Tag Archives: Communication

What is Your Personal and Professional Brand?

CoachStation: Personal BrandingThe leader and employee in today’s environment must possess a credible and trusted brand, much like a company does.

 

The benefits of modern technology and Social Media make this easier than in the past. However it takes time and effort to develop a reputation that is built on genuine results, behaviours, skills and qualities that others identify as strengths and positive attributes.

 

Personal branding, much like social media, is about making a full-time commitment to the journey of defining yourself as a leader and how this will shape the manner in which you will serve others. (1)
Many leaders are already performing well in their roles and have much to offer. How many others know this is another question. Having the knowledge and tools to promote yourself effectively without appearing to be ‘big-noting’ is a challenge for some. I look at this differently. It is not about being a self-promoter. It is more about being comfortable enough in who you are and your achievements so that you can comfortably talk about it. Being overlooked for promotion; receiving little recognition; difficulty in explaining beliefs, passions or roles, amongst other skills can be difficult challenges. But they can be overcome. Creating a strong brand can only be achieved through consistent practice and application. This takes effort and accountability. In a blog I wrote previously titled ‘Ownership of Your Employment Status‘ I mentioned the importance of ownership and taking accountability. Perceptions about self and what we think others believe about us influences much of who we are and what we do.

 

Each person has their own beliefs and needs and are at various stages of acceptance of their situation, financial requirements and employability. Being clear about what you want from life, including as an employee, helps an individual make appropriate decisions based on want, values and need and not simply situation and opportunity. Even when current roles appear stable, understanding of yourself and focusing energies on the next step or options is a worthwhile exercise.

A brand in itself is not the end game. It is a mistake to think that a hollow set of tricks and/or being a good marketer without having the substance to support the brand will work. This is the same when promoting products, services or people. People see through this kind of facade very quickly, even when we think they haven’t.

A solid social media presence is one aspect, but not the only point. It is widely written that what is presented to the world via your web presence is becoming more and more critical to your brand. It is a wonder to me how many people still struggle with this concept. As important as this is, what is being highlighted here has greater depth, meaning and substance than merely presenting yourself professionally online. It is how you communicate, manage perceptions, behave, respond, learn about and apply emotional intelligence, develop your relationships, foster an ability to connect with others and many other core skills that makes a real difference.

 

Developing your personal brand is essential for the advancement of your career and development as a leader.  Unfortunately, personal branding has become a “commoditized” term that has lost its intention as people have irresponsibly used social media as a platform to build their personal brand and increase their relevancy.   They believe social media can immediately increase their market value for their personal brand rather than recognizing that the process of developing their personal brand is a much bigger responsibility; a never-ending journey that extends well beyond social media.
Your personal brand should represent the value you are able to consistently deliver to those whom you are serving.  This doesn’t mean self-promotion – that you should be creating awareness for your brand by showcasing your achievements and success stories.  Managing your personal brand requires you to be a great role model, mentor, and / or a voice that others can depend upon. (1)

Personal branding is a topic  that has been of interest to me for some years. I previously designed a 1-day workshop that focuses on developing a personal brand that means something in the workplace and the real world. This is not only relevant and important when you are looking for a new role. Essentially, having a strong brand always matters. I work with people in various industries at all levels of management, yet the branding elements remain surprisingly consistent. The issues that exist and skills required in modern workplaces are as applicable for entry-level employees as they are for supervisors and executive level leaders.

Within the workshop I focus on the core elements that can assist any individual to develop a reputation that is based on a solid foundation, leading to improved credibility and future success. These topics may be of use to you as you continue to develop your own brand:

  1. Understand why personal branding is important in the business environment.
  2. Learn the key elements of branding and how to build them.
  3. Confidence and being genuine – don’t feel you need to act the part.
  4. Understand the relevance of Social Media in developing a brand and how to use these tools to greatest effect.
  5. Develop a strong brand that matters to you and those who matter most to you.
  6. Be introduced to and learn how to use the most relevant tools and technology to develop your brand.
  7. Understand why a personal and professional brand is a non-negotiable for leaders and employees in today’s environment.

View your personal brand as a trademark; an asset that you must protect while continuously molding and shaping it.  Your personal brand is an asset that must be managed with the intention of helping others benefit from having a relationship with you and / or by being associated with your work and the industry you serve. (1)

Have you defined your own brand? If so, do you live and  breathe it consistently every day? The need to develop strength in reputation is more relevant today than ever. If you don’t take control of your brand it will continue to evolve but not in a way that will add value to yourself and those you care about. Think about what your brand looks like from the perspective of others and take action to be accountable in moulding it to greatest effect. The opportunity is yours.

 

(1)  Personal Branding is a Leadership Requirement, Not a Self-Promotion Campaign: Forbes

 

Some of my other blogs aligned to this topic:

Leadership Benefits: Self-Awareness and ROI

Turning Connections Into Relationships

 

1 Comment

Filed under Accountability, Leadership, Self-Awareness

Three Cornerstone Leadership Skills

There are many skills required to be a good leader. In my experience there are three core capabilities however, that when mastered, provide an outstanding platform for leadership success.

CoachStation: Leadership Development

These three skills are not only of great value to leading, but also to an extension/requirement of leadership which is the ability to build meaningful relationships with depth. Connecting with and the understanding of people is a key to earning the right to trust and be trusted; removing assumptions; accepting that differences between people is natural and when understood is a positive aspect of life; and increasing the opportunity to influence. Each of the skills detailed adds significant value to make these goals a reality.

Listening

The ability to truly listen forms a crucial element of any relationship. In my experience it remains the biggest single gap in capability and is not a strength across most people. Leaders who listen and take in the context and words of others have more chance to build a depth in relationships and purposeful direction, bringing others along on the journey. Listening impacts the level of respect people feel towards one another and taps into the core need to participate and be a ‘cog in the many cogs’ that make business run and life a success.

Associated skills such as paraphrasing; acknowledging; and body language are all important communication attributes, however listening has the most immediate impact both visually and practically. It is a difficult attribute to change or improve as it goes against the grain for most people. But it is not impossible and the power that comes from being a good and effective listener can be a game-changer for many of us in leadership positions.

Empathy

In my experience empathy is as much about acknowledging as anything else. I have worked within the leadership and customer experience areas for many years and it is amazing how customers and employees respond when empathy is provided at the appropriate time. It is just as impacting when the opportunity to show empathy is missed.

Empathy sits in the mid-range between apathy and sympathy. When practiced sufficiently so that empathy becomes a natural or unconscious part of how you think and operate, it can be a powerful tool in connecting with people. Empathy allows you to understand the emotional state of other people and build a connection though acknowledgment and understanding of alternative perspectives. The potency in this is enormous however is regularly a missed opportunity.

Questioning

The ability to ask the right questions at the right time is the single greatest skill I have been able to develop in myself and in helping other leaders develop.

How do you improve understanding? Ask!

This should not take the form of or feel like an interrogation. Developing the skills to know when is appropriate, what to ask and how many questions are relevant based on the person and situation will provide great clarity, purpose and direction. Again, this will also go some way to building a deeper and richer relationship with the person involved. We often feel the need to justify another’s position. When we seek solutions for a team member who has an issue that they want resolved or are unhappy with, we often try to resolve from our perspective, not theirs.

How can we answer a question that is not understood (or even asked)? It is neither our role nor right to speak on others behalf and we certainly don’t know as much about the issue or topic as the person involved. So don’t feel compelled to respond and justify what is not understood. Do question and paraphrase to understand and gain clarity.

None of these skills are a silver bullet that will resolve all relational and leadership issues. There is no doubt in my mind however, that by practicing and developing the ability to listen to what others are truly saying and meaning; ask the right questions to clarify and understand; and connect through relating to others via empathy actions and statements, you will become a better leader. In fact, these capabilities, when improved, will have a direct positive impact on all of your relationships…and who doesn’t want that?

1 Comment

Filed under Employee Engagement, Leadership

Leadership Guidance: As Parents and Mentors

Two years on and our eldest daughter is celebrating another birthday. The advice highlighted in my blog at that time remains as pertinent as ever…maybe even more so. As I reflect on time passed, the growth we see in our daughter’s and the fact that the themes still hold true, it is worth revisiting this blog from 2012. Let me know what you think…

Linked 2 Leadership

Handwritten Letter

Leadership points to ponder for teenagers are just as relevant to adults, especially new leaders, viewed via a father’s letter to a teen.

A Father’s Letter

Today you turn 13 years old. I am amazed at how quickly this time has gone and the next 10 years will fly by as well. Then you will be well into your 20’s, however there is a lot that you will see, hear and be tempted by during this time. Much of it will be wonderful, inspiring and of great benefit to you and how you are seen and interact with others.

There will also be some potential pitfalls and challenges, many of which you will not see coming. That is OK. Our job is not to wrap in you cotton balls or bubble-wrap, protecting you from what are ultimately learning opportunities. Our role is and has always been to help you through…

View original post 1,191 more words

Leave a comment

Filed under Leadership, Learning