What is your brand of leadership? When you are tapped for a new position, what qualities are present in your tool set which make you an attractive option to the boss? Over the course of your leadership journey, you have acquired skills necessary to engage in the processes of leading teams and managing resources in pursuit of a focused objective. Or so you hope.
Lets get right to it. Your reputation and brand enter the room long before you do; at least they do in most organizations. People have some sense of what you are capable of doing, mostly due to prior work history and frankly, the opinions widely held by others about your competencies. The best thing you can hope for is to have this impression be a positive one. At this starting point you have one of two choices; expand on an already positive opinion or fail to impress. I suggest you work really hard to accomplish the former.
- Leadership-in-depth is about a continuous cycle of vision, strategic and tactical planning, execution (action), people and self-reflection. The final phase of self-reflection is the most important for the learning leader. In this phase you must learn and recognize success and error equally. Without this recognition of their relative parity you re-enter the cycle unbalanced and likely incapable of getting to the next level.
- Knowing your brand of leadership requires a tremendous amount of self-reflection (5th phase). In fact, it is this aspect of leadership development that should be a natural component of all of your major and minor experiences. It doesn’t take a huge failure to understand who you are when you enter the room. It just takes some self-awareness.
- Embrace your brand, but only if it has worked for you. If things are not quite working, you may want to spend some extra time in the self-reflection phase of the leadership-in-depth If you are getting the same responses in multiple environments and the results don’t equate to success; the change you are looking for likely begins with you.
Here is one from my own personal bucket. I have battled a fairly tough aspect of my leadership image for much of my adult life. I’m an introvert (there, I said it), fairly tall and have never been mistaken for a small guy. My disposition is such that new folks don’t really know what to make of me, so they tend to give me a wide berth. I know, “you don’t smile enough.” It’s a common refrain. It comes across as aloof in some circles (I don’t wear this as a badge of honor) or in its most positive light, “he’s all business.” For those who I’m close to, this image is very far from the reality of my nature. I have recognized this for some time and have to constantly work to displace the stoic and bear-like impression that I make on folks who don’t know me well. It actually takes effort. Those outside of the spectrum of introversion have no idea how difficult this can be. It sometimes stops me from being able to cross the divide. I will continue to work on this; likely for most of my life, especially if I intend to continue being successful (hint- I ABSOLUTELY plan to continue my path of success).
Failure and shortcomings are difficult to acknowledge. At the end of the day we are human. We are all full of sensitivities and frailties that we are loathe to reveal to others. I have to admit; I am not quite a man in full. But, I will continue to endeavor.
So, what does your brand look like? Know who you are before you enter the room.