Mastering Your Visibility
I have had some people ask me about the book writing/publishing process and how it works. For me, it has been a four-year journey to get to this point of publishing with The Visibility Factor.
Logistically, it took me a while to get things organized (thank you to AJ my developmental book editor) and figure out what I wanted to include in the book that would help people the most. I also had to become more vulnerable and go through the situations again to share them in a way that people could feel what I went through and experience them.
The hardest part for me was that I needed to go back in time and remember how it felt for me in all the situations that I share in the book. It isn’t easy to do when you have moved past it, but taking that necessary step will help the people with their own visibility journey even more. They will read my stories where I lost my confidence and won’t feel like they are the only ones going through it. They will read client stories and see how they made changes to be more visible that they can relate to.
Going through this process helped me to remember that managers have to do this every day. As a manager you have been through more experiences than your team. It is easy for you to forget that your team may not know the things that you do or haven’t been through those same situations.
How can you help them learn those skills and develop the capabilities that are now second nature for you? You can only be as strong as the team that you have. If you aren’t helping them grow and develop then it will limit your ability to delegate to them and you will be stuck trying to manage everything yourself.
The sooner you can help them take on more, the better it is for you. Help them to get stronger so that you can move on to future roles and opportunities and they can too.
Helping New Leaders Succeed
Think back to the first time you led a team. It may be quite a few years ago now, but can you remember how it felt? For me, I was full of excitement and loved the idea of leading a team. A new opportunity like this doesn’t come along every day and I didn’t want to lose it. I had done so much to prove myself and this was my chance to show my leadership team that I could do even more.
My focus was on the work and the team. I basically continued to do the same things that I did before, but had a title and an office. I thought that I was leading the team, but if I asked them, they probably would have said I was micromanaging a bit. I knew how to get a lot of work done and lead a project team. Leading an organization of people is different. There needs to be a focus on creating a vision, strategy of how to get there, developing the team and giving them opportunities to be visible, influencing others, and creating my own visibility.
All new leaders face these same challenges. What they think the role will be and how it actually is can be very different. New leaders need support to be successful. If you are leading people now you know that every day is dynamic and it isn’t easy. When I coach new leaders, I help them first learn who they are and how they want to show up as a leader of their team. Then we move on to focus on the foundational skills to motivate, delegate, communicate and develop their team. These skills take practice and time to incorporate into the leader’s everyday experience.
If you are leading someone who is new in their role, you may have to be more directive with them until they learn how to do it on their own. Help them learn from your experiences and allow them to attend training if they need it. Recognize that they will need time to adjust to the new role and consistent feedback from you is necessary for their success. Don’t avoid telling them the truth. They can’t improve if they don’t know anything is wrong.
Remember, you have the responsibility to create new leaders. What have you learned that you can share with them? Help them learn how to ask for your help so they can see it as a way to accelerate their learning and growth. How can you expand your own leadership now that you are leading them?
I had some amazing leaders who helped support me through this transition. They took the time to help me go through one of the biggest challenges a leader can face. Where do you see an opportunity to lead, mentor, coach, or support someone in your company so they can reach the same success that you have?
Standing Out from the Crowd
If you want to stand out and be more visible, you have to do the opposite of what others are doing instead. What could you do that plays to your strengths and allows your management to see you in a new way?
One of my clients was tired of being in the shadows all the time and wanted to find some ways that she could do more to stand out. She shared that she had some recommendations that she needed to send to her boss. I asked if she would be meeting with her boss to have that discussion. She said she would, but she would initially send over a presentation in PowerPoint to him for review first. As she talked about creating the PowerPoint she lost all her energy and looked dejected. I asked her what was happening. She said I know PowerPoints are what we are supposed to do, but I really don’t love them. It is a part of our culture to do them though, so I guess I have no choice.
I said, “You want to stand out from everyone else, so if you made a different choice, what could you do that is different to share the information with your boss?” She struggled to come up with any ideas. I asked her if I could make a suggestion. She nodded and I asked if she had considered doing a video for him? She began to smile and said I never thought of that as an option. I offered a couple of easy email video resources to her to try. She said, “Yes, please send over the links to those tools! This is so exciting, I am going to work on this tonight!”
Everything about her energy changed when she learned of another option to try. It is easy to think that you have to do what everyone else does, but you can make a different choice. Do something that will add value to others, show a different side of your leadership, and help others see that you are willing to be unique and stand out from everyone else.
Do you struggle with visibility for yourself or those new leaders on your team? If you want my help, here is the link to set up a time with me for a 30-minute conversation.
Susan M Barber, President of Susan M Barber Coaching & Consulting, LLC, works with individuals, teams, and organizations to build skills that leaders need to attain breakthrough results. Her passion for coaching and leadership development is driven by seeing the transformation of leaders as they reach far beyond their own ideas of success. She continues to drive custom programs for groups that want to make changes in their careers to become more powerful leaders.