Saturday, December 12, 2015

Leadership brand is less about "HOW," and more about "WHY”

If using one word to convey your leadership brand, what would it be?

It is the holiday season, many people start shopping the Holiday gifts, and wrap them up. If leadership brand is like the gift box, what is it more about? The fancy box itself, or the content inside? So what’s the substantial content inside the leadership box, and how to build a strong leadership brand?

Authenticity: Leadership brand is less about "HOW," more about "WHY," and “WHAT.” Leadership brand is less about what you look - the stereotypical leadership, and more about what you think - thought leadership. Why do you want to be a leader, and which value can you bring in. A personal brand is the total experience of others capturing the “yourness” of you on who you are and what you represent as an individual; as a leader. It means the inner you, who are you, from the bottom of your heart, the color of your character, and the top of your mind. Once you discover who you truly are, allow those good values to guide you, the words will flow and will take you places you never thought you could go.  Being able to quickly articulate the value that you bring to others is critical to helping others learn about how you can benefit them. For example, if using one word to convey your leadership brand, what would it be - Innovation, Wisdom, Empathy, Authenticity, Visionary, etc, or the opposite -Dictatorship, Stupidity, Narcissism, or Fake., etc. If you are unclear about your own value, others have no hope of understanding how you can help them, and will move on to someone they can understand.     

Vision: Leadership is forward-looking, to make progress. Leadership starts with having a vision, then developing a plan to achieve it. In all cases, a vision of the future is the key to getting started as a leader. Top leaders are visionary roles, it sets the direction for the enterprise (internal and/or external).  If they are not visionary, then they should not be called a CXO. A CXO must be able to add value to an organization through strategy, and strategic thinking involves being visionary. That's a given.

Influence: Branding values is practicing behaviors in oneself. Sometimes there’s gap between self- reflection and how others viewing you due to social, cultural or cognizant difference, so leaders have to make influence on toning ecosystem: The consistency of connecting dots needs to be in the practice of the many great values, highlight some unique and outstanding ones as a brand and a personal tagline. A good brand starts with the person being absolutely clear about what they do, who they will do it for, and crystal clarity about what value they will bring to the table: from creating a solid vision and mission statement, sharing knowledge and wisdom to act the way following well-set principles, presenting strong character, and doing it consistently.

Intelligence: What keeps leaders successful is the intellectual curiosity and ability to continuously be open to learning and applying these learnings as they move forward. The authentic leaders with high and multi-intelligence have adaptability, consistency, and empathy to master business dynamic and cultural differences. They present the ability to manage COMPLEXITY in high digital transparency and stressful digital dynamic. Make fair judgment: Leverage information, analyze and synthesize accordingly. “Believe half of what you see, nothing that you hear, and everything you feel." - Nick C. Ciccone

Empathy is a great leadership quality that's often overlooked. Empathy is about thinking as if you were in the other party's position.  The power of understanding and imaginatively entering into another person's feelings; or the intellectual identification with or vicarious experiencing the feelings, thoughts, or attitudes of another. Empathy means using the right language with the right people. Nothing in the world, in business or in life, is black and white, there is a full spectrum of colors. It could be hinting at another important skill for great leaders, which is respecting other people as if you were in their position, understand things from different angles, and "treat others the same by treating them differently," as late Steve Convey well articulated.

Creativity: Creativity is the #1 skill in demand in the digital era. Creativity is not a "thing," it´s a process that happens as a proactive mental activity to a problem. Creativity is as much defined by the problem as by the capacity of the individual to connect things to resolve that problem in new and sometimes unexpected ways. The digital leaders of the future sense, feel, read, imagine and intuit possibilities in the digital paradigm shift, the crowd-sourcing or brainstorming is happening in real time with people and plays spontaneous networks of human and business operational concerns, to co-solve many thorny problems and overcome numerous challenges facing humanity.

Imagine if you were a gift receiver, would you prefer a fancy empty gift box or a fine box with the most wanted gift inside? The first impression though is important, still, leadership practice needs to be a daily activity and continuous delivery, and building a strong leadership brand is a long lasting journey with focus and dedication.


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