• 4 Traits Common to Leadership and Personal Branding

    Posted by in Personal Branding, Your Authentic Brand With | 2 Comments

    We all know there's good stress and there’s bad stress. One gives you energy and passion, the other wreaks havoc on your looks and your health.  Good stress is what helps you ace your exam, get the job you’ve been after, or strengthen your relationships.  Good or positive stress provides a level of energy that enables you to perform at higher levels when it’s appropriate.

    In his book, "The One Thing You Need to Know… About Great Managing, Great Leading and Sustained Individual Success", Marcus Buckingham identified five needs that all of humanity shares.  And he goes on to suggest that these five needs should command our greatest attention in our quest to become a great leader.  Through his research, Buckingham found that leaders carry a vivid image in his or her head of what the future could be. "Leaders are fascinated by the future. You are a leader if, and only if you are restless for change, impatient for progress, and deeply dissatisfied with the status quo." He explains, "As a leader, you are never satisfied with the present, because in your head you can see a better future." And so you see, the stress you may be experiencing just might be a good thing, if you have the desire for improved change and progress.

    The personal branding process, when thoroughly accomplished, is linked to four of these five human needs. Successful personal branding is about identifying the qualities that differentiate you and project your authentic self–your goals, vision, purpose and values.  The more you are able to understand how personal branding goes beyond just marketing yourself, the easier it will be to incorporate the entire process into your professional development plan.  It’s about recognizing how you use your personal brand to facilitate trust and develop credibility.

    Of the five human needs that are required to be a great leader, four of those needs are affected in the personal branding process. 


    1. The Need for Community.  Identifying your target audience enables you to communicate your message to those who need to know about you so you aren't perceived as an outsider. Having a strong personal brand helps you to build your community by connecting with those that have a common interest. Another person's intuition about your shared common interests and values are validated non-verbally. For example, what if the community you wish to build values success. It's quite possible that others are going to look to associate themselves with successful looking people. Does your appearance and behavior communicate established success?

    2. The Need for Clarity. Developing clarity for who you are and what you want will transform angst for the unknown into confidence for the future.  The clearer you are in communicating through words, actions, appearance, on-line postings, etc., the clearer you can see where you are, and the easier it will be to see (and for others to see) where you're headed. Without being rigid, a high degree of consistency gives others the opportunity to reinforce your brand in their hearts and minds. Is there clarity and consistency in what you communicate about yourself?  

    3. The Need for Authority. Depending on your personality, you may prefer to work for someone who is in charge, but when it comes to your career, you are the authority figure. Being organized will help you to keep chaos at bay and put you in control. Classifying things is a basic human need. Take the time to organize your thoughts regarding your values, passions, vision, purpose and goals.  Know your strengths, and identify what you'll need to know as you give thought to where you would like to be three, five and ten years down the road. Plan ahead. Does your image communicate that you are in charge of your life? 

    4. The Need for Respect.  Society places value on individuals who are distinct and have a positive self-image over a negative one. In order to facilitate trust and develop credibility, you need to be aware of what other people think of you. Your brand is held in the hearts and minds of those who know and experience you. Wouldn't you want to know if there was something about you that could potentially interfere with you reaching a goal? Making the effort to improve upon a negative impression will be seen as a positive move which will help you in earning the respect of others.

    I understand that not everyone aspires to become the next great world or business leader, but in order to sustain individual success you do want to become the leader or the CEO of “Me, Inc".  In his 1997 article, "A Brand Called You", Tom Peters shined the spotlight on the concept of personal branding, and as you can see, it goes beyond just marketing your self.

    Addressing these needs by discovering and utilizing your personal brand requires some effort that will actually reduce stress in the long run. The process itself will help you to develop a vivid image, which becomes the foundation for the strategy that will move you forward.

    In the new world of work, fearing or resisting change will only serve to keep you on the side lines. Make the commitment to develop your personal brand and put yourself in the game.

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    Diana Jennings
    Diana Jennings is the founder of Brand You Image – a personal branding and image management company based in Southern California. A specialist in non-verbal communication, she brings a sophisticated understanding of people and a passion for growth to those working to reach their personal and professional goals. Typical engagements involve the development of high potential individuals and senior level management in personal brand discovery, image management, social and business behavior, and body language for better communication and interaction with others.

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Comments (2)

Bryan Lubic » 19. Nov, 2010

Great post Diana!
Really appreciate and applaud your connection of branding and leadership.
Especially fantastic: great closing quote–>
“In the new world of work, fearing or resisting change will only serve to keep you on the side lines. Make the commitment to develop your personal brand and put yourself in the game.”
Yes, exactly!
Thank you for another awesome contribution to help career-minded professionals make the most of their careers!

Jann Watt » 16. Aug, 2011

Great post and totally agree with Bryan’s comments. I look forward to sharing this with my clients. I was discussing point 4 with a client today who had missed out on their dream leadership role. They have experienced first hand the need to gain respect and the value seeking regular feedback on how their style was viewed by their peers.

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