Being a buyer of an existing home versus a newly constructed home is a very different experience. I remember when my husband and I built our previous home. It made such an impact and I still remember it like it was yesterday!  Although we had previously seen the model home, the builder could not start the project without first creating a blueprint for our home. This blueprint was a crucial part of the process. It served as a visual roadmap providing direction and standards to ensure that the outcome – the finished home – met our expectations.

A blueprint is needed to determine where you are going

When it comes to leadership, take it from me, you need a blueprint to keep you on track. Leadership begins with you. According to a recent Gallup Poll, a full 70 percent of leaders just don’t have what it takes to manage others well. Likewise, the same could be said for the confidence to lead as an entrepreneur in start-up mode. Before you get started, you must have a blueprint or an idea of where you are going, and your desired outcome.

Build a clear leadership brand that defines

Think of your top five favorite leaders in business. What makes them great? What you will begin to see is that in order to lead well, these leaders started with a clear personal brand that defined their leadership ideal. But, it wasn’t just about them. To effectively manage themselves and their brand, they needed to understand the mental picture or perceptions that their brand created in the minds of others.

You see, to successfully lead, you must consider who you are and the unique promise of value you deliver in the minds of others. As you influence others and lead them to a place of hope and greatness, consider the kind of mark will you make. To brand yourself as the complete leader, you must follow a blueprint that inspires you to live a life of impact.

Six traits to frame your leadership brand in business

Most of us struggle to lead well. We question our ability to influence others and lack confidence. I can certainly relate to this. However, there are specific traits that I have developed which have created a blueprint and framework for my leadership. Because refinement and reinvention are important for your brand to remain memorable and relevant, it is helpful to keep coming back to this blueprint. Please remember that no matter where you are in your leadership journey, it’s never too late to refine, refresh and refocus. So if you’re feeling off course, don’t stress. Continue to rest and build with these traits in mind:

1. Become Keenly Self Aware- Take the time to get know who you are, what you stand for and the unique promise that you deliver to solve the problems of your connected community or target audience. Rate yourself and your effectiveness. When it comes to being a great leader, what does that look like for you? How will you know that you are successful? What are your leadership goals? Does it mean gaining recognition, making a certain amount of money, or maybe attracting that dream ideal client or position? What contributions are you most proud of? Assess yourself and identify areas where you can improve.

2. Have a Memorable Presence- Create a magnetic leadership presence by showing up fully engaged in the moment for the sake of serving and supporting others. Allow the best of who you are to take center stage to connect, add value and help others to transform. Think of the keystone in a bridge, locking all of the other stones into place. I am firmly convinced that when you create a presence much like a keystone, you serve the purpose of providing that vital support that makes it possible for others to do great things. This type of leadership requires that you be marked or branded as a Keystone Leader or servant leader, complete to lead from the inside out.

3. Lead by Example- Would you follow yourself as a leader? Why or why not? It’s easy to think that you have earned the right to be respected and trusted as a leader. But have you considered the experience that you create for others? Are you consistent and credible in the minds of your connected community or target audience? Reflect on what you stand for as a leader. Remember, if you don’t like what you see, you can always refine and course correct. It’s never too late to start doing what is right!

4. Regularly Evaluate Your Performance- As a leader, you may spend so much time managing your business, correcting the actions of others and putting out the latest fires, that you develop a sense that others are not as capable as you are. Consequently, you may not recognize when you are falling into bad habits that also need to be corrected. Make time on a regular basis to evaluate your brand. Recognize and correct your short-fallings or gaps. Not only will this make you an even better and nimble leader, but you will gain more respect because of your authenticity.

5. Assess Your Reputation- “Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room,” said Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, and I couldn’t agree more. To assess your reputation, it is important to get regular feedback from your connected community. It’s not enough for you to know yourself, but you must also vet your leadership brand against the assessments and perceptions of others. It can be scary, but at least you can see if they truly get you. A simple and easy way to do this is to use an online survey tool, like the one that I use, to allow participants to provide feedback to you anonymously. If you want more information, I would love to share, don’t hesitate to connect with me at cynthia@cynthiawhiteandassociates.com.

6. Forgive Frequently and Fast. Your brand is made up of victories and successes. The successes are always easy to accept, but the mistakes can be a bit more difficult. Yes, some can even negatively impact your brand. However, recognize that mistakes are a part of life’s lessons, and they can actually be used for good if you allow them. Lastly, pay it forward. Not only will you drop the ball and blow it from time to time, but expect the same from others. Branding is not about perfection. So be willing to extend grace by becoming known as the complete leader who is faithful to forgive.


Now over to you: do you have specific things you do to refine, refresh and refocus your leadership brand? Tell me about it in the comments below!