Building your personal brand

What do people think of when your name is mentioned? A smart, strategic thinker? A problem solver? An expert in your field? Do the words ‘trustworthy’ and ‘reliable’ immediately come to mind when people think of you? Or maybe calm, even-tempered, fair-minded or quick-witted describe you?

The unique combination of your expertise, strengths and skills and the adjectives that describe you — what you stand for, what you’re enthusiastic about, your personal values — that’s your personal brand. It describes what you’re ‘about’ and your style — how you do what you do, your ‘modus operandi‘. (Chapter 6 — page 140 of the text — helps you identify your main values.)

A strong and professional personal brand protects your job and helps build your career when it’s backed up by solid performance.  It isn’t built just during working hours, either. Social media can help build (or destroy) your personal brand, so participate in it judiciously. You want your name ‘out there’ but not over-exposed and everything about you ‘out there’ needs to align with your personal brand. Everything.

Your personal ‘moments of truth’, the impression you leave with people no matter how fleeting your encounter, build your personal brand, too, as does smart networking and a good personal mission statement, one or two sentences that describe what you do in an interesting way and makes people say ’Oh really? Tell me more!’.

So what’s your personal brand? How do you want people to think of you? Write this down — these are your goals and the descriptors you need to live up to day in and day out, at work and in your personal life. These descriptors should describe you at your best, not be a version of someone you admire. When they describe you at your best, you can act authentically and people know that what they see is what they get, not an imitation of someone else or a false front they can’t trust.

Once you’re clear on your personal brand, think about what  you can do to enhance it, how you can keep it up to date and how you can show you’re adding to your knowledge, expertise and skills and that you’re growing as a person and as a leader.

Discussion questions

What is your personal brand? What can you do to enhance it?