Understanding Your Leadership Brand
“What is your leadership brand?”
My client was stumped when I asked this question during a coaching session. I then gave examples of how when we think of Apple, we think of innovation or when we think of Volvo we think of safety or link Facebook with connection.
“I have never thought about it. I don’t think I have a brand.”
Most of us don’t think about our leadership brand or make efforts to craft our brand like Apple, Volvo, or Facebook. We think we don’t have a brand, but on the contrary we do whether we like it or not.
Our leadership brand speaks the loudest in how we treat the relationships around us at work. When a leader insists on their way of doing things, they are seen as domineering and difficult to work with. When a leader checks in regularly with their team members for coaching, they are seen as caring and supportive.
Another source of information on our leadership brand is our working style and behaviors .Are we meticulous, strategic, charismatic, influential or are we inflexible, lack integrity, harsh or conflict avoidant?
If you were not in the room, what would people who work with you say about you?
Very likely, you will be very surprised to hear what these people would say. This shows that what you think is your brand, may not be what your actual brand is. Your leadership brand is important in defining your experience, skills, and way of working – in other words, your value proposition and how you can use your leadership brand to influence and impact your field of expertise.
Your leadership brand plays a crucial role in your career development and growth; therefore, it is important to establish your brand as early in your career as possible. This is because building one requires purposeful intention, focus, discipline, and time.
A leadership brand is one that can be based on your current role, a future role you hope to be in or how you want to be known in your field of practice.
Here are 5 steps to help you craft and establish your leadership brand.
1. Gather Feedback
The information must be from trusted sources. These can be your leaders, managers, mentors, peers you work with and direct reports. This is a valuable opportunity to ask about your strengths, areas of development and how they see you as a leader. You can also include feedback from organizations you have previously worked in or even from one that you volunteer outside of work.
2. Identify Personal Values
Values are what powers you from within. Your values must be aligned with your leadership brand in the way that they are expressed. If you value integrity, you are someone who does what he says and says what he does. A leader that everyone can trust. What are your top 3 personal values? How are these expressed in the work you do? How will these values help you grow as a leader?
3. Do Gap Analysis
If the feedback and values do not match, do a gap analysis, and reflection why this is so. If you value honor, but your feedback is telling you that you are not as reliable, then do a deep dive into the why. This is important in understanding the gap so that you can understand and adjust your behaviors and thus, your leadership brand.
4. Create Action Plan
Next is to create tangible goals and an action plan that will help you close the gap. Share your goals and this plan with your stakeholders and trusted sources. Seek their help in giving you feedback as your work to tweak your leadership brand into one that you aspire to have.
5. Do Regular Reflection
As you move through your career, your work on your leadership brand is always on going and iterative. Do create space and time in your life to reflect on your brand and career development. This will help you to continuously adjust and tweak for greater success.
By being aware of your effect on yourself and others with constant evolution, you will be able to ride the changes and challenges as a leader. With your leadership brand as your guide, your journey will be one of fruitfulness and fulfillment.
If you would like to speak to one of our BOLDLY coaches to help you establish your Leadership Brand, connect with us: firstname.lastname@example.org.