Giving a Voice to the Unsung Leader (feat. Dorie Clark)
Leadership looks pretty nice for the Tim Cook and Warren Buffetts of the world. They’re widely recognized for their contributions, and by every account, they’ve attained success.
But what about the leaders who aren’t making headlines? What about the leaders climbing the leadership ladder and making a conscious impact, albeit away from the public eye?
These are the leaders Dorie Clark thinks should be in the spotlight. She believes that in today’s world, unfortunately “the loudest voices are the ones that win and not the people who actually are the best leaders or have the best ideas.”
To correct this injustice, Dorie wants to teach people the skills they need to ensure they’re recognized for their expertise.
She helps individuals and companies get their best ideas heard, “rather than being the tree that falls in the forest because it’s so crowded and so noisy.”
Dorie is a Wall Street Journal best-selling author of several books: The Long Game, Entrepreneurial You, Reinventing You, and Standout, which was named the number one leadership book of the year by Inc Magazine. She has also been named one of the top 50 thinkers globally by Thinkers50 and was recently honored as the number one Communication Coach in the world by Marshall Goldsmith Leading Global Coaches Awards.
In this episode, Dorie shares how she teaches unsung leaders to make their voices heard and the steps you can take to be recognized for the effective leader you are.
Self-Reinvention: How to Play the Long Game
Getting recognized for your efforts and dedication as a leader can feel like an uphill battle, especially when trying to make a name for yourself. Dorie says this happens because “it’s just a lot easier for people to overlook you. But I don’t want people to overlook really talented leaders.”
Dorie has spent probably close to a decade looking into and researching what you need to do to get your ideas heard and recognized.
She’s discovered that “if you’re going to be recognized for your expertise, whether inside your company or in your field more broadly, there are three key components you’ve got to keep our eyes on:”
1. Discover and dedicate yourself to your form of content creation
You need to start sharing your ideas publicly. And it doesn’t always have to be via social media. “It could be writing, speaking, presenting on panels, doing a podcast. Whatever it is, you need to give people a way to discover your ideas. Otherwise, the people who know you will think you’re great, but the world’s not going to discover you. You need to give other people a way to find you, and content creation is that way.”
2. Provide social proof for any and all of your accomplishments
People are always looking for shortcuts. And most of the time, they don’t have time to vet someone. Social proof is basically the quick and dirty markers of your credibility. It’s ensuring that you are visibly credible to other people, so they’re willing to give you and your ideas a chance.
3. Establish and maintain a reciprocal network with fellow leaders
By building a network of people you can learn from and with, you cast a wider net on how far your impact can reach. According to Dorie, to be recognized as the effective leader you are, “you need to be in the conversation. You need people amplifying your ideas. And it enables you, of course, to do the same thing for others.”
By implementing these steps, you’ll see not only a reinvention of yourself but also the outside world’s perception of you. And by consistently working on these components is how you play the long game and ensure sustainable success and recognition.
But what happens if you struggle with content creation, giving social proof, or making time to establish a network? Dorie has some advice for you on that too.
Think Outside the Box
When implementing the three steps above, Dorie suggests some out-of-the-box ways of dealing with internal resistance:
1. Mark yourself as a team player
You don’t have to think of it as content creation. Instead, think of it as being someone willing to share knowledge and not hoard it. For example, if you’ve discovered a new technique, you could volunteer to host a lunch and learn so that you can tell other people how to do it. You could volunteer to write an article for the company newsletter. Or if there’s a communications team, you could have somebody interview you.
2. It’s not all about numbers
Contrary to popular belief, numbers aren’t the only thing that qualifies as social proof. “A great form of social proof would be you won an award in your field, you’re the chapter president of your regional association, you’re the head of a charity board or your alumni association, or maybe you’ve been quoted in publications that people in your field know. All of these things are excellent forms of social proof.”
3. Be a steward of your time
If networking feels too time-consuming, become more thoughtful about how you spend your time doing it. Networking and being present are things that you could easily do in 30 to 60 minutes per week, as a professional. Post a little bit, see if anybody’s sent you a message, maybe scroll through and see if anything big has happened and check it off your list.
Dorie also shares:
- Why it’s okay to start from scratch.
- The benefits of toggling between short and long-term thinking.
- Finding intermediary wins in the face of failure.
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