Many leaders, including myself, first step into their leadership roles with the mistaken belief that they must have all of the answers and know more than those on the team they are leading. What a heavy and unnecessary burden to carry.
Over time, effective leaders come to understand that the leadership is about finding ways to enable those around you to strengthen their own voice and the clarity of their convictions, assisting them in recognizing and eliciting their power as authors of their own professional journeys. Great leaders know how to push people to do bigger and better things with a style and approach that is all their own—this is their leadership brand.
The longer I am in this role, the more truth this concept has for me.
According to the Harvard Business Review, a leadership brand conveys your identity and distinctiveness as a leader. It communicates the value you offer. Developing a strong personal leadership brand allows all that’s powerful and effective about your leadership to generate maximum value. When staff come to me for guidance, I have worked hard to consistently convey that I want their best insights, a researched opinion, evidence that they have dug deep into the issue and a willingness to stretch—really stretch to achieve the organization’s goals. This ultimately brings out their best work. I believe that a strong leadership brand can spread a culture of leadership throughout the company.
Of course your leadership brand isn’t static; as with most things, it will evolve as you face different challenges, different funding and business environments along your career path. But even in its evolution, your core leadership values will remain.
I believe that we owe our staff clarity of leadership brand.