How To Build Your Leadership Brand
Like it or not, we will all become leaders one day as we climb the corporate ladder. That is a fact. Whether you have a team under you or you are mentoring a group of interns.
Interestingly, leadership requires distinct behaviours and attitudes. It does not operate the same as how you may operate now.
Think about this – before you are a leader, success is all about growing your own career. But once you become a leader, success is all about growing others.
In this leadership branding workshop specially curated for the insurance industry, attendees included both the seasoned financial consultants and aspiring agency leaders.
So if you want to be a leader but you missed my sharing, fret not. Let me recap the 3 proven ways how you can build your leadership brand.
Tip #1: Know Your Leadership Style
As a leader (or aspiring one), you should first start by discovering your leadership style.
Different leaders lead differently. Some lead by example, others by encouragement and surprisingly, some by fear.
Knowing your leadership style is important because you need to know how you normally act and react to people. More importantly, knowing your leadership style allows you to adapt your style to different situations.
All leaders have a preferred leadership style. But do note that leadership styles are not static and should not be. All leaders should be adaptive and flexible to comfortably switch between styles. It depends on the situation, who’s involved and what’s at stake.
For example, when dealing with an imminent crisis, a leader should adopt a more directive style and not appear to be wishy-washy as the team is looking to him for leadership.
When interacting with newer financial advisers or younger managers, a leader would be best off with a coaching style.
As a leader myself, I personally choose among three leadership styles which I can transit effortlessly.
Tip #2: Express Your Leadership Story
Ask yourself why people should choose to follow you instead of someone else.
If you cannot answer this question, then you must do some deep soul-searching.
All leaders have a brand story. What’s yours?
Each time you share your brand story, is it able to excite, captivate and attract the right audience? If yes, congratulations! Remember, you need to attract talents into your organization or agency (for this matter) in order to grow.
In between the breaks, I spoke to some financial consultants who were kind of shy to openly express their leadership brand story. But hey, if you remain shy, then you will be steamrolled by the other agency leaders out there. In any industry, competition is stiff…what more the insurance industry.
A good piece of homework you can work on is to craft your leadership brand story and say it out loud. Are you excited, captivated and attracted by what you just heard?
Tip #3: Get Your Leader A.C.T Together
All leaders must possess a certain set of values. Of these values, I recommend authenticity, credibility and transparency. Put together, they form my acronym A.C.T.
When leaders get their A.C.T together, magic happens in the organization. Consultants, executives and managers are invigorated because they know the leader walks the talk. He also encourages open channels of communication and there is mutual trust.
I would love to work in an agency under such a dynamic leader!
Conversely, imagine you are sloppy, unprofessional, temperamental and worse, you show favoritism openly.
For each touchpoint, I personally make an effort to ask my team for their honest feedback individually (so no one feels obliged to engage in groupthink). In this way, not only can I improve as a leader, but it also helps uplift the entire mood in the company knowing that I am also constantly improving.
Remember, leaders are humans and not Gods. The day you stop learning, unlearning and relearning is the day your team (or agency) gets overtaken in the competitive race. And the basic fundamental starts with getting your leadership A.C.T together.
Leadership is an ongoing and constantly evolving journey for everyone. But the safest and surest way to ensure you are on the right track is to work on your leadership brand =)