We hear a lot about personal branding these days. But not so much about leadership branding. Why? Because not all leadership gurus know how to do it. And that hurts the leaders they serve. In this article, I’ll walk you through the steps on building leadership branding.
A brand acts as a signal and personalization to consumers. In turn, our brand choices reveal part of ourselves to those around us. Applying that to building leadership branding, it’s all about how people see you as a leader.
But what will a leadership brand do for you as a leader? And how will it improve your business success? Discover how by reading this entire article.
Benefits of a Leadership Brand
If you want to succeed as a leader, you must see yourself as an integral and vital part of the overall business. After all, your employees will listen to what you say and look at how you act as a leader. If you’re not careful, they will adapt the wrong mindset and behaviors.
This is why you must be intentional in building your leadership brand. If you don’t build it for yourself, others will build it for you. In the end, you might not like the kind of brand they build behind your back.
In my work as a speaker and coach to leaders in different industries, I see this time and time again. Leaders are getting bypassed by their subordinates. Why? Because they feel like their leaders are not competent enough. Or the leaders haven't established a strong enough relationship with their team.
This happens when leaders don’t have enough confidence - both in themselves and their abilities. Since they don’t know how to lead and influence people, they resort to authority and use their title as leverage.
By developing your own leadership brand, you can influence people’s perception of you. That means you become more influential in how you walk, talk, or behave. When you have an influential leadership brand, people are more willing to follow you. Aside from that, you can elicit stronger commitment from people.
By working to develop your brand, you become crystal clear about the leader you are and the leader you want to become. To effectively start building your leadership branding, here are 3 steps to guide you.
3 Steps In Building Leadership Branding
Each of these steps are critical when you start building leadership branding. For your own benefit, start going through each step and make sure you’re not skipping one. This can make or break your leadership branding.
Step 1: Identify Your Values
Values are at the core of your individuality and experiences. Identifying your core values means identifying your deeply ingrained beliefs and personality. As a result, you’ll be more self-aware on how you act and treat other people.
People will always follow a leader who knows how to handle everything and understands them. The success of the company always depends on how the leader treats his people. You have to identify your strength and your skills to know how to use them efficiently.
For example, if an issue between your team arises, you’ll need to show that you have integrity and address the issue. Most leaders ignore an issue especially if the people involved are their friends. Because of this, gaps start to develop and other people in your team lose trust in you.
In building leadership branding, your brand must be founded in your values. Because if not, it won’t feel authentic to you. You would feel like you’re only doing things because it looks good rather than it feels right. Identifying your values will let you understand what you need to do for people to trust you and your brand.
Step 2: Define Your Leadership Brand Statement
Your leadership brand needs to be understood by the people your work with. You need to let them know what it means and what they can expect from you. This is why you need a leadership brand statement.
A leadership brand statement is an easy to understand “mantra” that explains what you’re about as a leader. You can use this template:
“I want to be known for being ______ so that I can deliver ______.”
Defining your leadership brand statement isn't just about “feel good” statements. It must be something people can understand and evaluate you from. It must give the audience an impact to catch their attention.
Of course, you can’t expect to get a clear leadership brand statement in just one sitting. You need years of refinement to solidify it. But working on your leadership brand statement now will give you a reminder of what kind of a leader you should be. It’s not a magic bullet, but it will be your guide especially when times are hard.
Step 3: Live Your Brand
Share your mission statement with your colleagues so they know what to expect from you. Be committed to your work and appreciate the trust people show you. You’ll be surprised how much impact that means to your team and your colleagues. Most of the time, it’s enough to make them feel that you’re an effective leader.
As you live your brand, make sure you take time to reflect, learn, and evolve. Your goals and circumstances will change, and so you must continue to refine your brand.
Final Thoughts On Building Leadership Branding
I’ve seen a lot of leaders who know about building leadership branding theoretically. They understand the concept; yet they fail to live their brand. It’s because they didn’t take the time to understand their values and craft a branding statement.
Your leadership brand is, in essence, your reputation. Reputation is the most important asset you have and is the perception about you as a leader and a professional. Your reputation isn’t who you are, but rather what others believe about you.
What’s your leadership brand statement? Share it with us by commenting below!