Why do People Think She’s Really Busy and I’m Not?
Yesterday I delivered training to a group and two women were sitting next to each other in the course. One asked “why do people in the business have a perception that she’s really busy and I’m not? I have so much to do but people don’t think I have anything on my plate so they come to my desk, chat and interrupt me all the time.”
This was a great question and it all comes back to branding and expectations.
Three things are happening here. People either
- want to socialise an idea
- need to dump something on you “while they think of it” so they can get it off their plate and onto yours
- to get your input.
If you’re feeling like this the solutions are:
1. Take Control of the Clock: When we have an empty calendar and are sitting in the inbox all day responding as soon as someone sends an email, they think that we are available and we don’t have the strength to prioritise ourselves. We are driven by fear of either losing our jobs if we’re not responsive or not being liked because we can’t say no. The perception then becomes that “you’re available to help me at any time so I don’t need to manage my time”. Create time for yourself to get work done uninterrupted. Turn your phone off and focus. You can call people back later when it suits you. We need to train people in how to treat and respect us.
2. Choose your visibility: Remember visibility comes with face to face and online. Going to every meeting can mean you look busy, others not. If you take the time to listen and are the person yielding in every conversation you’ll look like you’re not very busy and can take on their issue. Lead the conversation be it online or face to face. If your calendar is visible everyone can see it. If you stop and chat and are friendly to everyone it can give the impression you have time for everyone.
3. Pace: if you are not working ahead people can perceive that you are either too slow or don’t manage your time well. Effective people manage their time by getting others to fit in with them and taking the lead, not the other way around. We can help others out here and there but that is ideally only taking up no more than 10-15%% of your time.
4. Be mindful of what confidentiality does to your brand: When you work in a role where you can’t talk about your work due to confidentiality it can seem like you don’t have much on. This means you need to manage your presence and brand more consciously and amplify what you want more. Either brand yourself or the market will brand you.
This might sound tough-minded but when you’re starting your day at 5pm when everyone has left something needs to change. Hard work alone is not going to get us anywhere any more. By managing others’ perceptions and therefore expectations we become more effective, have greater impact and achieve more of what we want.
Love to know your thoughts.
Jane Anderson is a Speaker and Author who works with Sales Managers, Marketing Managers, Thought Leaders, Experts and CEO’s to leverage the expertise of their talent through LinkedIn.
She is the author of 4 books including “EXPERT to INFLUENCER: 12 Key Skills to Attract New Clients, Increase Sales and Leverage your Personal Brand to Become an Industry Leader.”
To inquire about Jane’s Women with Influence mentoring program, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or click here.