Strong relationship skills are a common trait of effective leaders. In their relationships with others these leaders are admired because they add something special in the relationship, that is to say they have a distinctive point of view that can make a difference. When the distinctive quality is on display time-after-time, leaders are believed to be authentic in their relationships with others. Authenticity takes a strong sense of self and the courage to consistently apply one’s special qualities. The authentic personal brand framework combines the process of declaring one’s authentic self and the skills to get credit from others for the distinctive difference that defines a value-added relationship.
There are five fundamental concepts to understanding the authentic personal brand framework.
- The power of positive perceptions.
- The strength that is derived when perceptions of you are distinctive, relevant and consistent.
- The trust that results from making a difference, not just the perception of being different.
- The importance of having the courage to define a strong personal brand platform that inspires you to make a difference in the important relationships in your life.
- The leverage that comes from the power of alignment in achieving your short-term and long-term goals.
These insights are based upon the experiences of many individuals who have used the authentic personal brand framework to become more effective leaders.
“It isn’t what they say about you, it’s what they whisper.” – Errol Flynn
Actor Errol Flynn’s profound insight speaks volumes about perceptions. It is an insight that every business professional that values the role of productive relationships must understand to be an effective leader. Perceptions may be the most important of all the tenets that comprise the concept of authentic personal brand. When an individual holds themselves accountable to the perceptions they create with others, they expand the possibilities of the relationship. Embracing the intangible nature of perceptions will expand the possibilities of every relationship.
In some regards perception is a straightforward concept, one that is easy to understand intellectually, but is not intuitive for many people. Perception is about sensing, feeling and empathy and is an example of a “soft” business skill that has, by its nature, limited the way it is incorporated into personal development and leadership. To fully understand the potential of a healthy, productive relationship, one must be willing to be held accountable to perceptions.
The study of the concept of perceptions has its roots deep in the behavior sciences and if you read enough it can get so complex you begin to wonder what side of the mirror you are facing! There is no need for me to present a theoretical construct that supports a purer understanding of perceptions. Applying the notion of perceptions to personal brand building requires only a basic understanding of the concept. The more difficult part is the discipline of viewing things from someone else’s perspective and the fortitude to hold oneself accountable for the perception that is created and not the action that was taken.
Incorporating perceptions into your everyday thought process starts with the following easy steps:
- Decide what perceptions you want to create in the minds of others. Establishing perceptions with other individuals doesn’t have to be held to chance. Building a strong brand starts with deciding what perceptions you want to create. Determining the desired perceptions is a decision based on careful consideration and commitment. Decide on the set of perceptions you want to create, based on the following criteria: first and foremost focus on the qualities that make you distinctive from others; make sure the perceptions are targeted at what is most important in your relationships; and be sure the targeted perceptions are based upon the qualities you can consistently deliver.
- Be accountable for creating perceptions as often as possible. Every action leaves an impression. Some perceptions are created intentionally, though many are not. We are all accountable for the perceptions we create. A lack of accountability can create unintentional consequences in our relationships with others. When there is a gap between how you want to be perceived and how you are actually perceived, the relationship can suffer.
- Measure the perceptions. Perceptions are real and can be measured. Continual improvement starts with measurement. A commitment to consistently measuring and assessing the perceptions others have of you is fundamental to the positive growth of your authentic personal brand.
Perceptions of your brand define the limits and possibilities of relationships with others. When someone’s perceptions underestimate an individual, the relationship never achieves its potential. When perceptions are in synch with the true qualities of an individual, the full potential for the relationship is a real possibility. When perceptions grow with the possibilities of an individual, leadership potential is unbounded.
Understanding the role of perceptions is a good start to building a stronger and more authentic personal brand, a competency that will add to your leadership abilities.
Posted by Karl D. Speak