Discover more from Spark
What is Your Leadership Brand?
How to stand out, not fit in.
In your formative years, you are often taught how important it is to fit in.
Yet in leadership and business, it is often what makes you stand out that determines your success.
How you behave, how you interact with others, and the reputation you have is unique.
But it can be difficult to put a finger on what it really is that makes you different as a leader and identify how to lean into it.
Whether you recognize it or not, you likely already have your very own leadership brand. Your brand, in very simple terms, might be expressed as ‘what you are known for’.
It is how others see you and what makes you, you.
Even if you haven’t branded yourself, others may well have.
The challenge is that it is common to be thrust into leadership and develop your style iteratively in response to the experiences you have.
But you can make a conscious choice to develop and hone your brand in the direction that you want and take intentional action to become the leader that you want to be.
An identifiable and positively perceived leadership brand offers huge career benefits. It can enable access to new opportunities, influence and engage those around you, inspire action, and deliver results.
However, when a brand is perceived as negative, it can close off opportunities, drive talent away and reduce your credibility.
There’s no such thing as the ‘right’ brand. Even within the same industry and business, great leadership means different things to different people.
So, to help you reflect on what makes you the leader that you are here are six tools to strengthen your leadership brand strategically:
Meantime if you enjoy this issue hit the 💜 button so more leaders can find it.
Audit: We all have positive and negative (mis)conceptions about ourselves and our impact on others. And your brand isn’t just about you. In fact, a common misunderstanding is that branding is a one-way street. The most successful brands consider their audience and their insight and use it to help them build on their strengths and what works.
To build your awareness of the way you lead and the way in which those around you (your audience) perceive you as a leader, talk to them and ask for their insight. (If you have a coach they will often do this on your behalf to help get honest feedback).
Ask those you trust the following questions, and write down their responses:
What three words describe me best?
What three words describe my leadership style?
What three things do I do incredibly well?
What stands out about me and my leadership style?
Craft: Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon famously stated that “your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room”. Take inspiration and think about what you want people to say about you.
How do you want people to feel following an interaction with you?
What do you want to be known for?
What qualities would you like others to attribute to you?
Create: Knowing who you are and want to be as a leader is good, but it’s not nearly sufficient. Your actions and choices every minute of every day need to be aligned with your brand. You are what you do; not in terms of your job title, but your actions and choices and how you operate. Everything you do, every day, conveys a message.
What opportunities are there to convey more of your leadership brand today?
How will you let your leadership brand statement guide you during times of high pressure and stress? What will you do?
What or who can hold you accountable?
Communicate: There are often times when we need to describe our leadership approach to others. Think about a situation where you are hiring someone new for your team, how would you describe your leadership style to them?
What examples could you give to bring it to life and help them grasp your approach?
How has the way you lead been shaped through your career?
What’s your leadership story?
Once you’ve taken a look, complete this sentence:
“I want to be known for being ______________ so that I can deliver __________.”
Long Read: Dorie Clark describes personal branding as career insurance. Her book Reinventing You provides a step-by-step guide to help you assess your unique strengths, develop a compelling personal brand, and ensure that others recognize the powerful contribution you can make.
If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to receive the next issue straight to your inbox