Being your own personal brand is one of the most exciting and practical topics in corporate leadership. Your brand includes your values, character, and reputation. It’s what others say about you. Taking the time to define your personal leadership brand helps you stay focused on what is important to you. In a recent EDC workshop on this topic, we developed a strategy that includes 10 actionable ways to develop your personal leadership brand.
- Know yourself. Sit back and think about your core values and principles. What drives you? What promise do you deliver? You are the core of your brand. Be true to yourself.
- Identify what makes you different. Look at what you know, what you do, and how you do it – then define what differentiates you from others.
- Craft your personal branding statement. Summarize your core values, your mission, and what differentiates you into a simple statement. This will keep you focused on what matters.
- Be discoverable online. Take the time to create a profile on key social media platforms. Don’t worry about being everywhere online – just make sure you’re where your audience is. Avoid self-promotion by focusing on being a resource to others and positioning yourself as an expert.
- Be consistent. Your in-person personality should match your online brand. Stay true to what comes naturally to you, regardless of the platform. You can’t please everyone, so be authentic. For additional consistency, use the same personal branding statement across social media channels.
- Be intentional. A personal brand is a conscientious decision to define how others perceive and interact with you. Ask yourself: what impression do you want to leave after people interact with you? Do your verbal and nonverbal actions reinforce or distract from that intended perception?
- Learn to listen and practice empathy. Who you are is more than just what you say. Take the time to listen. Strike the balance between what you know and what you have yet to learn or understand.
- Get a professional headshot. You are your brand, so put your best foot forward and have a professional image on your social media channels. Remember, professional doesn’t have to mean stuffy. Think about your audience and what you’re trying to communicate. For example, relaxing the business dress by not wearing a jacket will have a more open and inviting feel.
- Set boundaries. Boundaries help you decide what you do and don’t talk about, and help you manage your responses to certain situations. Examples include staying positive, refusing to participate in gossip, sticking to topics that embody your core values, taking time to respond rather than simply reacting, listening more than you speak, etc.
- Protect your credibility. Your credibility is comprised of your expertise, trustworthiness, composure, rapport, and positivity. Be diligent in guarding how you come across. Be true to yourself – but diligently keep your best foot forward.
Now that you’ve seen our list, what would you add or modify?