Building your Leadership Brand!
This Article is Published at Silicon India Magazine
Have you ever thought about that? As a leader you are communicating all the time; as people constantly perceive your action and inaction. Whether you like it or not you are building your legacy with every interaction with others. I call this, “Legacy in Construction”.
So the question is what kind of legacy you want to create? In fact, that’s the Leadership brand you are creating knowingly or unknowingly. So the question is what kind of Leadership brand do you want to create?
Building a Leadership brand takes time and effort. It’s a deliberate attempt and can reap long term benefits. Creating a Leadership brand and living that brand is completely different. One can let the Leadership brand build on its own or you work hard to build it.
As you know, companies use brands to communicate the essence, purpose, and value of their goods or services to their stakeholders, who can range from consumers and customers to current and future employees and regulators. These brands create an image in the mind of the audience which in turn evokes certain thoughts and emotions. It represents a promise to your stakeholders.
Just like a company brand represents the image of a company, a Personal Leadership Brand embodies the impact you have on your followers and stakeholders—the emotional experience that comes from working with you.
Brand is the perception in the eyes of the 'We' holder. Its not about what we think about ourselves but it is about how people perceive you and therefore its not about your ‘identity’ but your reputation. Identity is what you think about yourself and Reputation are the judgments made by others about you. I have seen leaders often worry about what they think about themselves rather than keeping a check on how their actions are perceived.
Although you convey your leadership brand through daily interactions, you may not be aware of how others see you. Crafting a leadership brand helps you to become self-aware of the leader you are today and the leader you strive to become. It’sstrategic. Like a product, your leadership brand embodies the impact you have on your followers and clients.
Lot of people hesitate to work on consciously building their brand as they find the exercise very artificial or don’t spend time on it or simply don’t know how to begin.
Its not as difficult as it sounds to be. Start with your brand statement.
A strong leadership brand is more than a statement. It’s the symbol of who you are as a leader, what you do, and how you do it, from the perception of others. It evolves over time through your interactions with others as a result of the behaviors you exhibit.
‘I want to be known for ……….. ‘ (your value) ‘so that I can …………’ (your Purpose)
Values and purpose tend to be timeless, but as you evolve in your experiences, and career, how you demonstrate them will change.
Paraphrasing the words of thought leader Simon Sinek, your purpose is your why, the cause or belief that gets you out of bed every day and that truly inspires you to do what you do; it’s the incentive beyond a paycheck that keeps you committed to doing your best for the company, for yourself, and for those around you.
Examples of some Leadership brand statements –
I want to be known for being a results-driven leader with high standards for myself and my team, so that I can develop others to think independently and perform at their peak.
‘I want to be known for having a character of commitment, ownership, humility, and integrity so that I can step up to a broader role and make an impact in my organization and on my future.’
Thus, creating and living your Leadership brand statement helps in articulating your values and purpose, builds your confidence and helps you create an impact on the people and environment around you thus leading to a high recall.
It will be a good idea to craft your brand statement and keep refining them by seeking feedback. This will help you work on how you want to socialize and more importantly live your brand in your day today action.
As a next step, I suggest you identify two Brand coaches who can help you on this journey. Ideally, one from within the organization and the other external.
Just like we know that in communication and marketing, for a brand to work, people must know about it. For your Leadership Brand to be effective, it’s no different: You have to declare it, socialize it, and publically live it.