“Your Brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room” – Jeff Bezos, Amazon
Developing your personal brand is essential because it can open many business opportunities. It can lead to better clients, recognition in your industry and more money. Customers trust people more than corporations and that’s why you should focus on building your personal brand.
Check out 8 great strategies that successful people never told you about personal branding:
1. They Own Their Name Online
When you start becoming successful you will face people who will be jealous of your accomplishments. Some of them might write inaccurate things about you in an attempt to bring you down.
Your name is your reputation and you should grab your own domain name immediately, whether you plan to use it or not. You should never risk letting someone getting your domain name and hurt your reputation! Never!
You can buy domain names economically from sites like namecheap for just 10$. It’s very important to buy a .com domain name because this is the default ending almost everybody knows.
If you have a very common name like Garry Jones and you can’t find a garryjones.com domain you could buy the inverted version: JonesGarry.com or you could buy a domain adding your profession in the link.
For instance, if you are a personal trainer you could buy the domain Garryjonesfitness.comAdvertising
A great example of a successful man who owns his online name is Neil Patel.
2. They Help Other People a Lot
The best strategy you can use if you want to grow your personal brand is to genuinely help people. Those who are successful in personal branding like to help others without any selfish motives.
This not only makes them feel great but their generosity returns back from multiple sources. You should try to help people even if there is nothing in there for you.
Most people remember who helped them and they will stand by your side in the future if you ever need them. Sure, many people are selfish, care only about themselves and they won’t help you even if you help them.
But some of them will appreciate your generosity and will eventually return it back either by helping you in something else or by talking to other people about how great you are.
This creates buzz around your name which is essential for your brand’s growth.
3. They Give Importance in Social Media
Twitter is a good network in connecting people especially if you can intrigue users with your mentions. But you shouldn’t stay only in twitter. Build profiles in Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Stumbleupon and Instagram.
Set up your profile in every social media and be sure to link to each other. After registering you don’t have to develop one hundred social media accounts simultaneously. Focusing on too many things is a recipe for failure.Advertising
Pick 1-2 social media that you prefer depending on your niche and focus on them. Having profiles on the other social media won’t harm you at all and it will help to dominate the search results with your name.
Bow you might be thinking that managing a lot of social media profiles can be a exhausting and time-consuming. That’s why you could use a tool like HootSuite that helps you schedule your tweets, facebook posts etc and check your updates in all your profiles simultaneously.
4. They Use Smiling Photos in Their Social Media Profiles
Smiling costs nothing, it’s easy to implement and creates an emotional connection with your audience. People buy from people that they know and trust.Smiling can make you look more friendly and speed up the emotional connection between you and your fans, readers or potential customers.
Have you ever thought why being around children who smile makes you smile too? Because smile is contagious and this applies even to strangers.
A research from British researchers has found that smiling can be as stimulating as 2000 chocolate bars or 25.000$ in cash. That’s how powerful a simple smile is.
5. They Are Living Their Brands
Your brand is more than just what you say about yourself. It’s a symbol, a feeling, sound, tonality and much more. It’s the emotion you create to your customers.
People who have built successful personal brands are the ones who totally believe in what they teach. They not only talk the talk but also walk the walk showing the example to their followers. Your fans can sense when you are inauthentic and in the first hint of fraud they will walk away.
6. They Leverage Content Marketing
Nowadays, in an age of technology and internet expansion it is essential to create and distribute your knowledge and expertise online. Internet is one of the best ways to build your brand and gain publicity. Of course, you should care about helping people (look number 2) and providing useful advice.Advertising
If you do this you will be considered trustworthy and you will start building an audience. This audience will help in spreading your content and boost your brand’s growth.
A good idea is to start your own blog, which you must have done already (look number 1) and update it at least 2-3 times per week. However writing content only for your blog when you are new and nobody knows you is like talking in an empty classroom. That’s why you should try guest blogging to build your reputation and gain traffic from bigger blogs.
7. They Use Guest Blogging to Build Their Brand
Jon Morrow from Boostblogtraffic has said that the only thing he would focus on to build his personal brand if he was starting from the scratch is guest blogging. Guest blogging is one of the best ways to gain exposure to new audiences that you couldn’t reach normally.
It also improves your brand recognition and makes your name more trustworthy. According to Jon, it’s also a great way to gain experience as a writer and improve your writing skills.
8. They Build Relationships With Influencers
Networking is one of the most important aspects of personal branding. You should constantly try to come in contact with influencers and well-known people in your niche. However you should be careful and don’t become annoying. Influencers are extremely busy and helping someone they don’t know isn’t in their priority list.
They constantly receive a ton of pitches from people like you who want exposure and advice. In my experience, if you want to build relationships with them you should:
1. Have high quality content that offers value to people.
Without that you will never get the influencers share your work.Advertising
2. Help the influencers.
If you are wondering about how you can help the influencers I have some ideas for you:
- Point out broken links. You can do that with the Check My Links Google Chrome extension.
- Check out their blog and find something like a bug, a problem in navigation or something that needs improvement. Some weeks ago I messaged an influencer in the fitness niche and told him that his mailing list button didn’t work. Some days after, he linked to my content without even asking him. Most readers don’t really care to point out something like that because they are bored to contact the influencers. Taking the time to help and give them value can separate you from the rest who just want to take without giving.
3.Leave insightful comments on their blogs and share their best work in your social media profiles daily so you can get into their radars.
4. Link to their articles from your blog. Of course you should not overdo it and link only if they have written something relevant which is also extremely useful.
5. Interact with them on social media. For instance, if they ask a question take some time to answer and tell them your opinion.
You should have in mind that building your personal brand takes time. How much? It takes as long as it takes. It’s a continuous process and not an one-night-stand.
Though overnight success doesn’t exist, investing to your personal branding and reputation is one of the best investments you could ever make.
Do you have any other ideas that can help in building your personal brand? I would love to hear your opinions or even your personal branding stories in the comments below.
Featured photo credit: Steve Jurvetson via flickr.com
Last Updated on April 9, 2020
5 Types of Leadership Styles (And Which Is Best for You)
It takes great leadership skills to build great teams.
The best leaders have distinctive leadership styles and are not afraid to make the difficult decisions. They course-correct when mistakes happen, manage the egos of team members and set performance standards that are constantly being met and improved upon.
With a population of more than 327 million, there are literally scores of leadership styles in the world today. In this article, I will talk about the most common types of leadership and how you can determine which works best for you.
Table of Contents
5 Types of Leadership Styles
I will focus on 5 common styles that I’ve encountered in my career: democratic, autocratic, transformational, transactional and laissez-faire leadership.
The Democratic Style
The democratic style seeks collaboration and consensus. Team members are a part of decision-making processes and communication flows up, down and across the organizational chart.
The democratic style is collaborative. Author and motivational speaker Simon Sinek is an example of a leader who appears to have a democratic leadership style.
The Autocratic Style
The autocratic style, on the other hand, centers the preferences, comfort and direction of the organization’s leader. In many instances, the leader makes decisions without soliciting agreement or input from their team.
The autocratic style is not appropriate in all situations at all times, but it can be especially useful in certain careers, such as military service, and in certain instances, such as times of crisis. Steve Jobs was said to have had an autocratic leadership style.
While the democratic style seeks consensus, the autocratic style is less interested in consensus and more interested in adherence to orders. The latter advises what needs to be done and expects close adherence to orders.
The Transformational Style
Transformational leaders drive change. They are either brought into organizations to turn things around, restore profitability or improve the culture.
Alternatively, transformational leaders may have a vision for what customers, stakeholders or constituents may need in the future and work to achieve those goals. They are change agents who are focused on the future.
Examples of transformational leader are Oprah and Robert C. Smith, the billionaire hedge fund manager who has offered to pay off the student loan debt of the entire 2019 graduating class of Morehouse College.
The Transactional Style
Transactional leaders further the immediate agenda. They are concerned about accomplishing a task and doing what they’ve said they’d do. They are less interested in changing the status quo and more focused on ensuring that people do the specific task they have been hired to do.
The transactional leadership style is centered on short-term planning. This style can stifle creativity and keep employees stuck in their present roles.
The Laissez-Faire Style
The fifth common leadership style is laissez-faire, where team members are invited to help lead the organization.
In companies with a laissez-faire leadership style, the management structure tends to be flat, meaning it lacks hierarchy. With laissez-faire leadership, team members might wonder who the final decision maker is or can complain about a lack of leadership, which can translate to lack of direction.
Which Leadership Style do You Practice?
You can learn a lot about your leadership style by observing your family of origin and your formative working experiences.
Whether you realize it, from the time you were born up until the time you went to school, you were receiving information on how to lead yourself and others. From the way your parents and siblings interacted with one another, to unspoken and spoken communication norms, you were a sponge for learning what constitutes leadership.
The same is true of our formative work experiences. When I started my communications career, I worked for a faith-based organization and then a labor union. The style of communication varied from one organization to the other. The leadership required to be successful in each organization was also miles apart. At Lutheran social services, we used language such as “supporting people in need.” At the labor union, we used language such as “supporting the leadership of workers” as they fought for what they needed.
Many in the media were more than happy to accept my pitch calls when I worked for the faith-based organization, but the same was not true when I worked for a labor union. The quest for media attention that was fair and balanced became more difficult and my approach and style changed from being light-hearted to being more direct with the labor union.
I didn’t realize the impact those experiences had on how I thought about my leadership until much later in my career.
In my early experience, it was not uncommon for team members to have direct, brash and tough conversations with one another as a matter of course. It was the norm, not the exception. I learned to challenge people, boldly state my desires and preferences, and give tough feedback, but I didn’t account for the actions of others fit for me, as a black woman. I didn’t account for gender biases and racial biases.
What worked well for my white male bosses, did not work well for me as an African American woman. People experienced my directness as being rude and insensitive. While I needed to be more forceful in advancing the organization’s agenda when I worked for labor, that style did not bode well for faith-based social justice organizations who wanted to use the love of Christ to challenge injustice.
Whereas I received feedback that I needed to develop more gravitas in the workplace when I worked for labor, when I worked for other organizations after the labor union, I was often told to dial it back. This taught me two important lessons about leadership:
1. Context Matters
Your leadership style must adjust to each workplace you are employed. The challenges and norms of an organization will shape your leadership style significantly.
2. Not All Leadership Styles Are Appropriate for the Teams You’re Leading
When I worked on political campaigns, we worked nonstop. We started at dawn and worked late into the evening. I couldn’t expect that level of round-the-clock work for people at the average nonprofit. Not only couldn’t I expect it, it was actually unhealthy. My habit of consistently waking up at 4 am to work was profoundly unhealthy for me and harmful for the teams I was leading.
As life coach and spiritual healer Iyanla Vanzant has said,
“We learn a lot from what is seen, sensed and shared.”
The message I was sending to my team was ‘I will value you if you work the way that I work, and if you respond to my 4 am, 5 am and 6 am emails.’ I was essentially telling my employees that I expect you to follow my process and practice.
As I advanced in my career and began managing more people, I questioned everything I thought I knew about leadership. It was tough. What worked for me in one professional setting did not work in other settings. What worked at one phase of my life didn’t necessarily serve me at later stages.
When I began managing millennials, I learned that while committed to the work, they had active interests and passions outside of the office. They were not willing to abandon their lives and happiness for the work, regardless of how fulfilling it might have been.
The Way Forward
To be an effective leader, you must know yourself incredibly well. You must be self-reflective and also receptive to feedback.
As fellow Lifehack contributor Mike Bundrant wrote in the article 10 Essential Leadership Qualities That Make a Great Leader:
“Those who lead must understand human nature, and they start by fully understanding themselves…They know their strengths, and are equally aware of their weaknesses and thus understand the need for team work and the sharing of responsibility.”
The way to determine your leadership style is to get to know yourself and to be mindful of the feedback you receive from others. Think about the leadership lessons that were seen, sensed and shared in your family of origin. Then think about what feels right for you. Where do you gravitate and what do you tend to avoid in the context of leadership styles?
If you are really stuck, think about using a personality assessment to shed light on your work patterns and preferences.
Finally, the path for determining your leadership style is to think about not only what you need, or what your company values, but also what your team needs. They will give you cues on what works for them and you need to respond accordingly.
Leadership requires flexibility and attentiveness. Contrary to unrealistic notions of leadership, being a leader is less about being served and more about being of service.
More Leadership Tips
- Leadership vs Management: Is One Better Than the Other?
- Why Leadership and Management Are Two Sides of a Coin
- 15 Best Leadership Books Every Leader Must Read To Achieve Success
- 50 Inspiring Leadership Quotes from the Greatest Leaders of All Time
Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com