In my last post, I talked about some of the behaviours we look for in our future leaders and shared more insights from our recent Leadership Forum. In this post I wanted to take that thought further and explore the idea of personal brands. That is, what you represent and how you put yourself out there in a way that supports your path to leadership.
In my last post, I talked about some of the behaviours we look for in our future leaders and shared more insights from our recent Leadership Forum. In this post, I wanted to take that thought further and explore the idea of personal brands. That is, what you represent and how you put yourself out there in a way that supports your path to leadership.
Businesses in all sectors are increasingly devoting more time and investment to the social impact and value of their businesses, beyond the profit margin. For Enterprise, it’s embedded in our organisation at every level. Part of our training for future managers – and one of the areas they have to demonstrate in order to be promoted – is how they have given back, and what they’ve learnt from it. This is how we like to put it:
“Be a coach, be a trainer, be something to other people. Give back to the community you live in.”
This is something we really believe in, it plays a big part in our diversity strategy, from the inside out. Oz Choudhri, Public Sector National Sales Manager explains more about our diverse workforce and customer base:
What is this ‘personal brand’ concept?
Personal brand is a phrase you may hear thrown around from time to time, and not just in relation to the Beckhams. Social media plays an increasing role in the communication channel as well as having an impact on brand perception and reputation – not just directly from a company – but also from the people within it. This is just one of the ways you might be building Brand ‘You’.
Your personal brand is judged on much more than your social media commentary. It’s your appearance, what you say and how you act. So when you’re thinking about you as a brand, think about how you might come across to others. How would other people describe you? Are those accurate brand traits?
If there’s one thing we know about leaders, it’s that everyone has an opinion on them. Are you ready to hear what others might say about you when you take on a senior role?
Brand ‘You’ in the social space
Many people talk about personal brand in relation to social media, as we briefly touched on earlier. And rightly so. It’s never been easier to share an opinion with the world as it is now, with the likes of Facebook and Twitter. But is what you’re saying taken in the way you intended? Does is really represent what you want your personal brand to stand for?
Think about which networks you engage with, and perhaps more critically, how?
If you’re a specialist in a particular sector looking for greater seniority in that role, there could be value in developing your social presence in a way that demonstrates your expertise. Being reflective of your skill set can really help you build a career plan. Think about what you want out of your career, and how you can use the tools around you to get there. Sak Gill knew exactly what he wanted when he chose Enterprise for his career:
Know your strengths – and play to them
Really knowing what you’re good at, and highlighting it to others is important. But knowing your weaknesses is critical. You need both sides of the coin to succeed and be a credible leader that others respect.
The road to success requires reflection, devotion and a willingness to do what’s difficult – as well as humility and acceptance. It takes time and ‘mind space’ to get there. We all have busy lives and juggling is a core skill for any leader. Take working mums for example – in fact we actively recruit for a 50% female workforce. Making the triangle between home, school and work as small as possible so you can be at all three easily is crucial.
Many companies, not just Enterprise, really support working parents. In every aspect of their business, leadership included. Rachel Folkemer, our Group Manager at Enterprise Business Support was promoted while on maternity leave. This is what she has to say about juggling family life and work:
A few final words of advice
I wanted to finish on a really practical piece of advice because being senior is about well-managed logistics and good planning too. Long commutes are draining. So is never getting to see your daughter’s play or hear your son’s choir because you work so far away. Create the right physical circumstances that will enable you to succeed and get everything done without feeling stretched.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this short series of posts on career touchstones. I’ve shared many real experiences and advice from our leadership team. Many if not all of which are relevant to many businesses.
Of course, there are certain practices at Enterprise that make us different from many other companies. But I think most businesses today are looking for many of the same qualities from their leaders. In developing our senior leaders, we’re committed to providing the support and structure to allow everyone the opportunity to achieve their goals – because we know that’s how we will get the best results for our people, our customers and our business.