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Finding your own style

If you browse the local book store or look through the selections on Amazon for "leadership books," you will literally find thousands. How do you know which book will make you the kind of leader you need to be? Do you buy a leadership book by Bill George from Medtronic or Jack Welch from GE? In theory, these people are all great leaders; you should be able to pick a book at random, internalize as much as you can and then apply it at your job, right? If the style worked for them it should work for you -- right? Currently in the leadership world there is a glut of information on leadership development. Why, then, aren't there more great leaders in the world?

The only way to be a truly great leader is to develop your own unique style or brand.
The problem with the current approach is that the focus is on imitating another's style rather than developing your own style. In the movie, Ray, Ray Charles could imitate all the great singers of his time, like Nat King Cole and Chuck Berry. Unfortunately, that would only get him so far. It was when he met up with a producer or coach who taught him to find his own style that he achieved greatness. The same is true with leadership. The only way to be a truly great leader is to develop your own unique style or brand. Sometimes that will take coaching to get you where you want to be. It's not enough to copy the style of those before you. Leadership brand identity is as important as corporate brand identity.

General Electric leaders are known for involving their people in their financial results. Whether at the senior level or middle management, this is a brand style of leadership. Likewise at Southwest Airlines, leaders create a lively, fun atmosphere while focusing on their financial results. And Dell leaders have the reputation for results through innovative distribution and customer service. Leaders have to gain business results but the attributes and behaviors they bring while getting those results creates the brand style for their leadership.

Here are some specific steps to create a leadership brand:

  1. Be clear about the results you want to achieve and have measurements in place to evaluate results.
  2. Know what strengths and attributes you bring to the leadership role.
  3. Make certain that your strengths are not "over played".
  4. Get feedback on how you are perceived and make corrections to project the image or brand that you are creating.
So read the latest leadership books if you find them interesting. All authors bring a different brand to light in their books which can teach you about branding. But take the information and add your own style, your own flare to create your own individual form of leadership. If you need a coach to help you along, Leadership Solutions can help you.

"Helping leaders with creative and flexible solutions
to increase their effectiveness."

Donna Dennis
Telephone: 609-497-1997