The 5Ms to build your leadership brand.
In today’s market, becoming a leader that people want to follow is a competitive advantage. With a tight supply chain and a vibrant labor market, not having a healthy labor pool or an engaged workforce will affect your company’s ability to compete and stay relevant. In her book, Smart Growth, WSJ and USA Today bestselling author Whitney Johnson said, “People are the organization. People prefer to work with leaders they like and believe that all things being equal. So, organizations that will attract, energize, and retain top talent in this competitive talent landscape must develop top-notch leaders.
First-class leaders understand that employees join an organization because of its reputation and stay because of its character. And they come out when the character and reputation of the organization are misaligned. According to a Harvard Business Review report, “More than 9 in 10 employees were willing to trade a percentage of their lifetime earnings for greater meaning at work.” Additionally, a McKinsey study showed that “70% of employees now demand meaningful work.” Understanding that value is determined by the customer, these first-class leaders have developed a purpose-driven brand that woos their talent – they have a compelling vision, know enough about the business to make the right decisions, and speak the language. of their employees.
Below are 5 Ms to help you build and align your purpose-driven brand to energize your people and unleash the power of your organization:
Messenger: Imagine that a salesperson weighing 600 pounds approaches you to purchase a weight loss product. You will pass because the product does not work for the seller. On reflection, you wonder if the seller was falsely advertising the product, not using it as recommended, or just selling it but not using it. This analogy reminds us that the success of a product is measured by its ability to fulfill the purpose for which it is intended. Furthermore, it shows that for messengers to have credibility, who they are and what they stand for must be aligned.
Likewise, your leading brand is like a product. So when you share your vision with your leadership team and employees, they evaluate whether you are joining the conversation. Their ratings will determine how you and your message will be received. Discovering your purpose gives you a gift called conviction, which is essential to doing meaningful work and building on your authentic power. Aligning your purpose, strengths, passions, beliefs, and behaviors is the foundation of authentic leadership and builds trust with your audience.
How to establish trust? Remember that positive interactions build trust and negative interactions erode trust. So make yourself available and accessible to create positive experiences that strengthen your bonds with your employees.
Assignment: Discovering your life purpose is the key to living a fulfilling life. Your mission is the value you create for your stakeholders. The real question is whether it aligns with your strengths and passions. For example, if you’re a turnaround leader at a sustainable company, you’ll be bored. Or, if you enjoy being an individual contributor but managing people, you’ll feel burned out. To assess the degree of alignment between who you are and what you do, take the time to answer the following questions? What percentage of my strength am I using in my current role today? Does my work energize me or exhaust me? Is my work connected to a higher purpose and is it meaningful? Does my work reflect who I am? Are the things that people constantly come to me for help related to my work? Are my professional accomplishments what I am most proud of? Understanding your alignment gaps would help you assess brand fit and mitigate risk by surrounding yourself with people who complement your growth areas.
Bronnie Ware, the international best-selling author of “The Five Biggest Regrets of the Dying”, said that the biggest regret people have on their deathbed is: “I wish I had had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.” What are you going to do with Bronnie’s discoveries? It’s the key to living your best life and energizing your organization.
Membership: It’s about fostering a community where employees have the mindset of an owner, are fully engaged, do their best, build relationships and have fun doing it. To create a membership community rather than a community of followers, you must understand that value is determined by the customer, not the leader or the organization. Change your mindset from “work for me” employees to “work with me” employees. Also, understand what’s most important to your employees—think beyond compensation. For example, do employees have decision-making autonomy? Does your organization’s culture promote the desired behaviors to differentiate your company from your competitors? Are you approaching the future of work options from your perspective (home always wins) or from your employees? In a culture of followership, employees look up to them, they wait to be told what to do. The result is poor commitment, accountability and performance. To reap the benefits of membership, truly care about the people you lead, model the change you want to see, hire for values, not just skills, and act as a team member, not above her.
Meeting place: The leadership equation is not complete without having people to lead. When you’re thirsty, you head to the fridge or the vending machine for a drink, it doesn’t come to you. Similarly, great leaders meet their employees where they are. Before the pandemic, leaders had the luxury of having cooler conversations and walking the halls to connect with their employees and take the pulse of their organizations. Unfortunately, these social interactions have been disrupted during the pandemic.
According to Microsoft’s Work Trends Index report, “over 70% of workers want flexible remote work options to continue, while over 65% want to spend more in-person time with their teams” . The report concluded that “extreme flexibility and hybrid working will define the post-pandemic workplace.” Leaders must therefore rethink how to connect and take the true pulse of their organizations in a hybrid environment. Wondering where to start? According to HBR, an effective hybrid office should have three pillars, fairness, engagement and ease.
State of mind: Can you imagine a doctor who is reluctant to advertise his services to people for fear that people will stigmatize him as self-promotion? In reality, it happens when you let your doubts, excuses, and insecurities get in the way of making your gifts available to others. Do you see yourself as the solution or the problem? You cannot outgrow your inner image of yourself. How you see yourself will determine the value you create and your impact. Instead of asking “why me”, ask “why not me”. If you see yourself as the solution, it is natural to make your services accessible and available. Remember that a good product will not sell itself, that’s why there are marketing departments. If it makes you feel better, consider it a service promotion, not self-promotion. What stories or mindsets do you need to let go of to become the leader you imagined? You are the solution, not the problem.
Marshall Goldsmith, the world’s leading executive coach and best-selling author of Earned Life, said, “The more we can align our aspirations, ambitions and actions, the more satisfied we will be with our lives. When there is no alignment, leaders seek compromises instead of prioritizing, become lethargic in execution, get stuck in old thoughts, and become rooted in indecision. The power of alignment makes leaders and organizations unique and ultimately transforms them into leaders that employees want to follow.