Yesterday I had the honour of running a workshop on behalf of the youth development charity, Uprising. I worked with a group of young people (aged 18-25) on how to develop a leadership brand. I left feeling inspired and motivated to write this post.
“What does leadership have to do with brand?”, you may ask. EVERYTHING, I answer. Great leaders become brands. Great brands inspire leaders. So, if you’re looking to lead, it’s time to develop your leadership brand.
What is your leadership brand?
Very simply, it’s who you are as a leader, what you stand for and how you deliver this consistently so that you achieve your goal or vision.
Why do you need to develop your leadership brand?
“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” – John Quincy Adams
All leaders are different. So to inspire others through your own actions, then you need to understand what it is about those actions that are unique to you. How you do it in your own way. And why you do what you do. This is what will make you authentic. Once you’ve identified this, you build it into your actions consistently, so that people trust you. Because if they trust you, they will follow you. Developing your leadership brand will help you do this.
How do you develop your leadership brand?
Just like any brand, it starts with the framework. Your purpose, your personality (as a leader), your values and your vision.
Ask yourself why you want to be a leader. What will the future look like if you’re achieving your leadership goal? That will help you work out your purpose and vision.
Then think about the times that you’ve had to lead. What did you prioritise? What did you do well? What did people say was different about the way you did it? That will help you define your values and personality.
And once you’ve developed your leadership brand, you can then embed this into the way you do things. You can use it to make decisions about where to focus. And you can use it to shape how you communicate so that people will understand who you are as a leader, and so that you attract the people that share your vision and want to be part of it.
Is this the same as personal branding?
NOPE. As I’ve said before there is a BIG difference between brand and branding. Personal branding is simply marketing yourself as if you were a brand. While it’s obviously useful to develop marketing techniques, but only once you’ve truly defined and understood your leadership brand. Otherwise it will be superficial and lack the substance and authenticity to have a long term impact.
“There are leaders and there are those who lead.
Leaders hold positions of power. Those who lead, inspire us.” – Simon Sinek
We can all lead. And that’s why I was so proud to speak to that group of young people. Because they volunteered their time and effort to join a programme that will help them become strong leaders. So today, why not think about your leadership brand? It will help you but more importantly, it will help others.
As Simon Sinek told me, “Inspire on!”
If you want to truly lead in your field, find out more about our leadership brand package, “From Purpose to Brand”.