Few nurse leaders probably spend time thinking about managing their careers by establishing a strong personal brand. You may not even think you have one but the reality is that you do. A strong personal brand is what you are known for and how you present yourself to the world. It is the impression that you make and the reputation that you have. It is how you present yourself to the world and what your impact is. Done correctly, you can use it to enhance and leverage career success.
One prominent example of someone with a strong personal brand is Warren Buffett, sometimes called the Oracle of Omaha for his trusted investment advice. When the economy was falling apart in 2008 – political leaders in the US looked to Warren Buffett for guidance. He was at every table where the nation’s economic issues were being discussed. This was because he was deeply trusted not only by business leaders but the American public. He believes in taking very long range views when looking at problems and warned against the risky investments that almost toppled the US economy. He did not mind being called stodgy or old fashion. He has developed investment strategies over time that work. He shares them with the world and rarely deviates from his own advice. Even though he enjoys making money, it has never personally been about the money. He is very generous and lives a frugal life for someone with his net worth.
There are 3 ways that you can build a strong personal brand:
1. Be authentic
Your brand must be true to who you are as a person because ultimately others will define your brand for you through the actions that they see you take. It should be consistent with your core values. Consistency of action is important with your brand. Do what you say you will do. If your actions don’t support the image that you try to create, you will not be successful in building a brand. I once knew an RN leader colleague who believed her brand to be a truly transformational leader but her actions were very inconsistent and few of her staff would have described her in this way.
2. Be known for something
It is important that you know yourself and what you are good at. All of us have some things that we do better than most people – what are those for you? If you were a product with a tagline – what would that be for you? Take the time to speak with many different colleagues to understand how they perceive your strengths and then use this information as you create your personal brand. Ask yourself how you make people feel or what benefits people receive from working with you. Knowing about yourself and how you can best do this is an important key to being successful. If you have a LinkedIn page and others have endorsed you – what have they endorsed you for?
3. Watch your online presence
Today, the first place others may look to learn more about you is online. What does your online presence say about you? Do you regularly Google yourself to see what information about you is prominent? Are pictures of you online professional? – do they convey the type of image you want to send? Are you using LinkedIN to manage your professional identity and connect with others. If you are not, you are missing an opportunity to build your brand.
Once you have created a brand for yourself – be sure to be consistent with that brand and use it to help guide your decision making and how you spend your time and energy. Michael Hyatt, an expert on branding, talks about what a noisy world it is and how important it is today to have a platform or brand. It is an important part of career success so take the time to do it.