Understanding your personal brand means paying attention to not only who you think you are (self-awareness) or other’s perceptions of you, but focusing in on what you do and say around others. This is your brand in action.
Have you visited a restaurant that a friend recommended? You had heard that the service was great and the food even better. The atmosphere was supposed to wow you. You had even seen ads on TV promoting these attributes. Then you visit – and are disappointed. Your waiter was indifferent. The food was good but not great. And you were placed at a table that was so uneven, a ball would easily roll off if placed in the center (that actually happened to me once!).
You, of course, would begin to question all that you had heard about this place. The expectations and promises were not fulfilled. You probably would not revisit the restaurant and may even begin to question your friend’s opinions.
“Talking’s the Easy Part”
A friend of mine is a counselor. He spends most of his work time listening to and counseling others. He has a saying that puts situations into perspective. Someone may tell him, “I’m going to change this time!” Harold replies, “well, talking’s the easy part.” It’s the action that will make the difference.
In developing and understanding your personal brand, you need to be very aware of this. Saying one thing but doing another can so easily destroy your credibility. At work, your boss is watching you. Your team is watching you. Your colleagues are watching you. They hear what you say. They are also watching to see if you follow through.
So how do you strengthen your personal brand? The following list is not exhaustive, but you can at least start here.
Action Plan for your Personal Brand:
* Be accountable. If you promise something, follow through. If you have goals to achieve (don’t we all?), achieve them. Own your results. Don’t fret over someone else’s performance. Be accountable to yours.
* Standards. It is so easy to live life toward the lowest common denominator. You may see other managers just doing enough. They seem to be living life “under the radar” and get away with it. You see others gossip and it doesn’t appear to affect their reputation. Living with little to no personal or professional standards will always catch up with a person. Set your standards high and stay consistent.
* Be fair. Don’t play favorites with your team. Your credibility will be destroyed faster than you think. Expect fairness from others.
* Get results. Know your goals. Make sure your team knows the goals. Lead. Push. Coach. Cheer. Achieve.
* Put in the work. Being successful is hard work for most folks. Don’t be afraid to put in the time and effort needed to exceeding your goals. As the leader, be the example.
* Add value. While you’re working on hitting your numbers, keep your eyes and ears open. If you learn something that will be helpful to another team leader, share it with them. Be known as a person who is a trusted resource for others. Share an article or book you’ve read. Share the story behind the numbers that someone may not be familiar with. Offer assistance with a project or presentation.
Know who you are. Be aware of what you say & do and how that can either build up or tear down your personal brand. Next week I’ll tackle the perceptions of others.
“How can I add value in this person’s life today?” Mark Miller @LeadersServe (on Twitter)