All the people you work with have an opinion of you. Some of them may be talking about you right now. What do you think they’re saying? What’s it like to work with you? Are you reliable? Are you easy to work with? Are you a competent leader? Do they wish they were on your team? Do they seek you out to work on stuff together?
I recently read a great post by a guy named Adam Karpiak on LinkedIn. One of his readers commented on how direct he was in his writing (they were appropriately complementing him). His response was awesome; “When you think ‘direct,’ think Adam.”
Adam’s response is a powerful reminder to everyone about how important it is to know and own your brand. The leaders I work with know that I’m going to call them out if they’re not being conscious of how they are showing up. When you aren’t conscious of how you show up (engage & contribute) you are abdicating control of your story to others. You lose control of the narrative that informs how people answer the questions about your reliability, your competence, and your leadership.
Not everyone is going to like you. Accept it. Get over it. And, you could be doing so much more to ensure the gap between what you want people to say about you and what they actually are saying is small.
What do you want people to be saying about you? Here’s a quick exercise to come up with your desired brand.
- Take a piece of paper. Make three columns.
- Think of 3-5 descriptors that resonate with you. These are words or phrases you’d love to hear people using when they talk about you and your leadership. Put those in the left column.
- In the next column, next to each word or phrase you’ve written down, write down some observable behavior or practice that would be a tangible expression of that brand descriptor. Let’s say that Direct is one of your brand descriptors. An observable behavior or practice is, “Speak my truth in meetings” or “Give hard feedback when I have to.”
- In the right hand column you’re going to write down the success measure for each descriptor. How will you know you’re living and manifesting each descriptor?
You are writing your story every day. It’s much better to write while awake. Wake up! Know what you want your brand to be. Assess your current behaviors, habits, and practices. Do they support the brand you want or are you getting in the way of your own success? No more autopilot! However the story ends, you own it.
(If you’d like a copy of a longer form leadership brand exercise we use with the leaders we coach, shoot me a note and we’ll get you one.)
Thanks to Marshall Goldsmith, author of the New York Times bestseller, Triggers who says, “Anyone facing stagnant processes, corporate infighting, and the usual roadblocks at work will deeply appreciate the great lessons in Ultra Leadership! Adopt a breakthrough leadership strategy that will fundamentally change your workplace, and your personal leadership style, for the better!”