The end of every calendar year is the perfect time to re-evaluate your leadership brand and decide whether it will still support you in your growth journey for the following year.
Where you were in January 2017 could be a very different place to where you will be in January 2018. Your level of seniority and responsibility has likely changed. The business environment in which you operate has probably changed too, as well as your goals and personal ambitions.
Change happens constantly. You need to keep up with it to keep moving forward. It’s easy and tempting to deny change and become complacent in our professional lives. I’ve known people who have taken this approach and the result inevitably is: they get left behind.
I don’t want this to happen to you.
I want you to start thinking about whether your current leadership brand will serve you in 2018 by asking you the following three questions.
Q1. What do you want your reputation in business to be in 2018?
Deciding on your reputation is critically important when you start developing or reinventing your leadership brand. Your reputation is what other people will draw from to make judgements about you and talk about you to their peers.
Your reputation is built from your competencies, values, strengths, and weaknesses. When deciding whether your current reputation will serve you in 2018, think of it in terms of the goals you want to achieve. Will your current reputation help you achieve your goals in 2018?
For example, if next year you’d like to get promoted to Partner level in your financial services firm, you will need to establish the reputation as somebody who is leadership material, with strong relationship-building skill, and a high-level of technical skill.
A simple way to start crafting your reputation for 2018 is to complete this sentence: “I want to be known as somebody who is …………………, ………………, and ……………….”.
Q2. Does your in-person presence support your leadership brand?
It’s incredibly important that your leadership brand is expressed congruently across all channels of communication that other people will draw information about you from.
Think about whether your verbal communication, non verbal communication and appearance accurately express the leadership brand you want.
For example, in business meetings, do you speak up with your ideas and opinions, conveying the image that you have a high-level of technical skill and thought leadership? Or do you wait for others to voice their opinion and ideas before you do, conveying the image that you’re hesitant and unsure?
If you believe all channels of your in-person presence do support your leadership brand, that’s great! But remember there is always work to do, so perhaps there are some slight tweaks you can make to help you express your leadership brand in a more congruent way.
If you do not believe all channels of your in-person presence support your leadership brand, then you need to work on refining them. Think about how you can improve your verbal communication, nonverbal communication and appearance so your leadership brand comes across in a stronger way.
If you are unsure whether your in-person presence supports your leadership brand, then I recommend you to ask a colleague or consult a leadership coach to see what areas of your leadership brand you are expressing well and which areas you are not.
Q3. Does your digital presence support your leadership brand?
Your digital presence is equally important as your in-person presence. It’s where people go to find out more about you and it’s what you can use to grow and strengthen your leadership brand.
Look specifically at your LinkedIn profile and activity. You are a business person so LinkedIn is the platform you need to focus on. Does your current LinkedIn profile express your leadership brand well?
Examine your profile photo, background image, headline, personal summary, experience, education, accomplishments and awards sections. Also look at your activity, posts and articles that you share.
Look at all these elements from a third-person perspective and determine whether they support or damage your desired leadership brand.
If you do believe your digital presence supports your leadership brand, then make sure you continue this great work. Don’t get complacent.
If you do not believe your digital presence supports your leadership brand, then you need to immediately get to work on your LinkedIn profile. Study the LinkedIn profiles of other business people who inspire you. Look at what they post and share with their community. Choose the elements that you think will help you express your leadership brand better.
If you’re unsure whether your digital presence supports your leadership brand, then ask a friend or colleague to give you feedback or engage a coach for focused advice.
Developing and managing your leadership brand should be mandatory for every ambitious professional. It needs to be able to support you in your growth journey and help you achieve the goals you are aiming for in your professional life.
Remember, if you don’t take charge and promote your leadership brand, others will promote theirs. They will be noticed instead of you.
I hope this article has given you some ideas and direction to start working on your leadership brand today.