Companies and employers aren’t the only entities with “brands”.
A brand is a culmination of all the unique features that make something unique, whether it’s a business or a person. As a leader in your financial organisation, the chances are that you already have a brand – even if you don’t know about it.
Your colleagues and the people you support every day already use the things you say and do to define who you are as a leader. However, if you can take control of your personal leadership brand, you can improve your reputation and unlock amazing opportunities for your future.
What is a Personal Leadership Brand, and Why Do You Need One?
While everyone in an executive position has a personal leadership brand, few people have the right one. Leadership brands convey your identity as the head of a team or organisation and demonstrate the unique value you have to offer.
Similarly, to a commercial brand, your identity as a leader can affect the way that other people feel about you. In a fast-paced business environment, your leadership brand helps other employees to trust your decisions and gives you more influence over your staff.
An excellent brand can even enhance your career opportunities, by highlighting your best features to other people in your space.
So, how do you develop a personal leadership brand?
Step 1: Identify What You Want to be Known For
What do you want people to think and feel when they see you?
Most team members will naturally follow leaders that they trust and respect. Ensuring that people associate you with the right values and attributes is a great way to give yourself more influence in your company.
Start by looking for hero stories in your organisation. Do people appreciate account managers with a commitment to speed and accuracy? Do banking leaders get the most respect when they have strong decision-making skills? Find out what people like about other leaders in your space and create a list of descriptors that you want to embody as well, such as:
Step 2: Decide What You Want to Achieve in the Next Year
An amazing leadership must communicate the unique contributions you make to your organisation. Think about what you currently bring to your company. Do you have a unique knowledge of technology that’s helped your business move into the digital age? Is your commitment to strong teamwork improving the company culture?
Now, decide what kind of results you want to deliver to your team over the next 12 months. Consider not just your interests, but the expectations of customers, investors, employers and other executives in your group.
What do the people around you need in the months to come, and how can you use your unique skills to deliver? Your ability to generate results will have a strong impact on how people perceive your leadership brand.
Step 3: Understand Your Current Brand
To figure out how you can improve your leadership brand, you first need to know how other people perceive you. Get a clear picture of how other people in your organisation perceive you today. Pay attention to how you work, how frequently you accomplish your goals, and what kind of feedback you get from your peers.
It’s a good idea to ask other people to describe you in a few keywords too. Get insights from your peers, your managers, and even a mentor if you have one. This will show you if your current identity aligns with the image you want to create. If it doesn’t, then you can take steps to change.
For instance, you may decide to adjust your development plan and start learning some new skills to make your personal leadership brand even more compelling. For example, if you know your investors are interested in the blockchain, but no-one in your team understands the technology yet, take the initiative.
This will make you a more valuable employee and improve your brand by showing your commitment to the company.
Step 4: Test Your Personal Mission Statement
By this stage, you will have identified how you want to be perceived, figured out your current identity, and set some goals for the next 12 months. Now, it’s time to create a mission statement to guide you in the months to come. A personal mission statement is a fantastic way to improve your focus as a leader. Your statement will help you to answer big questions about who you are, and what you stand for.
In his book, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” Stephen R. Covey introduced the concept of the personal mission statement and explained that by visualising our future, we could improve our chances of reaching our goals. Your statement will stop you from getting lost on the path to success.
For example, Sir Richard Branson’s personal mission statement is to “have fun” and “learn from [his] mistakes.”
Step 5: Commit to Your Brand
Finally, if you want your leadership brand to thrive, then you need to live according to your new identity. Share your mission statement with your team members, so they know what you’re trying to accomplish in the year ahead. Demonstrate your commitment to your brand by constantly assessing your actions and asking yourself whether they align with the new you.
Living by your personal brand is the only way to build trust in it and show other people that you care about how they perceive you.
Remember, as you live with your brand, make time to reflect and evolve as your circumstances and goals change.
JobFitts Consultants are a specialist provider of professional Recruitment Services for the Financial Services sector and related suppliers in Australia. Since 2003 we have recruited and placed a breadth of operational roles at all levels from; HR, Accounting, Marketing and Customer Service/Frontline.