I saw a recent article by Glenn Llopis, a Forbes contributor, regarding personal branding at http://www.forbes.com/sites/glennllopis/2013/04/08/personal-branding-is-a-leadership-requirement-not-a-self-promotion-campaign/ .
All too often, when business leaders talk about personal /professional branding, we focus only on social media. Social media provides some of the tools to enhance your brand, but it doesn’t create your professional brand. In his article, Llopis provides an excellent definition of personal branding: “A personal brand is the total experience of someone having a relationship with who you are and what you represent as an individual; as a leader.” It’s the experience people have with you– the same as it is for a consumer brand – that establishes your personal brand.
To establish an effective personal brand as a leader, I start with two items:
- Identify your top 5 values and identify what YOU want to stand for. When you deal with people, what should be their expectation of you?
- What five adjectives do you want them to use to describe you as a leader?
Take some time with this. You can use values exercises to identify your top values. For your adjectives, build a long list and then pare it down. Look back at some of your successes and understand what you brought as a leader to those experiences.
Llopis suggests asking a friend for input. I’ve toyed with the idea of using a 360 degree (ask subordinates, peers, boss) assessment tool that can help leaders know how others truly perceive them. The leader could then compare the assessment results to his or her goals – the adjectives he or she wants to be described as. Where are the synergies? Where are the gaps? Even if you don’t do a full 360, you can begin to ask those at work with how they would describe you and see if it matches your list of values and adjectives.
Keep these five values and adjectives in front of you daily and hold yourself accountable to behaving in a way that creates and continually reinforces your personal brand.