ChiroUp friend and advisor Dr. Scott Bautch recently forwarded an excellent blog about why business leaders need a strong “personal brand”. The article discussed how your personal brand communicates your individual values to your most essential business element – your team. Communicating strong values builds trust and loyalty. This leads to employee buy-in, making your organization stronger in good times and bad.
“If you do not define your brand, others will do it for you,”
Building a personal brand starts by defining the core values of who we are and what we believe. But defining your values is only the first step. Once you’re clear on what values will guide your actions, it’s time to make sure your employees own that same vision.
Inspired by the concept of a personal brand, we’ve defined five simple action steps to communicate your personal brand and make sure your team is “on the same bus”.
1. Drive the bus.
You’re the team leader, meaning that you also drive the bus. To make sure your bus arrives at the desired destination requires that you first define your values and goals. Use the following ChiroUp template to help you outline those values and goals in a Strategic Game Plan.
Establishing a strategic game plan that includes defined values and goals provides a map to guide all subsequent driving decisions. For more inspiration, check out these prior ChiroUp blogs on defining values and setting goals.
2. Define seats & roles
Your next priority is to make sure you have the right people in the right seats on the bus. This means hiring quality people and then spending the time to train them well. Make sure you provide each employee with a copy of your strategic game plan and then define their specific role in that mission.
If your staff were viewed as drops of water- is your collection a stagnant pond, or do you have goals to move coherently as a powerful stream?
Creating individual task lists helps each employee to know exactly what is expected each day. Employees who are confident about their role perform better and are happier. Each employee should “own” their task list and update it regularly as jobs change and shift.
3. Make the passengers feel appreciated
Employees feel rewarded not only by what in their physical bank account, but also by what’s in their emotional bank account. As a business leader, it’s easy to spot point out actions that are slowing your bus, but make sure that you recognize when people perform well too.
You can’t make withdrawals form emotional bank accounts if there is no balance.
Try to recognize 5 good actions for every negative one. If this does not come naturally, schedule a task on your own list to “provide employee recognition”. Appreciation can come in the form of kind words (in the presence of others), cards, noes, or even small gifts, but remember the thoughts and words count more than the dollars. Also, provide sincere compliments – people know when they’re being BS’d, so make it real.
4. Pull that bus over when needed
Employees can choose to act as either a sail or an anchor to your ship of dreams. Sails need to be cared for and anchors need to be cut loose.
Allowing sub-par performance breeds mediocrity, and allowing lousy performance breeds failure for the whole business. Be patient and forgiving of isolated innocent mistakes, but don’t ignore unacceptable behavior. Accepting one employees’ substandard behavior lowers that metric for the entire team – “i.e. …well Jenny is always 5 minutes late”. Before long, your team has deteriorated to the lowest common denominator of each member. Other than the slacker, do you think anyone else wants a slacker on their team? The same employee actions that aggravate you also frustrate your top players. Leaders gain respect by providing fair, honest, and respectful correction.
The 1-minute manager is a quick read that outlines the essential components of an effective reprimand – i.e. immediate, specific as to how this affects your mission, brief, and ending with encouragement.
And for those rare employees who still choose to be an anchor – get out your ax. You’ve dragged that weight around long enough. Don’t procrastinate out of fear for “hiring someone worse”, instead review your strategic game plan and act with the focus to attract someone who exemplifies your “brand”.
5. Keep driving
Being a leader is tough. Sometimes your bus hits a pothole or even blows a tire. It’s your job to remain committed to your brand and keep driving regardless of the unforeseeable conditions. To paraphrase a recent ChiroUp blog:
Once you establish goals and determine the price you’re willing to pay, you can ignore the minor hurts, pressure and setbacks. Commit to a “personal brand” that refuses to give in or settle for less than excellence. Success, like anything worthwhile, has a “price”. Recognize that pressure can’t be avoided, so allow yourself to be energized by it! The ability to hold onto your goals in the face of pressure, to persevere just a little longer is what differentiates winners from losers.
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About the Author
Dr. Tim Bertelsman
DC, CCSP, DACO
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