Leaders all over the world have been challenged to step up like never before. I have always said that true leadership shows up when we face challenges. And 2020 seems to be the year where we can truly show what we are made of.
I am working with a client in the hospitality industry. You know that this industry has been hit particularly hard with social distancing rules being enforced in March, followed by closures, followed by opening to in-house guests followed by another closure – well here in Melbourne, Australia anyway but I know that it’s not so different anywhere else in the world. I work closely with the national operations director who has always been a strong leader but he truly stepped up during this challenge. He makes courageous decisions focussing on the welfare of staff and patrons while keeping the company afloat by pivoting their services. The many changes this national food provider has been through tested the leadership and it’s one of the best examples of showcasing how it’s done. His leadership brand has always been strong: confident, sound decision maker, people person, excellent communicator, efficient operator. I wouldn’t say it’s much different now, it’s just super exposed!
Our people, teams, clients and stakeholders look to us and our leadership in these times of immense change and we have a unique opportunity to define our leadership brand and determine what kind of leader we want to be known for after this crisis. It’s like thinking about our legacy. Leaders who come out of this crisis in a positive light with businesses and teams that have not only survived but are striving, will be more resilient than ever.
I have developed a model to help with creating our leadership brand. We have to know who we are so we can show up in a way that people know who we are:
- Your strengths
- How you add value
- What your purpose is
Our brand message sits right in heart of these 3 steps. Here is how it works: write down your strengths, add more from feedback from other people. Then circle your top 2 strengths that become your superpowers. You can make this responsive specifically to this crisis. Then think about how you add value -to your teams, stakeholders, clients. And lastly, determine what your purpose is, why you get up in the morning. Then put these 3 parts together and create your brand message.
Here is mine: I am a confident and warm coach. (strengths) I build trust with my clients quickly so I can take them outside their comfort zone to look at challenges and situations from a different perspective. That helps them to make changes and create workplaces where people are happy AND productive. (value) I am passionate about helping people realise their potential – one leader at a time. (purpose)
Your leadership brand message builds the foundation of who you are as a leader. As we know from the iceberg model, everything underneath the iceberg drives our behaviour, thus we have to know who we are first. How that shows up in the reality is through our actions and behaviour. This determines our impact. I created a model to show what impact looks like when it comes to behaviour:
- Actions: what you do
- Behaviour: How you show up
- Communication: What you say
If you want to be known as a strong leader who leads change well, communicates with confidence and empathy and makes courageous decisions, you not only need to check in with your brand message (underneath the iceberg) but make sure you show up in this way in your actions, your behaviour and communication. That’s your authenticity, your authentic power. Here are some practical steps:
- Plan your actions
- Use EQ to determine how you want to show up
- Develop a communications plan
Be intentional about planning your impact. Leadership doesn’t just happen, it’s a deliberate plan with intention and delivery.
For information on Leadership Brand workshops contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org