I was on a teleconference this morning regarding the development of future leaders in the region in which I work (AP) and one of our senior leaders brought up the topic of defining one's leadership brand. The definition used was that your leadership brand is what people say about you when you leave the room.This got me thinking - how exactly does one control this conversation? Which led me to the question - are leaders formedor born? The implication being - if leaders are born then it's a very limited club whereas if leaders are formed this is an opportunity anyone can materialize. Either way, the impressions you leave via your style or brand still need to be managed to the best of your ability.
One of the best books I've ever read on the topic is the 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John C. Maxwell - specifically his top 3 laws:
The Law of the Lid: Leadership Ability Determines a Person’s Level of Effectiveness.
The Law of Influence: The True Measure of Leadership is Influence– Nothing More, Nothing Less
The Law of Process– Leadership Develops Daily, Not in a Day
Maxwell believes leaders are born not formed and I agree with him, to a point. Where we diverge, however, is that there is not one type of leader but four if you agree with the Strengths Based Leadership philosophy. Because the 34 talents identified by the Gallup organization can be subdivided into 4 domains - Execution, Influence, Relationship Building, and Strategic Thinking, I take that to mean there are 4 types of potential leaders within any group or organization.
So this leads us back to defining your leadership brand. I submit to you 5 key questions for consideration as you go about identifying and building your leadership brand.
To what degree do you understand your natural, instinctive talents? Taking the CliftonStrengths assessment can help you increase understanding.
Do you actively apply and develop these talents every day on the job and in your personal life? If you are not in a position to apply what you are naturally good at, how can you get better?
How much have you invested in developing your unique leadership qualities through reading and coaching? Theory states that you should allocate at least 30% of your time to developing via reading and coaching.
To what degree are you people-oriented or task-oriented? People-oriented leaders are typically strong in the influence and relationship building domains whereas task-oriented leaders are strong in strategic thinking and execution domains. Knowing this keeps you in your strengths zone.
What is the difference between a boss and a leader? Is your leadership intent to tell people what to do or to influence their actions due to how well you serve/guide them?
How have you gone about defining your leadership brand? Let us know in the comments section.