Looking After Your Professional Image

One of the tools I often use in my workshops is the Enneagram. It is a personality typing system that consists of nine main types, though there is a lot more to it than that so this is a subject I am sure we will return to in future posts.

However, what I wanted to highlight is that, according to the Enneagram, approximately 10% of the population will be Type 3 and that is the type that is focussed upon success and performing in such a way as to achieve it.

Here are the Enneagram Types:

Type 1 – The Reformer: They are perfectionists
Type 2 – The Helper: They tend be involved in helping others
Type 3 – The Achiever: They are driven by the need for success
Type 4 – The Individualist: Usually see themselves as unique and different
Type 5 – The Investigator: Thinkers who tend to withdraw and observe
Type 6 – The Loyalist: They are aware of danger in the environment
Type 7 – The Enthusiast: They are pleasure seekers
Type 8 – The Challenger: They tend to take charge
Type 9 – The Peacemaker: They keep the peace and like harmony

Now this post is not really about the Enneagram. As I said, we’ll return to the subject to do it a bit more justice. What I really wanted to point out was that Enneagram Type 3 (only 10% of the population) is naturally focused upon the attributes of success and doing ‘whatever it takes to succeed’ and just one of those attributes of success is looking after your professional image.

One of the best pieces of advice you will ever receive in relation to this principle is that you should dress now for the position you want. The second best piece of advice I can give you in relation to this principle is: don’t let the importance of that first piece of advice escape you ;).

Each of the Ennegram types tends to be more tuned into a single strategy. They each have a unique paradigm and perspective on life and I think it can be very beneficial to examine each strategy and, if you don’t already make use of it, look at whether or not you think it could be of benefit you.

A number of years back, a lady at one of my workshops confided in me that she had taken this advice to heart and had worked with her husband over the course of a few months on the business of getting his image right. I was visiting the company she worked for a second time when she informed me that he had attracted the promotion he wanted.

The way it works is that by dressing in a certain way, you create a kind of useful disturbance in the minds of those around you. When the opportunity comes to promote someone into the position of manager, if the company has a policy of promoting from within, then key people will advance your case. It is because at the back of their minds, they had always thought of you as a manager. They don’t know why, but you can get that effect going for you, in part, by looking after your image.

So there you go – a simple, but powerful success tip that is derived from the Type 3 personality (Performer/Achiever). Get your professional image right. Think about what that means within the context of the organisation for which you work. There is no universally right image; you need to take into account the organisation norms, but start looking the part and it really will increase the chances of you attracting success.

2 thoughts on “Looking After Your Professional Image

  1. Will Edwards Post author

    Hi Connie

    Professional: pertaining to your profession i.e. your paid employment.
    Professional Image: the image you choose to project whist engaged in your profession.

    It’s not necessarily a bad thing to laugh and joke at work, Depends on what your profession is. Might not be ideal if you were an undertaker for example.

    Good luck with your site and thanks for the kind words.

    Will 🙂

  2. Connie

    No one has answered this question to satisfaction as yet, so I am going to give you a try. First I really enjoy your insights. Working at building my site and you have become a role model for me, so thank you for not giving up.

    Now, could you define professional? I do not get it. Here is why. When I laughed at work, joked with clients, had a great time, I was told I was not professional. So what is it? And who defines it?

    Thank you. Was going to write an article about this, but keep getting lost in the concept.

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