Last week I worked with a group of 35 female leaders from a university where I delivered the “Your Leadership Personal Brand” Workshop. In the session, each person had the opportunity to see themselves through the eyes of the rest of the group to identify their personal brand.
One of the participants, Penny (not her real name) shared with the group that her brand was identified by the group as being a “team player.” She said whilst it was true, she felt like it devalued her as a leader. She said one of her challenges at work was being the person in the team who always got things done and worked well with others. She felt like some tasks were dumped on her and as a result, it was hard for her to shine as a leader. She said that if she were to really step up and be known as a leader this “brand” was not going to elevate her.
So, we worked through what the elevated version of “team player” was. And the word she came up with was “collaborative.” She felt like it was far more reflective of her potential, a great leadership quality to have and still felt authentic to her.
What is a Leadership Personal Brand?
As Jeff Bezos says, “our personal brand is what people say about us when we’re not in the room.” It’s how we’re remembered, how others see us and what we’re known for. Opportunities come our way and we’re referred to people for our expertise. The power is that we have the ability to make a conscious choice about our personal brand so that it creates positioning and influence as a leader.
When you elevate your positioning from team member to leader you may feel like you have a new pair of school shoes on and that they’re the right shoes but you need to grow into them. The risk is that you might feel like the imposter and that they’re a little big right now. The fear may kick in that you’re out of your depth, that you might get found out that you are an imposter.
Whilst this isn’t always true the first step towards feeling congruent when levelling up your leadership brand means you need a positioning plan. Positioning is about how your community and customers see you, and to create a powerful positioning, we choose the word that will most elevate you. Al Ries, the author of “Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind,” said “The essence of positioning is sacrifice. You must be willing to give up something in order to establish that unique position.”
I also often think of the Michelangelo quote when he created David, he said: “I just removed everything that wasn’t David.”
Some of the steps in your Leadership Personal Brand positioning plan could include:
- Read and be across the books and blogs in what you want to be known for
- Identify projects and opportunities to help you be known for this
- Find an expert or mentor who is known for this word and get to know them
- Share your ideas and knowledge via updates and posts on your intranet or social media
- Present a case study or share your expertise at events
- Mentor and teach others how to learn this skill
- Gain testimonials and recommendations from people who say you have this skill
- Update Your LinkedIn profile to ensure it contains these words
- Contribute to a publication or write an article for an industry magazine on how you do this skill
What have you done to elevate your leadership brand in your workplace or industry? Would love to know what’s worked for you or which step you will take to elevate yours!
Jane Anderson is a Leadership Communications expert, speaker and the author of 7 books including the upcoming “Catalyst Content.” With over 20 years of experience helping people to communicate confidently, she is obsessed about creating human connection to drive business growth in a world of disruption and automation. To inquire about her working with you or your organisation please contact us here.