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Companies invest a lot of money developing product and organizational brands. Few leaders take the time to develop their personal brand as a thought leader both inside and outside of their company.

According to research conducted by the Glenn Llopis Group:

  • Less than 15 percent of people have truly defined their personal brand
  • Less than 5 percent of people are living it consistently at work – each and every day

What’s more interesting is that the survey also revealed:

  • 70 percent of professionals believe they have defined their personal brand
  • 50 percent of professionals believe they’re living it

Obviously, there is a gap here.

Defining your personal brand requires a deep understanding of who you are and the value you consistently deliver.

Your brand should be an authentic representation of what you contribute as a leader – not a replica of someone you admire. Brand development is not the same as self-promotion. Instead, it’s what you are known for, why people rely on you, and how you consistently react in a situation.

The point is, that management and co-workers know what the person stands for.

For example, a leader with a strong personal brand may be known as being hard, but understanding. Someone that management can count on to get the job done, even if it means working late or on the weekend. A person that is reliable, well-respected, and consistent.

Somebody who is known to thoroughly research an issue before reacting to it; taking a 360° view instead of a narrow, self-serving position. He or she is an honest person – one that accepts responsibility even when a project or situation doesn’t hold up as planned.

Personal brand development is a requirement for leaders.

It helps to present a leader’s value proposition to senior management increasing the opportunity for advancement within the organization.

Just as a company’s brand develops over time, a personal brand should be enhanced while remaining consistent at its core. In other words, as a leader transcends up the ranks, his or her brand needs to be cultivated as well, while keeping its authenticity.

A perfect example of personal brand development.

Steve Jobs, the former CEO of Apple, Inc., is well-known for bringing the company from the point of bankruptcy to one of the highest performing companies in the world. People could count on Jobs for being an innovator as well as a perfectionist.

Over time, he also developed a reputation for frequently changing his mind. His ability to be flexible helped to enrich the technological advancements made by Apple. Where most CEOs are very decisive, changing with the trends served Jobs well.

As a leader, how are you defining your personal brand – both inside and outside of the organization?

Zackarie Lemelle
Managing Partner, Leadership Engagement Services
Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC)