Hospitality Leadership Series On ‘Professional Visibility’: Relatability


Seasoned executive search professionals and human capital advisors, Thomas Mielke and Andrew Hazelton, share their thoughts on achieving ‘professional visibility’.

Is Your Personal Branding Grounded In Relatability?

Following our announcement last month, as part of a new “pulse” leadership mini-series, Aethos™ is taking a closer look at ‘executive presence’. The purpose – to draw each and every reader’s attention to its own level of self-awareness and for everyone to critically ask themselves: “What are the competency sets which help me stand out from the crowd?” and “Which attitudes and personal habits should I hone to elevate my profile in the industry?”

To kick-off this series, Aethos™ investigates what it takes to be visible in the professional market place and suggests that ‘visibility’ is only worth something if it is tied to ‘relatability.’ If people cannot connect with you, or have difficulty in ‘reading you,’ you will not be able to leverage any professional visibility that you might have.

Gaining professional ‘visibility’ is about more than simply being noticed by the right people. Equally important, if not more so, is the ‘vibe’ one projects when interacting with others. In this context, there are critical differences among being accessible, approachable or relatable.

  • Accessible is nice, but this often boils down merely to being tactically available to a team, i.e., a willingness to be responsive or reactive to the needs voiced by others.
  • Approachable is a bit better, because it advances the previous idea by implying a leader who exhibits a ‘welcoming’ attitude to others. Teams may not automatically feel comfortable going to an accessible leader, but they are comfortable engaging with an approachable one.

But as wonderful as it sounds being approachable, this characteristic does not guarantee a leader’s sense of empathy or true understanding of others. And, so enters the concept of being relatable. Unlike the other two attitudes, this particular quality reflects a striving to proactively connect with and support others. Guess which of these three attitudes power-brokers most value when assessing candidates for mission-critical roles?

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