Let me introduce you to your best leadership self…
If I were to ask you what your top five values are, would you be able to immediately tell me? Could you tell me without searching in your drawer for that crumbled values exercise you did at that fun leadership offsite two years ago?
And better yet, if I were to ask you what you specifically do to live your values, could you tell me?
If you had gone through a rigorous exercise of developing and living your personal brand, your answer would be an enthusiastic “Yes!”
Although the purpose of a personal brand is to reveal who you are (your values, strengths, purpose, mission, uniqueness) and the value you offer, an effective brand is far from just a bunch of pretty words.
Your brand can be a guide for living your best professional life.
I’ve seen it time and again. I coach smart, capable, high achieving leaders who can be anything and do everything. And they often work hard to be and do exactly that…anything and everything!
The result is that the people around them are not clear about exactly what those leaders are trying to achieve, why they do what they do, and ultimately who they really are.
So what happens next?
These smart, high achieving leaders are perceived as working (and looking) scattered. Their contributions go unacknowledged, if even understood in the first place. They end up feeling overworked, harried, and under-appreciated.
They certainly are not living in a way that reveals the value they can really offer. And they certainly are not having any fun in the process!
When you take the time to develop and live your authentic leadership brand, everything clicks into place. You know (really KNOW) who you are, who you aspire to be, and what you want to convey about yourself to others.
Equally important, you also know your priorities and the decisions and actions you need to take. You know what and how to communicate and which of your behaviors are in concert with your brand.
In short, you have a guide to live as your best leadership self, as defined by your personal leadership brand.
It’s not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are. (Roy Disney)
It all starts with developing your personal leadership brand. But developing your brand is just the beginning. Don’t stop here!
This is a major point of failure for many leaders. They take the time to define and clarify their brand, and then it gets stuffed in a file, never to be seen again.
It’s like planning a house, but never building it. You end up with a nice looking house on paper, but nowhere to live.
The real work (and the real benefits) of having a brand comes from living your brand.
Only the ideas we actually live are of any value. (Hermann Hesse)
It is obvious when leaders are intentionally living their brands. Their shared organizational values are used in performance reviews. Their mission drives their priorities. Their purpose is considered in the way they organize their resources. Their unique contributions are well understood when they make hiring or outsourcing decisions.
Leaders who live their ideal brands are consistent and credible. Their direction doesn’t blow in the wind and their decisions don’t wobble from day to day.
You, too, can consistently show up as your best leadership self when you choose to live your ideal brand. You will become more aware of your actions and seek to evaluate how well you are doing against the benchmark of your ideal brand. You will watch for areas of improvement and you end up with a more meaningful personal development plan.
You will find that you make better decisions more easily when you have the context of your ideal brand.
You will also be able to assess how well your brand is answering to the needs of your stakeholders. Remember that developing your brand takes into account both you and your stakeholders see (Your Leadership Brand, Part 1).
Who do your stakeholders need you to be? What value do they need you to deliver? From your large repertoire of “you”, which of your leadership attributes do you need to bring to the forefront in order to best satisfy your stakeholders?
Developing your brand can provide you with a great guide for knowing who your “best you” is, and how to WOW your stakeholders.
Living your brand will help you show up every day as the best leader you can be.
Go ahead…make a plan to develop and live your ideal leadership brand (and I can help you with that!)
I think you will enjoy getting to know your best leadership self.