The most valuable asset of a leader is their personal brand. It can inspire trusting teams, retain loyal team members and clients, and build long-lasting relationships. The practice of creating a positive personal brand is what makes leaders memorable. However, an unkempt personal brand can still make leaders memorable – but for all the wrong reasons.
In this blog post, we will explore how a leader with a good personal brand can ensure an environment where effective teams thrive. You will be supported by potential next steps you can take as a leader to build and maintain a strong personal brand.
Whether you are a seasoned executive or a new leader, understanding the importance of personal branding can help you achieve your leadership goals and create a high-performing team.
Integrity and Trust
Doubt within the team is a core indicator of a leader with a negative personal brand. Leaders who engage in deceitful or unethical behaviour will quickly lose the trust of their team members and (further) damage their reputation.
Establishing credibility and trust within a team is critical for a leader’s success. By consistently demonstrating their personal values and expertise, they build a reputation as a reliable and competent leader. Integrity and trust can be achieved by taking several steps, such as: encouraging honest conversations, transparency, communicating effectively, building relationships, providing support, and empowering their team.
Leaders who demonstrate these behaviours consistently earn the trust and respect of their team members. This often leads to greater levels of engagement, productivity, and success. In a recent survey, distributed by DDI, it was found that leaders who are seen to be credible and trustworthy are 68% more likely to have engaged teams.1Establishing credibility and trust within a team is a vital part of effective leadership.
Another characteristic of a negative personal brand is perceived inflexibility. Leaders who are unwilling to demonstrate agility to changing circumstances, or new ideas, can be viewed as being rigid. This can hinder the progress and growth of both the organisation and the team’s professional development.
Leaders who support a culture of innovation in the workplace enhance their personal brand. The prioritisation of creativity and thought leadership can inspire teams to think freely and produce innovative ideas. This can be achieved by: encouraging open channels of communication, embracing failure as a learning opportunity, providing necessary resources, leading by example, and recognising and rewarding innovation.
In 2018, a study found that organisations that encouraged innovation were more likely to financially outperform. Organisations in the top-quartile of their innovation index had a revenue growth that was 70% higher than their less innovative peers.2 But leaders who foster a culture of innovation find success beyond the dollar value. Success, innovation and forward-thinking positively influences a person’s personal brand and the opportunities that come with that.
Building A Strong Company Culture
The negative personal brand of a leader can ricochet through to their organisaion’s brand. Behaviour that does not align with organisational values can erode trust, create tension, and foster resentment among team members, leading to a negative work environment.
Leaders with a strong personal brand can positively impact their organisations culture and public perception. The simple act of embodying the organisations values can motivate team members to unify and work towards a shared goal. Leaders can embody these values by reinforcing positive behaviour through recognition. A recognition platform (such as Teamphoria) is a great resource for this, as recognition for great work (known as raves) consciously linking back to the organisations shared values.
Weber Shandwick found that 82% of respondents believed that a leader with a strong personal brand enhances their organisations reputation, and 69% said that a leader’s reputation is responsible for attracting and retaining great talent. The same study found that 75% of respondents agreed that a leader with a strong personal brand contributes to a strong company culture.3
Being aware of your brand and therefore the impact you have on others and the organsiational reputation is an important part of your leadership journey. Deciding what you personally represent, the values you live by, the qualities you have, and the benefits you bring, will go a long way to building and growing your own personal brand.
- Development Dimensions International (DDI). (2019). Leadership 480: The multi-rater assessment experience. [White paper]. Retrieved from https://www.ddiworld.com/DDI/media/trend-research/leadership-480-multi-rater-assessment-experience.pdf
- Bughin, J., Hazan, E., Ramaswamy, S., Chui, M., Allas, T., Dahlström, P., … & Henke, N. (2018). The case for digital reinvention. McKinsey & Company. Available at: https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/mckinsey-digital/our-insights/the-case-for-digital-reinvention.
- Weber Shandwick. (2016). CEO Reputation Premium: Gaining Advantage in the Engagement Era. Retrieved from https://www.webershandwick.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/WS-CEO-Reputation-Premium-Report.pdf