A while back I attended a WA Leaders seminar where one of the business leaders speaking cited former SAS Commanding Officer James McMahon’s principle of ‘a culture of leadership at all levels’.
Many forward-thinking organisations would say they are working to foster a culture of leadership across all levels of the business. What does this mean for the development of team members’ personal brands?
Personal brand awareness at the foundation of personal leadership
An organisation that is fostering a culture of leadership must ensure that team members have an awareness of their personal brand at every stage of their career within the company – such as grad level, new employee, new-to-management and so on. An awareness of how they may be perceived, both in person and online, and understanding what they can do to shape this, will support the goals and KPIs of all employees, as well as ensure their personal brands align with company brand values.
Personal brand development to foster leadership qualities
A leader at any level presents ‘like a boss’. They exhibit leadership qualities such as clarity of vision, concern for others, the ability to inspire, and the confidence to put their ideas forward. To get people thinking ‘like a boss’, it’s important to create opportunities for them to try on this role. This includes a consideration of how a leader presents themselves – such as at meetings, at networking events, and on social media. Furthermore, employees can begin to shape their ‘leader’ identities by crafting bios and LinkedIn profiles that confidently and authentically position them as ‘leaders’ in their space.
This may look very different at different levels of the organisation, but what’s important is the mentality that personal branding which speaks to leadership qualities is part of the journey. It’s been my experience that when team members at any level of an organisation spend time working on their personal brands, they immediately see what they are capable of and grow in confidence. This is surely the path towards leadership!
Personal brand and company brand alignment
If company brand values include ‘leadership at all levels’, it follows that developing personal brands with leadership qualities will help individuals to present themselves in ways that align with what their company stands for. This is important because all individuals within an organisation act as brand ambassadors, whether consciously or not – and whether positively or not! With the blurred lines of business and social, online and offline… the organisation’s brand is built up or eroded in many subtle ways, at many levels. It makes sense to ensure company brand values such as leadership are owned and displayed by all staff.