WORKING women often think about taking control, but being brave enough to do it is a different story, says Mosima Selekisho, a director at Signium Africa previously Talent Africa, a South African-based executive search and talent management company servicing sub-Saharan Africa.
"Perhaps the most crucial realisation is that you can't control your work environment and others in it unless you first control yourself," she says. "You take charge the moment you take a good look at yourself and decide what your strengths and weaknesses are and what needs to improve.
"In recent years, an industry has grown out of that yearning for a better you. The process is called 'personal branding'. You can buy books on it, download how-to information on it or pay motivational speakers to talk you into it."
The tips, steps and suggestions will change, depending on the "expert", but common themes are apparent, she says.
"One is the need to put things down in writing. Wishing won't make it so; striving will. First you need to know what you're striving for. Write it down. Formalise the vision. Spell out your great expectations."
Brand-building techniques help you reach the dream by giving you a stepbystep method of making a new start, she says. "I've watched women in leadership roles embrace the personal branding process — or something very much like it — and make it work.
"Individual styles differ but, without exception, these women are smart enough to realise that knowledge is power. They therefore set out to become extremely knowledgeable. They never stop learning. They read constantly They complement indepth industry, product and professional knowledge with general knowledge. These women know their stuff."
Selekisho says that willingness to share is another characteristic of this type of personal branding. "Successful women executives don't hog knowledge. They share it around. They give their time as well as their insights. They encourage others. They remain approachable."
These women are solution givers, she adds. "Some are known as great mentors as well. Even when they don't have a formal mentor-mentee relationship with a subordinate, they still take time to encourage and help."
"They don't try to be 'one of the boys' by joining in the jokes about hormonal or emotional women. They know that being in touch with your emotions means you're in touch with your market — because most buying decisions involve emotional reactions."
In fact, emotion influences most decision making, she says. "Emotion shows that you care. You're Mosima Selekisho, a director at Signium Africa previously Talent Africa. not cynical. These women are not afraid to show empathy It doesn't stop them contributing to solutions and meeting corporate objectives."
Selekisho says the payoff for these methodical personal brand builders is the image they create of someone who delivers and makes a difference on the factory floor, at the strategy sessions and in the boardroom.
"These women live the image. Their behaviour is consistent not just for weeks, but for years. This takes control.
"Personal control of your actions and your career will give you control of your destiny not just during Women's Month, but for the rest of your life."
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Written By: Mosima Selekisho
For more Information about Mosima please view her team profile here
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