How To Enhance Your Personal Brand: A Toolkit For Female Leaders

How we view ourselves is not what defines our personal brand. In fact, our perception of ourselves matters very little.

Our personal brand is actually how others perceive us. It is vital, though, to understand that it is up to each and every leader to control their own brand. If you don’t, there is a substantial risk that someone else will.

Three components define your personal brand: value set, differentiation, and marketability. These components emerge when we communicate verbally, non-verbally, and through our digital footprint.

It has been demonstrated time and time again that leaders with strong identifiable brands excel in emotional intelligence (EQ). As female leaders, we have a fantastic advantage when it comes to EQ.

First off, neurologically, women’s brains are wired with a larger limbic system leading to a natural predisposition to be aware of our own emotions and the emotions of others. This positions female leaders to connect readily with others.

Additionally, as young girls, we are socialised to value empathy, diversity, and inclusion. So from both a nature and nurture perspective, there is an innate ability that sees female leaders build strong personal brands through relationship cultivation. We know that these relationships contribute to our brand currency.

Here are some tips that women can employ to further enhance and promote their brand:

Make Declarative Statements

There are times when women state their opinion in the form of a question. “That’s a great idea, isn’t it?” The intent is to be inclusive; however, women need to declare their point of view. Statements shouldn’t be in the form of questions; otherwise inadvertently we appear as though we are asking for permission.

Stop Apologising

Women tend to apologise even when things are not their fault. If someone else interrupts, bumps into us, inadvertently cuts in line we say we are sorry. Why do we do this? We do this because we are showing empathy. By doing so, we suggest that it is okay for someone else to usurp our position. But it isn’t okay, and we should make sure we stay front and center.

Self Promotion

Female leaders often view self promotion as a bad thing. Women see the marketing of themselves as inauthentic, political, or managing up. Despite these misgivings, it’s imperative to promote yourself. Your brand is dependent upon the opportunity you create to pursue visibility. By profiling yourself and your unique capabilities, you create leverage. This leverage is equated with success and confidence that encourages others to bet on you.

Active Negotiation

Women tend not to ask for greater pay, increases in salary or vigorously raise their hand for stretch assignments. We need to challenge the status quo and demand what we deserve. Women must view their skills and expertise as transferable. Promoting past experiences and successful wins gives great credence to a leader’s personal brand. This maximizes leverage to negotiate for greater scope and profile.

Jump In

Research illustrates that men interrupt significantly more often in meetings than women. Female leaders take social etiquette into the world of business and wait their turn before speaking. In the corporate sector, it is de rigueur to cut into a conversation. If you don’t jump in then before you know it someone else steals your thunder. Speaking up early allows you to own the direction and create profile.

Use Of Social Media

Your digital footprint is your public profile. If a picture is worth 1000 words, align your photos, posts, and tweets to your value proposition. Social media platforms are an opportunity for you to showcase your unique capabilities.

Strategic Networking

Personal brand is all about how you strategically promote yourself. Seek out an active network that is comprised of individuals who really know your brand. These leaders should be prepared to advocate on your behalf and be a sponsor for your career advancement. Once you have established a strong identifiable brand, then you create confidence in these decision makers. They are now keen to provide you with an even greater platform to elevate your brand.