How Your Behaviors Impact Your Brand

Sheila Murphy
July 7, 2023

When Miranda Priestly from The Devil Wears Prada is in the room, you know that she is confident and in charge. It is not because her LinkedIn profile says it or that she tells a funny story. You know by how she is and acts in the room.

And even though you are not Miranda Priestly, people make assumptions about who you are by how you act and be in the room. If you enter a room late and are overly apologetic and harried, that creates a negative impression. If you are on a call and have to keep asking for the questions to be re-asked because you are multi-tasking, that creates an impression. If you are at a cocktail party and always looking for someone better to talk to, remember people notice this.

And the unvarnished truth is how you act and how you are perceived will impact whether you will be put up for promotion, get hired for a new role, or land the client. It is critical then that you know what people think about you and take, if necessary, the steps to modify the behaviors.

Here are three steps to understanding your behavioral brand and enhancing it.

Step 1. Learn Your Behavioral Brand

It would be best if you started with a Behavioral Brand assessment. You begin by looking at performance reviews to see what insights can be gleamed.

If you have been fortunate enough to have had a 360-degree feedback report done, these are highly beneficial. If not, you can ask your organization if they can do one. If that is not possible, I have done informal ones for mentees and received valuable insights. The benefit of this is that people will sometimes be more honest if they believe their feedback is anonymous. And you want that honest, unfiltered feedback because it is usually the most helpful and actionable.

You also should ask managers, mentors, peers, and clients (yes, clients) for feedback. Sample questions are:

  • How can I be more impactful in the room?
  • What are my leadership strengths and opportunities?
  • Are there any behaviors that impact my effectiveness in... ?
  • What do people say when I am not in the room?
  • What should I stop doing?
  • What should I start doing?
  • What should I continue doing?

The key is to write down what you hear word for word. Do not comment or try to explain. You thank the person for their insights and time.

You then evaluate what you hear with a keen eye on patterns and comments from key stakeholders. You will get gold if you are open-minded.

I have had people learn things such as the following:

  • You are deferential to people you view as more senior.
  • You are not direct in your advice.
  • You are not building relationships during the down times at meetings.
  • You always come off as negative.
  • While building consensus is good, you need to be decisive at some point.
  • You focus on the weeds.
  • Your posture and your body language do not signal confidence.
  • Your presentations are a bit disjointed.
  • In the pitch room, you don’t focus on the right things.

It is often helpful to talk through the feedback with a trusted advisor.

Step 2. Enhance Your Behavioral Brand

Next, you need to develop a plan to implement any suggestions that you believe will advance your career. Now, this is more simply said than done. Because what we are talking about is not just editing a profile—but modifying behaviors which are often habits.

This starts with mindset and believing that you can change these behaviors and it is essential to do so.

I often hear from clients about this feedback:

  • This is just who I am.
  • Does it really matter?
  • You can’t change your DNA.

I am here to tell you it does matter. If people cared enough to say it—it matters, and you need to change it. You need to develop a plan to focus on the behavior and have a way to monitor it.

Remember, as these are often long-ingrained behaviors and habits, you may not change overnight, but you will change. It would be best to give yourself time, celebrate small successes, and give yourself grace when there are back-steps.

Step 3. Circle Back

When trying to change behaviors, often, what people forget to do is close the feedback circle. That is asking some of the people you discussed this with what they see in terms of change. As we are sometimes our own worst critics, we may not see our progress and become discouraged. And yes, sometimes we need to do more. Again, think about the feedback you receive and whether you need to modify anything in your plan.

I also want to mention that it is best to do these reviews periodically as we always have ways to improve. Also, the more senior we become or want to become, the expected behaviors may modify.

Finally, remember... people remember how you act more than what you tell them you are. Invest the time in making a profile propels you forward.


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