Leaders of organizations are role models — either good or bad.
If they cut corners, their people will cut corners. If they wink at bad practices, their managers will wink too. If they verbally abuse colleagues, others will follow their lead. If they focus only on today and ignore tomorrow, associates will do the same.
If they think public relations is some sort of game to “spin” information, they will encourage others to be less than truthful. If they do any or all of these things, they will detract from respect and therefore their ability to lead.
Make sure your personal brand stands for something.
Invest in your brand
A lot of people will tell you that the best investment you’ll ever make is in your children’s education. That’s actually the second best investment. The very best investment is in your personal brand. Do that well, and you’ll have no problem paying for your children’s college tuition.
Your personal brand is all about what you stand for. Ask yourself tough questions, such as the following:
- Do I always make decisions based on what’s best for the company?
- Am I consistent and even-handed?
- Am I clear and direct in interactions with associates?
- Am I fair-minded?
- Do I hold myself to the same high standards I set for others?
- Do I listen well?
- Would I rather be liked or respected?
- Am I a good role model?
The right answers to those questions are where personal brand-building starts. If you really want to lead, take those questions seriously.
Get close to the action
When leaders pay attention to their personal brands, organizations have a much better chance to flourish.
It’s essential to get out of the office and close to the action.
Three things occur the higher you rise. First, you get less on-the-ground information. Second, information can become so filtered that it’s worthless. Third, it’s easy to miss warning signals of trouble ahead.
A linchpin of leadership is to get out of your comfort zone and mix with stakeholders — employees, customers, neighbors. Your business will be more successful if you are as close to stakeholder issues as often as possible. And, that will set a powerful example for your troops.
Davis Young is the principal of DY Author & Speaker LLC and the author of “Trust is the Tiebreaker,” an e-book published by Smart Business Books, currently on Amazon.com. Contact Young at (440) 248-9550 or Dysolon@aol.com.