What do you want people to think of you? Or rather, when people think of you, which image comes to mind?
Is it: “She is nice and always ready to help. ” Uh … that’s nice, but it doesn’t really help you progress in your career. That’s what we think of a good friend, the one that we’ll have a drink on weekends with, but not necessarily the one that we’ll entrust the next important project with.
Is it: “It’s someone who makes projects
evolve”. When you give her a task, you know you can sleep well at night.
She will find the best solution, move past obstacles and make the most of the
teams around her. She will address the problem with pragmatism and achieve a
I assume that you can guess which of these two options will help with your career progression. However, it may not be the image you are projecting today.
So, how can you improve your image?
You have to start by looking for a model, a person whose work you admire and evaluate their qualities. In-house models are, in fact, rarely people whose main quality is sympathy. Generally, they are people who have dazzled us by great skills of work, efficiency or leadership, and who sometimes, in addition, are nice.
It is then the moment to evaluate yourself in the most objective way possible, without useless and counterproductive modesty. More specifically, I advise you to list the qualities that you have in common with your model. Your strengths may be more discreet, less established, not so worked – this may be due to a different or less consequential work experience. In the same way, you surely have qualities that your model does not have and would like to have. The important thing is that they are in us. They might be a little buried or underused, but they’re there!
The second step is to identify your flaws. The method is the same, but this time using people we don’t really appreciate. The other way to do this is to identify the traits that are universally known for having a negative impact. A few examples? Arrogance: what do you think of this colleague who loves to brag about their successes, their exotic vacation, their work exploits, with women, or other things? Another example: gossiping. What do you think of that colleague who’s always the first one to talk about the last office gossip by the coffee machine… it may be entertaining at first, but what image do you have of him? Etc.
This allows you to move to the third step.
The next step is obvious, and you’ve guessed it already… working on personal development. Some people need to get help, and there are amazing coaches for that. Others manage to do it on their own. In my case, I often take a step back to observe my evolution and always try to better myself.
The idea is to stop the bad habits and to work on the good ones. Apparently, it takes 21 days to change a habit. I don’t know if it’s true, because I haven’t read scientific evidence proving it, but being less arrogant, or gossiping less… it’s really not that hard! It gives you more time to focus on the qualities you want to develop.
Once you’ve managed to better yourself, it’s a nice progress, but you shouldn’t forget the fourth step.
It consists of making sure that everyone will see in us these personality traits.
After all, we identify them in other people. Why? In other words, in what ways, vocal or corporal, does our “model” manage to transmit that image?
And we copy it without guilt!
Because there’s nothing wrong with copying a person we admire.
Obviously, you have to copy intelligently, by maintaining your character and personality.
We conclude with the fifth step, which consists of asking colleagues that we’re close to what they think, how they see us, and to keep progressing. It’s important to get feedback, to question your superiors and colleagues, and to find new paths of improvement.
“Magali, when you want things to move, you talk to her, and you know that the problem will be solved”. This is what I want people to think of me!