BY- Jon Michail
Is your image important to you? Are you aware of how your image can impact you and others? In the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, it is more important than ever before that individuals — and especially leaders — know what their image and leadership brand are doing for them.
What is personal brand leadership?
A leadership brand creates awareness about what you stand for as a leader and what makes you someone who can make a positive difference. As Norm Smallwood put it in the Harvard Business Review, “A leadership brand conveys your identity and distinctiveness as a leader. It communicates the value you offer.”
Your leadership brand is made up of a complex dynamic, like how you behave, react and interact with different groups or individuals in diverse situations, and how you as a leader interact with others to produce outstanding results.
How does it work?
Creating a strong personal brand in order to stand out from the rest is courageous. It’s critical for leaders to be aware that their presence matters in all aspects and will play a leading role in their quest to make an impact. A holistic personal branding system could be the answer to how you can build an influential personal leadership brand. This will not only help you get to the next level but also help your team as well. It must be a systematic approach and not ad-hoc.
Research shows that traits like humility and inclusiveness are some of the most favored traits for a leader in a professional environment. But what if those things don’t come naturally to you? Is there a way you can influence people so they perceive you as someone with those traits? The answer is yes, as long as you’re willing to be vulnerable.
Other important questions to ask yourself include: Are there ways you can add credibility and “attractiveness” to your personal brand leadership? Have you thought about what you do and why, and what others around you think of your leadership brand? Your answers to these questions will give you a better understanding of what kind of a leader you are and what can be done to improve your leadership skills so you can truly make yourself and your personal brand stand out.
Why is it critical?
There are many people with good leadership skills and the potential to be powerful leaders. However, most of them do not realize the importance of creating a personal brand for their leadership, and hence, they become invisible. Leaders that are invisible are not able to gain the trust of others to make a positive difference because they are not “seen.” When you’re not seen, most people don’t know that you exist.
It is critical for someone in a leadership role to model a brand of leadership that attracts people to you. Your authenticity helps to gain their trust. A strong personal brand of leadership is exactly what separates strong leaders who end up making a difference from weak leaders with no impact.
In this day and age with all the unnecessary noise, distractions and confusion, modeling or even creating a strong leadership brand allows leaders to cut through the clutter and focus all their energy on things that actually matter. This is how an authentic, powerful and strong leadership brand allows leaders to truly make a difference.
For example, the current health and economic crisis has forced many corporations to ask their employees and teams to work from home. This situation makes it even more important to have proactive and strong leaders who show initiative and take on added responsibilities to ensure their teams working from home are still contributing positively to the organization and are seizing opportunities to help. Having a strong, authentic and personal leadership brand makes it easier for your team members to trust you and will likely inspire them to work beyond the call of duty during a crisis.
It’s also critical to understand that leadership does not just mean being a leader in the workplace. It means being a strong leader who truly makes a difference regardless of the space he or she is in — that includes your community, your family and friends, everyone and everything.
You could be a leader with tremendous potential and a realho passion to make a sustainable difference. However, it’s going to be much harder for you to successfully make a difference if others around you are not clear on who you are or do not see your leadership qualities. In order to maximize your leadership potential, you need to create awareness either consciously or unconsciously. As mentioned earlier, you must be willing to be vulnerable to build trust, make people look up to you and inspire confidence so that they can depend on you to follow your path.
The world as it stands now is in chaos, with many people panicking. If there was ever a time for strong leaders to take initiative and gain the trust of their team members through a courageous and authentic leadership brand in order to make a difference, it’s right now!
This article was first published in Forbes.
Jon Michail | Image Consultant | Personal Branding Coach | Business and Personal Branding Strategist | Author | Group CEO and Founder, Image Group International | Image Group International are Entrepreneurial Activists… Rebels With a Cause Jon Michail, Founder and award-winning Chief Imagemaker together with his team at Image Group International help executives, entrepreneurs and changemakers to build, grow and monetise their personal brands, (online and offline) by positioning them to stand out so they attract their ideal clientsconnections and investors. They are committed to maximising an individual’s personal impact, influence and value in the ever-changing and disruptive business environment. Image Group International is recognised as Australia’s leading personal brand image advisory, with over 31 years of proven results including China and South East Asia.