How to Intentionally Cultivate Your Own Personal Leadership Brand
I will be speaking at the Women of Silicon Valley conference in San Francisco in May. I will be in the Personal Branding and Career Advice Clinic talking about the intentional cultivation of personal leadership branding. My background is in marketing so I look at everything as a branding opportunity as it puts into motion our values, goals, and intentions. Once we explore what is meaningful we are able to plan a course of action to ensure we are in alignment with our goals and dreams. Great things don’t just happen they are planned, cultivated, and nurtured.
I had spent years developing these skills and overlaying them on the companies and nonprofits I work for, my corporate clients, and of course, my own businesses. I am happy to share my wisdom with other women and business leaders. As I tell my coaching clients we begin with awareness. That is a great place to start and from there we then shape our outcomes.
As we work to intentionally cultivate our leadership brand it’s important to understand that the larger culture will have a direct effect on our ability to succeed. As women, it is key to remember that within the framework of diversity and inclusion, we must prioritize equity. Women need to be money savvy in all ways and especially in negotiating compensation, but that is only one part of the puzzle.
Equity starts by closing racial and gender gaps in pay, but also in advancement. Historically women have been disadvantaged in these areas, but equity also looks at initiatives such as unconscious bias training — to eliminate implicit bias that eventually undermines and impacts performance which leads to reduced career opportunities and advancement. These are difficult issues to address. Again, the larger culture of where we work, grow, and develop our skills and talents will have an impact on our success. This is true, but we must be prepared for the future and there is no time like the present to take stock and plan.
The larger culture will have a direct effect on our ability to succeed, so be aware of it and work with it.
Even though I am speaking to the Women of Silicon Valley this also applies to men and other leaders. In my UC Berkeley classes, I see men struggling with empathetic leadership. For these students, I created a worksheet so they could have a meaningful conversation that connect them to their employees. It was simple, but it provided a framework for them. We all can benefit from great leadership. At the conference, I will speak to several themes around building your own unique leadership style and broader brand.
If you aspire to be a great leader you must employ agency. Agency is the sense of control that you feel in your life that gives you the capacity to influence and direct your career. This relates to your sense of self and faith in your ability to handle a wide range of tasks and situations. A strong sense of purpose and agency helps you to be psychologically stable, yet flexible in the face of conflict or change. From there you can take control of your career with intention and chart your course.
Here are ways to further develop agency:
- Ask for challenges at work. Ask to take on more. Great leaders work hard for a season of their life.
- Educate yourself. The great leaders of our time read. So, read daily, and take classes and courses to develop and invest in yourself.
- Understand politics and economies and how it affects you and your industry. Knowing what is happening in your city, country, and economy and how it impacts you personally and your industry has a direct correlation with your effectiveness as a leader.
- Define your boundaries and values so you know where you stand and what you will and will not accept in advance.
- Understand and exercise your authority whether this is in your position as a leader or as an individual contributor.
- Set goals that are in alignment with your core values, purpose, and mission in life.
I will be discussing five themes at the conference, but the first and most important is agency. I will write more in the days ahead on the others. My personal brand is IMPACT, so I hope that this is helpful as I am committed to helping others and making an impact. Please comment below and let me know how I can help you develop your personal leadership brand.
Love and blessings to all.