Ascending to a role as a leader — whether that is in a company, community, or organization — can be an opportunity to make a significant impact. But simply assuming a title as leader doesn’t do it. You don’t create significant impact just because you occupy a role or wear a title. You make the significant impact because of your strategic actions that inspire, empower, and equip those you lead.
[clickToTweet tweet=”The ability to inspire defines great #leadership – not a title or role.” quote=”The ability to inspire defines great leadership – not a title or role.”]
And that requires building a personal brand around who you are as a leader. Your personal brand tells the world — those you aspire to lead and influence — just who you are.
If you don’t have a clear personal brand, then your ability to lead will be limited. That is because those around you won’t quite know what to make of you. They won’t know what you stand for. And they may not even notice you or your work. A personal brand makes it clear what you stand for and helps you get noticed for your work.
As a leader, you must stand for something. Otherwise, what are you attempting to inspire or influence people to do? What is this thing you believe in? Why do you believe in it?
What Kind of Leader are You?
Are you compassionate? Are you hard-nosed? Are you in-your-face? Are you all curly cues and hearts or are you fire? Are you ice? How you do your work speaks to your character and your values. And all of these are elements of leadership. You develop a personal brand around how you lead.
No great leader today has gotten there without a personal brand. Some personal brands resonate more than others, and so they attract followers better than others. The personal brand is the outward representation of who the leader is on the inside. How you interact with others, how you respond when they do well and when they do not, how you handle good times and bad — your actions in all these instances contribute to your personal brand. They tell your world what kind of leader you are.
Personal Branding is Important for Aspiring Leaders
While it’s important to continue to build your personal brand when you are in a leadership role, personal branding is also relevant to up-and-coming leaders. If you aspire to lead, even though you are not yet in a leadership role, paying attention to your personal brand is something you want to do now. This can help you position yourself for that leadership position and make it more likely you will ascend to it. That is because how you position yourself for leadership may very well determine whether you are able to help others see you as the leader you desire to be.
If you are successful, then the decision makers will see your leadership potential and may grant you the position, whether by election, appointment, or promotion. They may be more likely to follow you, because of the personal brand you build. After all, others must recognize in you the leader you believe you are capable of being. Make it easy for them to see this emerging leader by building a personal brand as a leader.
When building a personal brand as a leader, everything you do either contributes to that brand or takes away from it. You can’t afford to make the same mistakes others do in your personal life or at work when you are going for a competitive leadership position. After all, one bad move can call into question everything you say as a leader. This doesn’t mean you must be a robot — you are human, after all — but it does mean you must be strategic.
So to build the personal brand you want, think through your actions. If you aspire to gain a leadership role in the company, for example, then you can’t cut up at the company picnic like your buddy who got drunk. You want to behave in a way that is becoming of a leader within that organization. Yes, be yourself. But be your best self.
If you aspire to become a leader in your industry, then you can’t just join social media groups or forums and sit back and lurk — or pepper the group page or community with complaints or negativity. You need to participate and contribute in a knowledgeable way. Your posts should be pithy, on point, and, above all, useful to those you seek to one day lead.
If you aspire to become a leader in business, then it’s not enough to work quietly in your office. After all, you can’t be a leader of one. You’ve got to show up bigger in the world by attending more industry functions and connecting with more people in your space online and off. Offer help where you can. Share your knowledge and expertise.
All of these actions help to position you for a leadership role down the line — or for a role that is imminent. Help others see in you the leader you aspire to be tomorrow by building your personal brand now.
I wonder how many leaders take the time to reflect on what kind of leader they want to be. I love this concept of branding when it comes to actively creating the reputation they want to have.
Monica Carter Tagore says
Hi, Dana, thank you for the feedback! Often, in the beginning, a leader (or aspiring leader) may not reflect on the type of leader she wants to be, but as she grows in her role, it’s really important for her to start to be intentional about that leadership and to reflect on what exactly she is doing. When she becomes intentional about her leadership, she will see a change in how she interacts with those she leads and even in some of the choices she makes. And over time, she will be a stronger leader.
Debbiee Mason says
Thank you for your insight .Your article resonated with me. I’m much more mindful now of my personal brand since I committed to it and to myself by capturing it in writing.