You have worked hard to create a solid personal brand for yourself early on in your career. It has served you exceedingly well up until now as it has enabled you to position yourself as a leader in your industry. But things have changed.
You’re in a new position, a higher-level position with new responsibilities, boundaries and demands. Your current personal brand, or leadership brand, doesn’t serve you anymore.
How do you reinvent your leadership brand so that it will serve you in your new role?
This is a common dilemma professionals face as they move up through the ranks of leadership. It can happen when you move from manager to senior manager or senior manager to executive level. It can also happen when you move to a different industry or become an entrepreneur.
Regardless of your situation, the issue you’re going to face when reinventing yourself will be the same: How do you pivot the perceptions and expectations people have of you?
This can be overwhelming. I want to share with you a few things you need to think about to better manage your reinvention process.
1. What elements of your leadership brand still serve you?
It’s likely you don’t want to erase all elements of your leadership brand. No doubt you have a number of strengths and qualities that got you to where you are today. Reflect on your past performance evaluations, feedback received and conversations with clients to identify the strengths, qualities, and values you would like to carry forward.
2. What elements of your leadership brand no longer serve you?
In the above step, you may have identified elements of your leadership brand that you want to eliminate, replace or tweak. Think about every element of your leadership brand from your outward presence (outfit and body language) to your communication, to the amount of credibility, visibility and influence you have in your industry. What areas do you want to get rid of or change?
3. Re-define your new leadership brand.
After identifying the elements of your leadership brand you would like to keep and those you would like to eliminate, you’re ready to re-define your new leadership brand. Creating a new narrative or a quick statement about who you are and what you stand for is a technique I often use with my clients. Make sure that it’s something you can look at and refer to periodically to make sure you stay focused on your new leadership brand and don’t stray from it in moments of weakness.
4. Communicate your new leadership brand.
With your new leadership brand defined and clear in your mind, you’re ready to step outside and communicate it to the world. Attend higher-level networking events to give yourself an opportunity to communicate your new brand to the right people. Re-connect with old clients and update them as to the new developments in your career. Organise meetings within your company so you can casually announce your new position, responsibilities and expectations.
5. Monitor the results.
Are people’s perceptions of you changing? Are they respecting your new position and boundaries as you would like? Do you need to put more effort into cementing your new leadership brand in the minds of your colleagues and clients?
You must look at reinventing your leadership brand as a gradual process. It will not happen overnight. You’re changing people’s perceptions of you – assumptions and judgements they have had about you for many years. This change must be approached in a gradual way. Be patient. One day you will look around your office and realise you have succeeded in creating the leadership brand that will take you to the next level in your career.