The key for your company to thrive in the post-Covid era is your people’s level of emotional intelligence
Today’s world of work is inevitably changing. We are experiencing massive transformation driven by several factors.
These are only a few of the challenges that are making today’s leadership models a constant quest for the North Star – that firm guide above that will show us how to navigate the unclear and unknown waters ahead of us. One of the most important moments in a leader’s personal growth occurs when, unable to see the North Star, there is nothing left but to look our challenge in the eyes and admit that we don’t know. In today’s massive, overwhelmingly complex world, quick solutions drafted in septic management school rooms simply don’t work anymore. What we need to do is to learn to embrace our own limitedness and vulnerability – our own “smallness.” We need to learn to become comfortable with not knowing. This way we become humble and we open ourselves to viable solutions that might come from places impossible to see before. In today’s world, this is the first step towards genuine individual empowerment.
What comes next is even more interesting. Individuals who know they don’t know and are able to humbly open themselves to new solutions and collaboration become somehow stronger on the inside. This inner force doesn’t allow such individuals not to act – in terms of leadership and communications alike. When you know that the value of what you can offer to the world, of your unique gift that is needed and relevant, you cannot hold it for yourself. You cannot not communicate it.
The question is: what will companies do with such individuals? Will the company – the group, the whole – accept, allow and encourage an environment in which such conscious individualities become engines of innovation? Or will they continue to bet on scale-driven, time-tested structures and processes that will allow them to make a bit more money through size and scope, yet at the expense of innovation, talent motivation, people engagement and genuine service?
This takes me back to my initial question: do people betray their companies when they want to start building their personal brands? The answer is: not at all. Yet before moving forward allow me to make one more essential distinction – between personal branding and self-promotion.
In my understanding self-promotion is the vainglorious attempt of boosting one’s visibility for narrow, individual-only benefits. In today’s social-network-instant-chat-app-driven communication world self-promotion has become dangerously available and scarily potent – as the recent elections in the United States have showed. But can self-promotion stand the test of time in terms of genuine competencies, respect and people trust? No. My experience shows that self-promotion can only take an individual that far. On the other hand, personal branding is the complex process of finding the best in yourself and communicating it with the world consciously, compassionately and consistently for the benefit of everyone involved. This is the major difference between personal branding and self-promotion: self-promotion is for one’s self only, personal branding is putting the best in one’s self to the service of others. A genuine strategic communications process from the inside-out, personal branding cannot resist the test of time unless it is grounded in the deepest layers of one’s personality, competencies, experiences and individual wisdom. Being able to channel all those individual qualities for the benefit of others is a major sign of personal maturity – a sign of leadership. Now you tell me: which company, dealing with individuals who are aware of the best in themselves and willing to put their unique life force and gifts to the service of others, would refuse such an offer?
This post has been first published by the Czech & Slovak Leaders Magazine in my personal column I, the Brand. Republished with permission.