As we creep into Fall, I think of spooky things like scary movies, ghost stories and frightening haunted houses. I love all of it! It makes me think about one of the scariest questions I repeatedly get from people: I feel like my career is stalling; how can I prove that I’m ready for advancement? My answer usually takes them by surprise: Delegation and personal branding.
That’s not a typo. Hear me out.
Delegation can be a spooky concept on both sides of the table. Leadership may fear handing over control, and rising stars wonder what the difference is between delegation and dumping.
Delegation gets a bad rap – probably because it’s been done so poorly many times. But really, delegation benefits the leader, the rising star and the organization. And all of it is a matter of branding – personal, professional and corporate.
It’s about building a trustworthy personal brand.
When you show yourself trustworthy, capable and dependable to take on a task or project, that, in essence, is selling yourself to leadership. Remember, I preach that every job is about sales – beyond the product, you are selling YOU. You are your own best advocate!
Good delegation is when the work you are given is needed, you know why it’s needed, how you should do it, the expectations and the deadline.
Yes, sometimes the delegated task or project may be a snoozer or not the excitement you had hoped for, but it has a purpose: To help the company to achieve its goals. And in turn, it helps you to achieve yours too. You can easily build those dull delegations into an impressive resume, so when it comes time to self-advocate for that raise, promotion or recognition, you have the data to back it up.
Here is how to use your personal brand to become the trusted person to be delegated to:
- Ask questions. Get clarity about expectations, deadlines, and what success looks like. Ask to see an example from previous work or what the ideal end product looks like in your manager’s mind. Ask about priorities, how the product will be used, what you need to accomplish it, and other details. This will show that you fully want to understand the assignment and that you have an interest in the project.
- Seek advice and expertise. Typically, you’ll get handed a project or task you’ve never done before. Ask the pros for steps, advice, tips, tricks and pitfalls to watch out for. Don’t look at delegation as a sink-or-swim moment – there’s plenty to learn here. And remember, you are selling yourself to all those people that you are seeking advice from as well!
- Share the milestones. Now is the time to overcommunicate. Don’t keep your boss in the dark. Brag on your accomplishments so far in the task. Keep them informed (even if they don’t respond). They need to be the first to redirect you if you’ve stepped off the path.
Here’s how to ask for the opportunity to take on more:
First, one of the most important parts is ensuring leadership knows about your career goals. So often, the people I talk to haven’t shared their aspirations with their boss; they’ve just expected them to know! Tell your leadership about your goals, motivations and passions so that they know how to help you and that they know you want more responsibility.
Second, sell them on the fact that you are ready. Provide real examples of past successes or initiatives. Even if it’s small stuff in your mind, it shows reliability (especially with small details!). Make your case and sell yourself on your achievements and how you’ve gone above and beyond
Finally, ask for the opportunity to show your stuff, then make good on your promise. There’s no better way to grow and reach your goals that to build a powerful personal brand that tells people you are authentic, reliable, capable and trustworthy.
So, take off that Halloween mask and be who you really are!
Need a little help selling yourself? You’re in luck. My newest book, Sell Yourself, is available now!