Fast Friday with Dorothy Lazovik, Authentic Leaders Edge

Posted December 17, 2010 in Career Management, Communication, Latest News & Insights

Oprah does it.  So does Ellen.  So does Trump.  Today on our e-Roundtable we took another dive into the topic of personal branding with consultant and trainer, Dorothy Lazovik of the Authentic Leaders Edge.  The title of Dorothy’s presentation struck a chord with me, so I’m making it this Friday’s quote of the week:

“Are you who THEY say you are?”

In today’s free agent talent economy, crafting your personal brand (a la Oprah, Trump and Ellen) is not only a smart career strategy, it’s a necessary one.  Whether we realize it or not, every action we take contributes to our “personal brand”… or how others perceive us.  Put in simple terms, what are the first words that other people will associate with when they think of you? Hopefully it’s funny, smart, kind not jerk, idiot, narcissist.  These perceptions are a culmination of actions we’ve taken and words we’ve used.  Different people will have different perceptions of our behavior depending on how they view us and how we interact with them.

Taking control of your personal brand is a conscious exercise that any leader can, and should, undertake.  But before you can start trying to create your brand, you need to know where your current brand is positioned.

Here’s an activity that Dorothy shared that can help you start to figure that out:

  1. Make a list of how you want to be known
  2. Narrow your list down to 5 or 6 key things
  3. Share your list with individuals around you to get their feedback on your list.
    • Choose people who are champions and supporters
    • Ask them what other words they may use to describe you
  4. Reflect on the differences between your “ideal” list and how those close to you perceive you
  5. Identify which behaviors you want to develop
  6. Create an action plan specifying all the ways you can demonstrate this new behavior (what will you say / do)
  7. Ask your champions for feedback after a few months to see if they notice a difference

One more tip from Dorothy… it’s easier to start doing a new behavior than to stop doing a negative behavior, so keep that in mind when you look at gaps.

Years ago I did a similar exercise where I ranked a list of 20 attributes in order of how I saw myself.  I then gave the list to my direct reports who then ranked me based on how they saw me.  The startling thing was a) how different their top 5 were from my own and b) how amazingly similar their lists were to each other.  It’s a good exercise to do and eye-opening as a leader to see how you’d like to be perceived vs. how your team really is interpreting your actions and behaviours.

Give it a try.  (If you’d like a list of attributes to work from, send me an email.)

Happy leading!

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