An interview that Bob Burg held with Fox Business Brand Correspondent Bruce Turkel got me thinking beyond branding. As a communication specialist, I was already drawn into the conversation on messaging and audiences. It was easy pickings for me, this is what I do for a living anyway.
However, nine minutes into the twenty-minute interview, Bruce “sucker-punched” me! Bob asked him to describe for the audience what a brand is. His response was one I have also given many times to others in my line of work. However, when I heard it from Bruce, it hit me like a run-away train!
“Branding is not a logo. A brand is not a tagline. A brand is not an ad, it’s not a brochure, it’s not a website,” began Bruce. “A brand encompasses every communication touch point between you and your audience… A brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room. It’s what proceeds you when you walk into the room…”
I could not help but see some branding parallels to leadership. What do I leave in a roomful of people, and what proceeds me before I even show up? I thought of three things I need to respond to if my brand as a leader can stand the test of time: Reliability, Responsiveness and Responsibility [TweetMe].
Reliable – Great leaders are honest and can be relied upon to keep their word [TweetMe]. When plans are made together, it is expected of the leader to honor them. It doesn’t matter whether they are written or verbal, they should be fulfilled unless there are seriously extenuating circumstances.
Responsive – Empathy is a key characteristic of a true leader [TweetMe]. How do you respond to a crisis? Do you empathize with those you lead or do you come down on them ruthlessly? Do you show love them while still being firm? Leaders who are responsive do not only correct, they point towards the right direction and walk the path with the concerned party. They lead by example.
Responsible – A leader is not only responsible for those he or she leads, they are also responsible to take ownership of their shortcomings [TweetMe]. You can’t be a leader and pass the buck at the same time. When something goes wrong, be brave enough to take the bullet.