What’s your brand as a leader? New? Stale? Improved?
Whether you like it or not, your brand as a leader is being cultivated in all of the people you come across on a daily basis. Quick judgments are being made in a split second on your capabilities and impact as a leader.
Your leadership brand enables team members, managers, clients and investors to know what to expect from you and your organization. Does your brand instill trust? Integrity? Or inaction and sloppiness?
Establishing a strong brand takes time, commitment and an ongoing effort. Unfortunately, compromising your leadership brand is far simpler. So discover these four ways in which you can quickly tarnish your brand as a leader:
Not Walking Your Talk
Perhaps the primary way to quickly tarnish your leadership “brand” is by displaying a lack of integrity. As a leader, you set the standard for your team. Like it or not, you serve as a role model. A leader that does not follow through on what they have said they will do, or whose actions do not line up with their words, can quickly become frustrated with a complacent and ineffective team. By not following your own advice as a leader, you send a message to your team members that these are not important. Bye-bye brand.
A confident leader is one who models consistent behaviors. When your customers and team members see you adhering to the standards you have set, they are inspired to trust your brand.
“That’s Not My Fault”
Ah, the blame game. One of the most destructive cycles in which today’s leader can find themselves. Whether you are blaming other people or blaming circumstances outside of your control for the obstacles you or your team is facing, the unwillingness to take responsibility for your thoughts, actions and results will tarnish your integrity. Bye-bye brand.
Perhaps you are a new leader who has inherited a less than ideal situation. Maybe your team members have long been in a pattern of poor leadership, poor communication and poor results. While it may be true that creating lasting and sustainable change takes time, resist the impulse to point fingers.There is a reason that you are the leader; the buck stops with you. Own it.
Wallowing in Wishy-Washiness
Don’t be the Charlie Brown of leaders. One of the key causes of inconsistent results is an inconsistent leader. Unpredictability is disconcerting; when the members of your team can not trust you to display consistency in your moods, behaviors and decisions, they are unable to perform with confidence. Bye-bye brand.
Banish wishy-washiness by being honest about the reasons behind your decisions. Allow your team members to gain insight into how and why you make the decisions that you do. When conflicts arise, encourage open communication by listening to both sides of the story before supplying a solution.
If you want to be a more effective leader, focusing on consistency and fairness is a great place to start. Display consistency with your practices and policies. Demonstrate fairness in your communication with and treatment of the members of your team. It is better to stand alone with your opinions and decisions that to be the “Charlie Brown of leaders.”
The final way that you can quickly tarnish your leadership “brand” is by making it all about YOU. By not being humble, and by constantly making yourself the center of attention, you sabotage your efforts to build an effective team. By insisting that you are always in the spotlight, you undermine the efforts of others and take away their drive to perform well. Bye-bye brand.
A leader that displays humility and a willingness to allow others to receive praise for their efforts will be rewarded with a team of motivated and engaged thinkers and doers.
Your leadership brand is you. No one else. Don’t tarnish it. Keep it fresh and renewed so your shelf-life does not expire.