What’s your brand?
Whether we like it or not we all have a brand. We all present in a particular way and leave an immediate impression on those around us. Even though few of us are marketeers, how we are perceived internally and externally as leaders is critically important to how we succeed.
Start with some self-awareness and form a view of how you think you show up. Do you like how you view yourself? Do you feel comfortable with how you think you present? Are you authentic? Do you think your style and approach get the results you want?
Then ask around, get some feedback, examine your appraisals, ask your friends and family. Is there a gap between how you think you are perceived and what other’s really think of you? Is the difference a good thing or a bad thing? Try to make sense of any overlap. Are there things you want to change to make you more effective; what are “red lines” that you can’t or just won’t change because they are in conflict with your values?
If there are things you would like to change then test them out; start small but always test and learn. Again, ask those around you who you trust what they think. The truth is we all need to be active in how we manage how we are perceived, both within our organisation and outside. Whilst we shouldn’t over compromise, we can nurture how we are perceived over time and bring more of our desired self into our personal brand.
Often it can be helpful to try and articulate what your personal brand is. Having clear grasp of this can be useful in an interview, when meeting people for the first time, and also when you are building a team. Whilst we can’t always surround ourselves with people like us (nor should we), the self-understanding of our brand can enable us to get the right blend of personalities in the groups we lead.
So, don’t underestimate your brand; nurture it and be deliberate about it. It’s a powerful force, so use it to support you as you grow and develop your leadership style.