As a child, you probably learned the Golden Rule, which is to treat others as you would like to be treated. Similarly, there is a golden rule of branding: Treat others well because your brand depends upon it. How you treat individuals is a reflection of your brand.
This may seem very obvious, but often people treat others poorly. You can probably recall many times when you’ve been treated rudely in the workplace. You’re not alone, even though it takes more energy to be rude than it does to be nice.
As an expert in advanced career search techniques and personal branding, I can assure you branding is essential to your career growth. Personal branding is analogous to product branding. The purpose of personal branding is to differentiate yourself from others, including competitors for the same target job. Defining, positioning and managing your brand is a continuous effort. Applying the golden rule of branding to that effort will facilitate your career health.
3 examples of the golden rule of branding
1. Tough times reveal your character
A singular lapse of control will not destroy a brand. However, the way you handle yourself during tough times reveals your true character and helps define your brand. Under pressure, you might unload your frustration on the nearest person, which will harm your brand.
When you are experiencing a difficult situation, assuming accountability for your behavior and not resorting to “the blame game” will bolster your brand as a leader — someone who can handle tough challenges to successful, positive outcomes.
2. Nobody is above showing kindness and respect
Not everyone with a manager title has excellent management skills. Remember, no matter how high you climb the corporate ladder, you are not above being respectful and courteous to others.
That does not mean becoming everyone’s friend. Simply pay attention to your words and deeds so you treat everyone with common kindness and respect. Your behavior and your brand are always on display. As you continue to grow and gain positions of increased authority, more eyes will be focused on you.
3. Courtesy and goodwill are good for you
It feels good to treat others well. Many health studies indicate that those with positive relationships are happier and healthier. The stress of continuous rancor and acrimony weighs heavy on a person over time.
Redford Williams of Duke University Medical Center co-wrote the book Anger Kills: Seventeen Strategies for Controlling the Hostility That Can Harm Your Health, in which he explains how harmful angry feelings can be. It’s not easy being the “office grouch,” and that is not a brand you want to earn.
The bottom line of branding
Follow the golden rule of branding, and strive to treat others the way you would want to be treated. Respect each individual equally regardless of job title or rank. Everyone deserves common kindness, and others will be influenced by your behavior.
Choose to build a brand as a thoughtful, level-headed and courteous professional. On the flipside, in each interaction you can tarnish your brand through callous words or actions toward others. If you haven’t considered this so far, now is a good time to start! Your brand and your career will thank you.