Personal Branding for Techies
“Even individuals need to develop a brand for themselves …. Whatever your area of expertise, you can take steps to make people think of YOU when they think of your field.” Accelepoint Webzine
What do people think about people in technical professions? What is the general brand they are labeled? What do people often refer to them as, and what nick names are they given in the workplace?
The general association is one that is aligned to: technical personnel being withdrawn and doggedly focused on their technical assignments; introverts that are more comfortable around their machines and technical gadgets that around people; people more focused on finding technical solutions that holding discussions to look at the general viewpoint; and people that are more likely to be found at their desks or work bench working on ‘something technical’ than participating in team activities.
Are these assumptions true? Is this the personal brand that technical people carry with them? Is this true of all technical people across the organization chart from leadership to entry level? Have these perceptions that shroud techies been around for so long that they have now become almost ‘true’?
Are you a techie? Is this a near description of you? Are you happy with it? Does it inspire you? Would you like to continue being batched in this lot, or would you like to step out and create a personal brand with a different story line?
Well – the choice is yours. Creating a personal brand is a deliberate choice and every techie needs to make a powerful choice about the brand they desire to be associated with. Naturally technical people are admired and respected because it is deemed that they are scientifically aligned, and over the years admiration of science based elements have taken precedence over the arts. Whilst the world is currently trying to correct this notion and to find balance, techies do have the advantage of starting from a higher point in terms of the assumption of technical competence.
It is paramount to first find out what personal brand you already have and to assess if it is in line with what you desire. This is best done by requesting colleagues that you know would be candid, to provide you with a list of your strengths and areas for improvement, and to advise what they really like about you and what they find displeasing. Make a make a list of the areas you would like to work around and create a plan of action to ‘undo’ those. This will take deliberate effort and it is important to persist and not give up. Another important exercise to undertake is to retreat and craft your personal vision, mission and non-negotiable values. In the very same fashion that organizations do, and with the same seriousness that they take this exercise. This will provide focus and direction, and provide a compass to guide the activities you undertake as the yardstick by which you will measure ‘best fit’
Seek regular feedback on your performance and be receptive to really listening, and not being defensive. Celebrate your milestones and keep going. Remember that formidable brands are built over time with effort and consistency, and the same applies to personal brands. There may be hills and valleys on your path to building the brand of your dreams, but don’t give up. It is important to keep your eyes on the prize and be deliberate about your steps. An excellent ‘technical personal brand’ awaits you. Proceed right away and create it!
Many Engineers and Technical specialists fight against learning Soft skills like work ethics, communication skills, problem solving, time management, personality development and planning skills, because they feel that the profession is more of technical than social thus the resistance. They do not quite see the need to have these skills and attributes leading to a distinct lack of interest in this area. The best thing though with regards to soft skills is that one doesn’t need qualifications to get them and Engineers can start working on them at any level of their career path. Soft skills play an important role in differentiating potential candidates for employment or advancement.
Soft Skills Training helps Engineers develop their personalities as leaders, team players, mentors, work place champions, teachers, negotiators and motivators, that constitute a very important component of success. Viscar having worked with engineers and technical teams as a key area of focus, have a wide range of soft skills training programmes that enables engineers sharpen their skills and take individual and collective responsibility for success. Image and etiquette for business success, although dismissed by techies as a secondary, is a key area for attention that would propel personal and career advancement.
Emotional intelligence and self-awareness, including body language and personal presentation is essential for Engineers. These communicate a lot even before one speaks, as understanding the effect of one’s appearance and behaviour one has on others is one of the best personal skills to have. Communication skills help Engineers to be courteous and helpful with colleagues and customers on email, in person and on the phone, including speaking up when there’s a problem. Engineers will often be required to communicate with other engineers and with co-workers from different departments, as well as with upper-level management. Non-Engineers have no idea of the technological concepts in the workplace so there needs to be a clear and fine way of communicating to them. Communication and teamwork therefore enables Engineers get on with the people they work with.
Engineers often have to work with a large group of people due to the size and complexity of the projects they undertake. For example, when designing a transformer for high voltage transmission lines (those metal power lines you often see running along highways), it takes more than one engineer to complete the project. It requires a team of engineers and other professionals―drafters, project managers, and administrative staff―working together and potentially interfacing with clients, regulatory agencies, subcontractors, and even public advocacy groups. Soft Skills therefore play a big role in helping Engineers develop leadership skills to improve teamwork, creativity, efficiency and productivity. Improvement of presentation skills to enhance sales, project explanations, self-confidence, relationship development, ability to recognize stress symptoms and develop stress deflecting strategies are just but a number of benefits accruing from enhancing one’s soft skills..
Engineers need and must be able to do more than just technical tasks. The world is becoming more and more demanding in terms of having holistic professionals who can adapt to different situations and manage different roles. Engineers must not be left behind. As an engineer or technical person, please ensure that you seek avenues to improve your soft skills today!
Personal Branding for Techies