What’s your personal brand? It’s what people think you are, or, what others say about you when asked to describe you.
And if you look up the definition of “reputation” you’ll find that it means exactly the same thing.
It’s something of a scary concept because you don’t get to decide, demand or insist on your personal brand. We do.
In order to enhance, improve or polish up your personal brand you’re going to have to focus on your actions. Because others’ opinion of you is largely shaped by your actions, or lack thereof.
And this is important because your personal brand/reputation can work both for you, and against you, and you’ll often never know the consequences.
For example, if you have a reputation for being skilled and knowledgeable but caustic, your co-workers may like your work product but dislike dealing with you. If they don’t like interacting with you, you can be sure that you are missing out on opportunities that will render you less effective and stymie your career growth.
While that’s an example of a negative reputation, a positive reputation can work exactly the same way.
Let’s say you’re a leader with a reputation for strong integrity. One of your staff or teammates is asked in a meeting if they think you will get behind a plan that is ethically questionable. Your staff can influence the decision by stating that they are certain you will not support the plan.
Your reputation has just influenced the outcome and you weren’t even in the meeting.
Reputation is built on consistency
When you do things consistently people expect that you will act in the same fashion going forward whether it be good or bad.
While one bad day won’t destroy a hard-earned strong personal brand, continuously working to be your best is crucial. My father has always said, “You’re only as good as your last day.” Make them all count.
Five things you should do consistently to enhance your personal brand/reputation.
- Be truthful – you’re only as good as your word
- Treat everyone with respect – not just those with authority
- Be your authentic self – everyone else is already taken
- Do what you say you’re going to do – it builds trust in your actions
- Do not compromise your values – everyone can see that from a mile away
Despite our best efforts, sometimes it can be difficult to gain a clear picture of our personal brand. We all see the world through our own lens and it might be quite different than the lens others see you through.
To help you gain a clearer awareness of your personal brand we’ve developed a Personal Brand Assessment Guide. The guide will walk you through the steps to assess your personal brand, analyze your findings and create a plan to refresh it.
A strong personal brand is not cultivated overnight, or in a vacuum. It takes commitment, consistency and a willingness to look at yourself through the lens of others.
It’s an investment in yourself, and you’re worth the effort.
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