positive perception of you.

7. Video or audio

If you really want to stand out from the crowd, why not record yourself sharing an idea or opinion about something topical? Video CVs will probably come to replace the traditional paper and online versions so get ahead of the game; you could even post your videos on your blog!

8. Portfolio

A physical portfolio, to showcase your work and ideas, is a tool few people use which makes it highly valuable. If you are in the graphic arts or media industries you may be using one already but if you're in accounting, law, finance you might not have considered how powerful a weapon a portfolio can be. Demonstrate your expertise and knowledge through articles written about industry issues. If you've had these published in trade magazines or on your in-house company intranet, all the better but your unpublished thought pieces are also gold.

9. Business card

Your business card has the power to make or break a first meeting. Your aim is to establish credibility quickly so if your card is bland, or printed on poor quality paper stock, you might want to rethink it. A job title can also help establish your authority or memorability. My friend Ben is owner of the Australian Beer and Wine School; his title is 'Head of Liquids'. Yup - that sticks! If you work for a global organisation and you're stuck with your 'safe' corporate card, help it work harder for you by making yourself more memorable (in a positive way, obviously). There are plenty of ways to do that including...

10. Attire and Grooming
My grandfather always said, "You can tell a lot about someone based on their shoes". Are your shoes scuffed or the heels worn? Are your clothes tailored or hanging off you loosely? Do you need a new hairstyle to freshen up your look?

People notice small things and, in the blink of an eye, will make a judgment whether or not they like, respect or trust you.

How can you use any/all of these tools to help you further your career?   What else have you done to create a solid first impression before you have even met a new client or potential employer?   Love to hear your comments - post them below!   Rebecca  
To learn other tips, strategies and ideas like these, to help you build a powerful Personal Brand and advance your career, you'll love to receive 'PRESENCE', my fortnightly ezine. You'll also receive a copy of my special report, 'The Top 5 Mistakes Women Make On Their CVs'. YES! Subscribe me now!

Rebecca Wells is a Career and Executive Coach with a specialism in Personal Branding for Corporate Women. She believes that women are phenomenal and add long lasting commercial value to business and yet often struggle to understand their value or believe deeply in their abilities to succeed. Her coaching programs are designed for talented and savvy professional women who simply need that extra push to achieve their greatest fulfillment and success.