Telling Your Story – Creating Your Personal Brand in the Workplace

Telling Your Story - Showcasing Your Personal Brand in Action

It’s exhausting trying to be someone you’re not. It’s disappointing when your leadership has less influence than you’d like. This month I reflect on personal brand and how it can help with influence, leadership and career satisfaction.

Leadership and Influence

When I speak with and mentor leaders about their personal and professional goals, a common theme is a desire to improve their leadership and influence. I hear stories that they are not visible beyond their boss and immediate team. They don’t share their value, capabilities, viewpoints, and aspirations enough with others. They get passed over for promotions or leadership assignments. I hear about high performers stuck in a role or a certain level. I ask if they have defined their personal brand. The answer is frequently no.

We need authentic leaders who are self-aware and consistent in the face of VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, chaos, and ambiguity) all around them. Having a personal brand will help move your career forward and make you a better leader. If you don’t define your personal brand, others will do it for you, based on their expectations, perceptions and needs.

What is Personal Brand?

It is how others experience you! It is your leadership shadow. It’s also an intentional process for defining, creating, and communicating your unique value. It puts you in the driver’s seat of your life and career. It is a short and clear statement about who you are.

Personal Perspective

I get it. I’ve been there. It wasn’t easy writing this blog. I remember the days when I thought my hard work, value and capabilities spoke for themselves. Of course, hard work and results matter. But it wasn’t enough and held me back from the work I wanted and the leadership impact I aspired to. I had to make a mindset shift that personal brand and self-promotion were authentic, useful, and worthwhile tools. I got serious about exploring my values, purpose, strengths, desires, and style. I embraced feedback and built my personal brand to reflect who I was, who I wanted to be and how I wanted to serve. That was a turning point in my career. The last few years have invited me to refocus and reflect. I made a significant change in my life and career last year intentionally pausing my career. I have been reflecting on who I am, what I have to offer, how I want to lead and what my unique value is. It’s a good time to refresh my personal brand, which I’m doing.

3 Tips to Build Your Personal Brand:

There are plenty of resources available with step-by-step instructions on building your personal brand. I would boil it down to:

  • KNOW yourself: Get clear on WHO you are. Ask yourself: What are my values, purpose, talents, interests? What makes me unique? What is my leadership shadow? What brings me joy? What do I NOT want to do? What dreams have I put on the shelf? Ask others for feedback. How do you experience me? What 5 words would you use to describe me?
  • CREATE your brand: How do you WANT others to experience you? What leadership shadow do you WANT to cast? What unique value will you offer? Craft your personal brand statement. Put these pieces and keywords together into a short and powerful sentence or 2. Be sure to include your values, purpose, talents and interests
  • SHARE yourself: Your brand is YOU. It should be authentic and consistent at home, work and in the community. Bring your personal brand wherever you go, online and in person. Don’t be afraid to seek out, volunteer or take on greater roles of responsibility where you can demonstrate your brand in action.

Want More? Resources:

Creating and Communicating Your Brand – In Life, Career and Mentoring , with Pam Hollander, Vice President, Marketing Strategy and Client Success at TSMGI

You can also find many podcasts, blogs, and articles on personal brand with varying perspectives and personal stories of success and failure to learn from.