What does your personal leadership brand say about you?
If you haven’t thought about it lately, it’s time to think about it now. You know you have a personal brand which reflects your ethics and beliefs. It’s shown in what people say about you when you’re not there. Your personal brand influences every action you take in life and that includes your actions as leader.
How does your personal brand translate into your role as leader? How does it affect the way you lead? What style of leadership do you use? How do your values and beliefs shape your leadership behaviour and expectations? When you answer those questions, you are examining your personal leadership brand.
Why is your personal leadership brand important?
Your leadership brand gives you strength, presence, and the ability to achieve outcomes in harmony with your team.
By developing your personal leadership brand, you control how people see you as a leader. It showcases your strengths and the value you bring to the role and to the company. By understanding your personal brand, you can select projects and approaches that reflect your skills and ethics, so you deliver maximum value.
When you understand your brand, you can enhance it and boost your leadership visibility.
It opens the right doors for you as you advance in your career and reveals the goals you need to focus on to achieve your career desires. It allows you to find personal and professional fulfilment because you understand where your contributions make a difference.
Your personal leadership brand will attract and inspire the right people to your team. You can build sound and trusting relationships with the people you work with and lead, inspiring commitment and boosting their engagement. Revealing your personal leadership branding also reveals your leadership ‘why’ – why you do what you do – and that is the key.
What is your personal leadership branding saying about you?
If you can’t answer that question, how do you know what people are saying about you? How do you know how your company sees you? The way we see ourselves is often different from the way others perceive us. As I’ve said before, “If your teams don’t see you the way you see yourself, there’s a mismatch. Your brand integrity is compromised.” It will be compromised on a personal and leadership level. After all, who would comfortably follow a leader who seems to waver?
If you don’t know what your branding is saying, you can’t control it. It’s time to do a personal leadership branding audit.
How to do a personal leadership brand audit.
- What are the top three values which matter to you personally and as a leader?
- How do you believe those values shape your actions and decisions?
- How do you believe those values reveal themselves in your communications and interactions?
You can do this through formal means like 360 Degree Feedback or talking to people. Make sure to choose a cross-section of people from your manager to your team to the people you engage with during the day. Talk to your colleagues and ask how they would describe you as a leader. What are the keywords people would use about you, and why do they choose them?
Assess your communications.
Reflect on how you share your messages.
- What channels do you use?
- Are they appropriate? Does the message fit with the medium?
- How do you come across in your written communication?
- What do you reveal about yourself on social media or while networking?
- Do you think you are presenting as the kind of leader you wish to be seen as?
- What are you doing or saying to shape the perceptions you discover?
Observe how others interact with you.
Not everyone will be honest with you, but their behaviours or reactions will provide insight.
- Do people listen to you?
- Are your opinions sought?
- Do people come to you for help or advice?
- Are you being offered opportunities as often as they are offered to your peers?
- Do your managers invite your participation in discussions or planning?
- Are your team members confident enough to offer alternatives to your point of view?
- When are you taken seriously and when are you overlooked?
- What might you be doing or saying to create these situations?
Identify and close the gaps
How close are people’s perceptions of you to the personal leadership brand you intend to project?
- What do you do well?
- What are your leadership assets?
- What do you need to do differently to transform an incorrect perception?
- What do you need to do more of?
- What do you need to do less of?
- What skill gaps can you see?
- What personal traits do you need to overcome or to polish?
When you can see the gaps between your current and your ideal leadership branding, you can actively work towards the brand you want to show.
Plan to close the gaps.
- What actions can you take in the next three months? ( e.g., skill development, behaviour change)
- How will you do that?
- What help will you need with these actions?
- How will you communicate your personal leadership brand?
Undertaking a personal leadership brand audit regularly will ensure you are always projecting the best of yourself as you prefer to be known. Are you ready to take this important step? If you need help or guidance, reach out. There are a number of ways we can help.