How To Develop A Leadership Brand And Lead Confidently
Just like a business brand does, a leadership brand communicates some evidence of distinction about you, which is the value you offer. Summarizing your leadership brand in a statement is often a useful and enlightening task. First of all, answer two important questions:
What do I want to be known for as a leader?
What results do I want to achieve with my team in the next twelve months?
Take these two answers and put them into the following statement:
I want to be known for __________________ so that I can deliver ____________ through my team in the next twelve months.
Once you have this statement crafted, be sure it is your focus and promise to deliver on each day. You may want to ask others you trust for input on whether you are delivering on your brand and accomplishing your goals and if they see your leadership brand in the same way you do. Remember, top brands are known for some evidence of distinction and for delivering on their value promise consistently.
Some things you may want to consider when you are selecting what you will be known for are:
Being a master of change. As markets and technologies shift and shake, organizations and strategies must always be changing in order to remain relevant. The leaders of the future will need to be masters at managing change initiatives and perhaps even more important, know when and where to utilize them.
Being a master of the marketplace. Leaders of tomorrow must be able to identify and seize any new possibilities that are present or perhaps need to be created before a competitor can capitalize.
Being master of inspiration and motivation. Our future will continue to be shaped by constant change. Others usually perceive change as hard, so you will need to develop the ability to inspire and motivate others and achieve common goals. Without alignment or direction and outcomes, you will stand little chance of success.
Being a master of lean operations. Leaders will need to operate in and create lean and flexible organizations that optimize both effectiveness and efficiencies while not sacrificing quality. This balancing act will be crucial to achieving future success.
Remember, you can't be all things to all people or you risk becoming nothing to no one. Selecting something you will be an elite specialist with prevents you from being a jack-of-all-trades. Sometimes, leaders fear narrowing their expertise but who makes more money a brain surgeon or a family practitioner? Specialists always trump generalists. If you want your leadership brand to be most effective, you must narrow your focus to put your full energy toward mastery.
Confidence is a key ingredient in leading effectively. We are usually intimately familiar with our weaknesses, but our confidence comes directly from our strengths. Here are two questions you can ask yourself to help you find your self-confidence as a leader:
What do I do well? Make a list of your strengths. These are not your accomplishments or accolades. These are the strengths you have that are not likely to change. So many times, our strengths are sometimes put in a bad light due to others' weaknesses. Do not put your talents that are strengths under a basket, take the lid off them and let them lead you to future success and accomplishments.
Where do I need work? Some of your strengths may need polishing and mastery to be more effective, especially when you need to align them with others' weaknesses. It's easier to add skill to strength to make it more effective than it is to deal with weaknesses that will never be strengths.
Why should people follow you? Review situations where you mobilized your team to face a particularly tough challenge with success. Why did people believe in your ability to get things done and trust you were the one to follow? Also, what might you have done differently that would have made your outcomes even better?
The answers to this leadership brand exercise and leadership confidence exercise will be the keys to having an even more impressive year next year in your leadership role. Remember, if you can stay within the areas of strength you possess and find ways to deal with your weaknesses to make them have no impact, your leadership brand will shine brightly and your confidence as a leader should soar.