07 Jun Step Out of The Shadows and Own Your Value

In The Shadows

Have you ever looked around you and wondered why a colleague is getting noticed while you seem to be practically invisible? Especially when you have just as much to offer, if not more than them?

Well of course sometimes people are in the limelight for the wrong reasons, but often I would argue that the explanation for remaining in the shadows is that we can’t articulate who we are and the value we add. Once we manage to do this- and confidently assert what we bring to the table – those we are aiming to influence also begin to notice and appreciate what we have to offer.

I love what the founder of ethical cosmetics firm Body Shop, the late Anita Roddick had to say about influence ‘If you think you’re too small to have an impact, try going to bed with a mosquito.’ She was crystal clear about what she was bringing to the world: every one of her products had a story about its natural ingredients, recycled materials, and high-quality ingredients that made a difference in her customer’s lives.

Stepping Out

I’ve explored some ways to find that elusive north star in Discovering Your Value: The Surprising Power of Image, but how might getting clearer on the value you add actually improve your ability to be influential? What’s the link between owning your value and getting noticed?

Clarity

When you really know who you are, you are clearer and more succinct about how you can make a difference. You’ll communicate with more confidence, and that in itself will have more impact and be more memorable. If for example you have a flair for putting people at their ease and understanding their needs, you may be able to explain your critical role in contract negotiations or enabling diverse teams to collaborate. If critical analysis and observation is your thing it could be you’ll be the one to spot Katherine key element of a product that’s being developed. Reflecting on these kinds of specifics will bring energy and authenticity to your message.

Mirror Neurons

Neuroscience is giving us more clues in terms of the impact of confidence on others, as has become clear with the recent discovery of mirror neurons which fire both when a person acts and when he or she observes an action performed by someone else. It turns out that there’s even a subset of mirror neurons whose only job is to detect other people’s smiles and laughter, prompting smiles and laughter in return. Therefore if you communicate confidently in the knowledge that you add value, and you do so in a friendly tone, you are increasing the chances of emotional alignment and enhancing your relationship in the process. Of course, we can’t necessarily spend all of our days laughing, but it is worth reflecting on what happens when you are fulfilled and happy and that will bolster your ability to bring other people with you.

Building Trust

What you do with the knowledge about your value is important too. There’s a great principle expounded in the work of Bob Burg and John David Mann, particularly in The Go-Giver, around what happens when you shift your focus to the other person, with the intention of on adding more in value than you seek in payment or reward. then you will be more influential. It can sound counterintuitive I know, but its all about building the ‘know, like and trust’ factor and in my experience it works. I was recently asked to do some work based on a conversation that took place 12 years ago!

Stretch

And then there is the issue of how we view our potential to grow. Owning your value may change your perception of whether or not you feel capable of applying for a promotion or taking on a bigger project. Some internal research by Hewlett-Packard has found that whereas women only apply for jobs for which they feel they are a 100% match, men do so even when they meet no more than 60% of the requirements. With a more grounded knowledge of what you bring to the table, you are more likely to take risks and stretch yourself.

Questions to take you further

  • What value do you bring to your team / workplace? What would be missing if you weren’t there?
  • How would you articulate the value you bring?
  • What more could you do to build the ‘know, like and trust factor’ to achieve wider influence?

 

Find out more about the work Clare McNamara does with leaders and their teams on influence and authenticity.

© Move Ahead Global 2016

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