How would you describe the leadership brand of Elon Musk, Paul Polman or Mohammed Bin Rashid al Maktoum. I’m pretty sure that the words innovation, visionary, bold come to mind when you think of Elon Musk. Sustainability, growth and taking responsibility for Paul Polman and visionary, achiever, benevolent for Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid. All three of them are great leaders who are very on how they want to be known for and how they want to contribute to this world.

Just consider the recent news of Elon Musk personally denying a Tesla Model X to a “rude customer” and very publicly acknowledging the move on Twitter. If he doesn’t emanate boldness, i don’t know who does.

Ask yourself: what’s your personal leadership brand? Consider this question in detail by asking:

  • Who do you want to be?
  • What do you want to be known for?
  • What do you want to achieve?
  • How do you want to contribute to others?

These are big questions to answers and some of the answers will come automatically while the others may require you to search for years for the answer and maybe even then you’ll never find it.

Identifying your leadership brand is important as it gives you direction. People will know what to expect from you and it articulates what you want to be known for. It’s your brand, it makes you who you are. And as with any brand it should reflect as much of what you are as well as what you are not. It’s about what makes you different and sets you apart from others.

It doesn’t matter whether you have the “designation” of a leader. Every person can be, act and think like a leader. Therefore each person can and should have a leadership brand. In my view there are no good or better leadership brands. They’re just different and should reflect the person that you are, the events that shaped your past and the future you want to create. Not everyone can or wants to be Mother Theresa, or Donald Trump for that matter (here are 6 leadership brand lessons of Donald Trump if you’re curious). At the end it doesn’t matter what leadership brand you have so long as you have one.

Last week I shared the questions that you can ask yourself to reflect on your past and identify the events that shaped you in who you are today. Today I’m going to go through the questions you should think about to check in where you stand today.

What Do You Value?

The first question to understand is what you value? What drives you? Do you want to be known as a sincere, smart, funny or creative person? Of course most of us would like to be known as all of these values, but obviously this isn’t how it works. It’s important to articulate in writing what your values are and then test whether you actually live them through the daily decisions you make. In an Inc. article, Kevin Daum, gives a great step by step suggestions on how to identify your core values.

What Do You Love to Do?

A year ago I wrote an article figuring out whether you have to ‘Do What You Love or Love What You Do’. I think the jury is still out and proponents of both camps make persuasive arguments. One thing is clear though – you have to know what you are passionate about, the work you love doing and the work you hate doing. Your leadership brand should focus on building what you love to do because

  1. You will be better at it, and
  2. it will be much easier to talk about it and convince others that this is what you are about.

What Can You be the Best in the World At?

I’m very passionate about football (Go Arsenal Go!) but I’m also pretty sure I’m a lousy football player. It’s simply something I’ll never be known for. Your passion has to line up with what you are good at and/or you can (after spending the famous 10,000 hours honing your skills) be the best in the world at.

What Lifestyle Would You Like to Pursue?

Some leaders are driven by progress and advancement, other are looking for a career that provides them with a sense of stability and security. For others it is about the high of creating or contributing something. Whatever your fancy, you have to be known for what drives you and what life style is important for you. Being clear on what works for you is important in shaping your leadership brand.