Great Leadership: Building Your Leadership Brand

[ Great Leadership: Building Your Leadership Brand.- The Guest article, by Beth Armknecht Miller, of Atlanta, Georgia, Founder and President of Executive Velocity, a leadership development advisory firm on The Great Leadership, an excellent blog by Dan McCarthy spurred me to write a response to the article.

Ultimately, it was too long enough to be posted as a comment to the original  article. Hence this post.]

The article’s emphasis – define what leadership is to you” – requires being underlined,so that the real intent of such an excellent advice is hardwired among the practicing managers:

The article goes on to delve deeper into ‘defining’ ‘your own leadership by squarely positioning three searching questions, which we further analyze in terms of the analogy of the “Product Brand” used in the article:

  1. “Genuine” and “True:

For any product to be elevated to a cult , the preferred, brand, it is mandatory that its core characteristics – be its design, be its engineering, be its physical or material or  any other fundamental ‘properties’ by any name – must always be consistent with the  promise of the fulfillment of the need or the requirement of its user that a product or service inherently carries with itself..

Any dilution in the ‘core’ invariably leads to the down fall of the ‘image’ of the product..

This is true of Leadership as well. Leadership, its most fundamental core, is not merely a profession or a vocation. It is a passion. The extent or the nature of the passion may depend on several factors internal to the person – the personality style, impact of one’s upbringing etc.-  or external to the leadership  as an organism – surrounding ‘ecosystem’, the purpose of the organization, the then strategic intents of the top management, organization’s’ relative competitive position etc.- , but the fact remains that as long as the person has an internal stream of inspiration flowing, the leadership as an organism survives.

The core of any Leadership is the ethos of the Leader – values, beliefs, intentions, principles, practices and all that makes a person what he or she is.

  1. “Inspire” others:

This is somewhat equivalent of 4 (or sometimes known as 5) Ps of the product.

Good products are ‘sold’ but good brands are ‘bought’! Excellently conceived and executed Ps can help ‘sell’ the product, but only when the product meets (or exceeds) the requirements or needs of the user, it becomes The Brand which is ‘bought’ irrespective of any (or perhaps, all) competitive pressures.

So is the case of Leadership. A well thought out and manifested Leadership Style can ‘sell’ itself to target constituency, but in order for the Leadership” to be willingly ‘bought’, it ought to “inspire(s) those around (you) to perform their very best”.

The extent and nature of voluntary inspiration that The Leadership provides to the target constituency determines its brand value.

  1. The “results”

Call them KPIs of performance of the product or the Leadership.

In the modern age, what was considered purely altruist in the previous centuries – Religion, Arts, Charity etc. – also get measured in terms of what or how much is achieved.

The results, continuing our analogy with Product, have to be sustained over the life cycle. We still have traces of the tradition where the past glory of a product is archived in a museum. In similar manner, the past glory of the Leadership that was may get chronicled or may be referred to in the present context.

However, increasingly, the value of leadership has indeed shifted to the extent of its impact on the way it enables handling the present, thereby making future appear more cognisable.

The lasting of the Leadership Brand is the impact that it leaves in terms of shaping the future of its constituency.

In the ultimate analysis, the author, Beth Armknecht Miller, rightly cautions thatthe ‘Leadership’ must remain rooted to the inherently “natural” grain. The moment it ‘sounds’ [or ‘appears’] cosmetic, it indeed “loses its credibility”. This is where it may tend become a ‘practice’ rather than a ‘spirit”.

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Author: ASHOK M VAISHNAV

In July 2011, I opted to retire from my active career as a practicing management professional. In the 38 years that I pursued this career, I had opportunity to work in diverse capacities, in small-to-medium-to-large engineering companies. Whether I was setting up Greenfield projects or Brownfield projects, nurturing the new start-ups or accelerating the stabilized unit to a next phase growth, I had many more occasions to take the paths uncharted. The life then was so challenging! One of the biggest casualty in that phase was my disregards towards my hobbies - Be with The Family, Enjoy Music form Films of 1940s to mid-1970s period, write on whatever I liked to read, pursue amateur photography and indulge in solving the chess problems. So I commenced my Second Innings to focus on this area of my life as the primary occupation. At the end of four years, I am now quite a regular blogger. I have been able to build a few very strong pen-relationships. I maintain contact with 38-years of my First Innings as freelance trainer and process facilitator. And yet, The woods are lovely, dark and deep. But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep.

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