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September 24, 2018

Your Personal Leadership Brand

What kind of leader do you want to be?
Carla Miller explains how you can define your Personal Leadership Brand with these five steps.

Whether you know it or not, you've already got a leadership brand. You just haven't crafted it yourself.

Instead it is made up of how other people experience working with you. How they describe you. What they think you're capable of. Because a brand isn't about a logo or what's written down on a piece of paper - it's about a lived experience.

How you deal with your team, your colleagues, your boss - that's your leadership brand. If you're known for being supportive, competitive, reliable, unpredictable, too busy to talk, very laid back - it all gets noticed by those around you.

How you act under pressure - that's part of your brand too. And so is the way in which you contribute to meetings and to projects. The people around you are constantly forming an impression of you based on their lived experience of you.

How you speak about yourself also contributes to your brand. For example, if you constantly downplay your achievements or brush off praise, eventually people will start to start to downplay your achievements in their mind too. Tell people "it's nothing" enough times and they'll think it really is nothing!

The interesting thing about your leadership brand is that it is what is known in coaching as a blind spot. When driving, your blind spot is that space that your rear and wing mirrors don't pick up - where you wouldn't see a car even if you looked in your mirrors. In coaching, a blind spot is that thing that everyone else can see about that that you're totally blind to.

Because we see all of our interactions from our own perspective we have no idea how others really perceive us, or what they say about us when we're not in the room, unless they tell us.

Or, unless we consciously focus our behaviour on projecting the attributes and values that are important to us and for our career development.

Your personal leadership brand can determine whether you get promoted and selected for exciting opportunities or whether you get overlooked or under estimated. It helps you be consistent and act in alignment with your values. And getting it right can really boost your confidence.

That's why it's a good idea to consciously choose your personal leadership brand for yourself rather than leaving it up to chance. These are the 5 steps to defining your personal leadership brand.

1. Identify the kind of leader you want to be

Think about what great leadership looks like to you. Which leaders do you admire and why do you admire them? Consider how you want to be described by the people you work with.

2. Focus on what you need to achieve in your role (and career)

Think about the results you want to get over the next 12 months and what is needed from you as a leader in order to achieve those results. Who do you need to be to get that done?

3. Choose what's important to you

Get clear on your values. For example, do you want to be known as reliable or a change maker? Is it more important to be kind or to be challenging?

4. Understand your current personal leadership brand

Consider how your team, colleagues or boss might describe you. If you're feeling bold, you could even ask them how they'd describe your leadership style.

5. Define your new personal leadership brand

Pull all of this together to create a new leadership brand that you consciously communicate.

It may sound like jargon but actually your personal leadership brand is about being more conscious and authentic as a leader. And finding a way to communicate who you are and how you do things that earns you respect.


About the author

Carla is a leadership coach and the founder of the Leadership Skills Lab, the online leadership coaching programme.
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