On this week’s episode of Humanize Your Workplace, we’re joined by Ryan Foland. We chat about all things personal branding. Ryan covers:
- what a personal brand is
- how to build a personal brand
- why companies should support building personal brands of their employees
What is a personal brand?
A personal brand is not just what you want to be known as and it’s not just what other people think about you as it is the intersection between those two. And as you start to acknowledge or accept that you have a personal brand and you are excited about the concept of who you want to be known as you can start to put together the pieces and decide what you want to be known as and then create content and to write new scenes or participate be a guest writer in your own story to then to articulate and share things that are in line with that and it will match up eventually with what people know you as.
How can we build connections with people from different generations?
I really believe that people connect with other people and the fastest way to connect with somebody is to find common ground and if you’ve ever thought of a situation. The more that you help people to expose or share things about themselves that actually show who they are and what their interests are beyond what their job title is, it actually opens up more intersections and more connections with people.
How can we build up the courage to have a conversations with someone we don’t know?
You start small that’s how you start anything as you start small. Starting small could be practicing with your existing friends, it could be calling your brother and sister, it could be warming up to somebody who you found that you have built a slight relationship with already, it could be to a boss, it could be letting people know that this week on was really exhausting and you’re curious like what do you do when you get exhausted like what’s your remedy.
Have you seen any organizations or work with any organizations where they were just doing it exceptionally well and you notice something different about their culture?
I work in higher education at UC Irvine and I can’t speak for the whole campus, but I can definitely speak for the office in which I work and it’s the office of the vice provost for teaching learning. Within there the relationship that I have with my co-workers, my boss and people within that organization it’s a very friendly open supportive environment that is sort of caked into the process by the people who were the leaders in place. It starts with Michael Denin who’s the Vice Provost of that office and he’s known as the approachable professor. He literally has these known YouTube’s words “Ask a Vice Provost”. He brings students and he’s like “ask me anything you want.” So, culture really starts at the top and somebody has to lead by that example. My boss is so funny but at the same time when we have our one-on-ones he really shares some of the stuff that’s going on in his life with his family. He trusts me with that information. I actually feel comfortable sharing with him some of the challenges that that I’m having. These larger issues, but in a private conversation and then now we have this like understanding and maybe he’s a little bit more understanding of me and I’m more understanding of him. When you have leaders that are okay to come down from their pedestal and get dirty and go bowling with you and have honest conversations, I think that’s the start.
Is it ever too early to be vulnerable at work?
Yes, and there’s always a time in place. If you’re an employee in your second day in the job you should be you should be really minding your P’s and Q’s for the first 30 days. I mean you should be really listening more than you’re talking. You should be finding out that the politics you should be understanding the culture so that you can figure out where to fit in. I think sometimes some of the supposed challenges with Millennials is that they might walk in and be like “what are you going to do for me?” I think that at the end of the day like the mentality should be how can I best fit in and support this environment with my strengths and bring everyone up.
How do I build connections at work?
People hang out with and associate with people that have similar interests and at work when you have a conglomeration of a whole bunch of different people from a whole bunch of different backgrounds. It’s not saying you have to mesh with everybody, but you have to give the opportunity to find out who you mesh with. Start small and share some of the stuff that makes you human. It sounds so simple but when you start to practice it, you will feel connected. But you can’t connect with people unless they have something to connect about.
She provides training, consulting, and speaking services to organizations all over the world. She has an MEd in Social and Comparative Analysis in Education from the University of Pittsburgh and is a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach. Her work helps to bridge communication gaps across generations, job functions, and geographies, and she has worked with organizations ranging from non-profits to multi-billion-dollar enterprises. She has delivered a TEDx talk on authentic workplace communication, and has been featured in media outlets including Forbes, ABC, FOX, and CBS. Her book, Humanize Your Workplace (Career Press), is set to release next year.
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