Building your leadership brand
Throughout March the media attention on the gender pay gap and focus on activities around International Women’s Day highlighted the lack of progress around getting women into leadership roles. It’s clear, we still need a more concerted effort and greater visibility of female talent throughout the pipeline. Building a leadership brand is one of the most important contributions to raising the visibility of talented women, but it is also one of the most difficult things to get right. Why is branding so important for your leadership journey?
Branding for leadership, commonly known as your personal leadership brand, is pivotal for building your presence and raising your visibility to attract the right champion who can support and develop your leadership aspirations. Branding is a powerful tool to ensure you control your image, and, in an increasingly complicated world where we are exposed to thousands of brands on a daily basis, it is now more important than ever to keep control of your personal leadership brand.
When we think about well-known individuals we have strong opinion, or even reactions to these people, despite the fact we don’t know them nor have a close relationship with them. If we discuss Barak Obama, Sheryl Sandberg or even Donald Trump we have a visceral response to these individuals. These rapid responses are the end-result of our brains attempting to manage resources, in other words intuition and biases kick in.
In order to get to grips with your leadership brand you need to be aware of three critical areas – Attributes, Authenticity and Values.
Attributes are the characteristics you own, your skills, track record of success and the resources you bring to your leadership. Your authenticity is critical to your role as a leader, creating a genuine model of leadership that your colleagues can relate to and showing just enough vulnerability to be real. Of course values are the bedrock for creating a strong brand, knowing yourself and the behaviours that, for you, are non-negotiable.