It has been said that success is made up of three areas: Performance, Image, and Exposure. Each day you sell your brand or image, like companies advertise your favorite shoe or car. Have you ever noticed your fellow teammate that leaves early, no matter how much work is left? Or what about the one that always has some form of pushback, when a new process is rolled out? What about the one that lacks accountability, when they are confronted about something? Did you notice the one that never takes the time to iron his clothes? Do you see how these individuals and isolated instances directly correlate to a leadership competency, or lack thereof? The truth is, in the world of project management you are always being watched by a possible client, unbeknownst to you. Therefore, always representing your brand is essential.
Building your personal brand is extremely critical. It is important to identify what you want your name to be synonymous with, and create a short, succinct “brand statement”. It should describe something you are passionate about, skilled at, and represent what your clients need and value. Inevitably, the people you work with perceive you a certain way, and this undoubtedly becomes a piece of your brand by default. However, one must decide and strategically design what they want their personal brand to be and stick to it.
A project manager’s ability to influence others and build relationships depends as much on the “brand recognition” element, as it does on the face-to-face or voice-to-voice communication. A large part of our communication is with people who know us and have experienced an interaction with us, in some form or fashion. If that interaction is a positive one, it is likely to continue, and our ability to facilitate dialogue and convince them to support our ideas or processes improves significantly.
As a leader, it’s important to define your leadership style and embody a keen awareness of who you are, what you are doing, why you are doing it, and the impact it will have on the work. Leaders who actively design their brand can successfully manage career progressions, learn and share with colleagues, and maximize opportunities that align with their purpose. A strong brand known for a persistent devotion to connecting, rather than confronting, will be a key differentiator for your career and your personal life. Bottom line — your personal brand matters!