You can never underestimate the importance of a personal leadership brand. Do you know what your brand is?  Have you deliberately considered and crafted your own brand to reflect your value, thoughts and opinions as a leader?  Now, is the time to define what you stand for and why.

In the world of business, the arts and professions, our Leadership brand is outward focused – it is what the public, our teams and our networks see of us and identify in us.   Moving into more visible leadership roles usually means a complex set of expectations are encountered, and usually at this time, we feel the very real need to become more deliberate about the way we lead and the way our personal brand is projected.

For women in business crafting a powerful personal leadership brand is key as it helps overcome stereotypes and opens doors.  Consider how you want to define your leadership, present your image and project your style so that it is congruent with your values and your point of difference. There are various approaches to building a personal brand, and if you carry out a variety of high level roles it can be complex to position clearly what you ultimately wish to be best known for.

We all have goals and objectives that we are striving to achieve as leaders, no matter what area we work in. By forging a leadership brand that will open doors and help us achieve those results, we can influence and bring about change. When considering your brand think about what makes you unique in your field and what characteristics, values or qualities you have that set you apart from the competition.  

Define your expertise, your niche, your passions, and own it.  Be clear. Your knowledge and experience is unique and can increase your credibility, creating opportunities.

Focus on understanding your innate strengths and values and consider clarifying what is expected of you by others – your clients, your boards, your audience.

We are all different types of leaders, all with our own brands, whether we are aware of this or not.  As we find ourselves elevated into formal leadership roles, certain traits will help position us as a strong leader, while keeping true to our authentic selves.  

Work more consciously, a little more deliberately on what your personal leadership brand could look like.  A great place to start is to construct a leadership brand statement and to test it out on others.  Your brand statement should describe what you want to be known for and why.   Explore if your brand identity best represents who you are and what you can be. Is it something that creates value in the eyes of customers, the team, employers, shareholders, fellow Directors? As yourself, what risks you could be taking by exhibiting this brand.   And, can you live this brand and make it real?

Our personal leadership brand can remind us what we really stand for and why we do what we do.  If there is a misalignment between your leadership brand and the brand you live, it will create cynicism because as leaders, we have to be true to our promise. To ensure that the leadership brand you promote is embodied in your daily work, take the time to check in with those around you. Find out if they see you as you wish to be seen.

Your reputation is just as important as your business’ brand and is the key to being in the spotlight as a leader. Personal leadership branding is in essence your reputation and given the interconnectivity of information, it is vital to effectively manage your leadership brand to ensure others don’t create your brand for you. Be intentional when creating your brand as it needs to resonate with others in order to be effective. Ask yourself what is the heart and soul of your personal brand? Set this as the foundation for your communications, thought leadership and strategy across every aspect of your business.

Building your personal brand helps carve out your niche as a leader and expert.

Lyn Hawkins, Director – Business Women Australia

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