Walk through the door with me

When you walk through a door into a room full of people, what would they say about you in their head?

Granted, if you are an internal auditor, they might have a bias against you because of your role.

So, if you are an internal auditor, walk through a door into a room full of your peer internal auditors, what would they about you in their head?

To some extent, this is your leadership trademark. And, you have likely contributed to this with your own words, actions, and behaviours over time.

If you can be honest with yourself and take the time to do this simple exercise, it can be very revealing especially if you walk into a room in front of your peers or subordinates and they can’t say anything good about you.

And, sometimes, your trademark could be a result of things you did not do like support your subordinates when they needed it most.

Or, if you are a leader that does not make decisions and sits on the fence when faced with difficult situations.

Your personal leadership trademark is the essence of your professional identity.

This is what sets you apart, defines your unique value to the team or organization, and shapes how others perceive you.

So, what do you do to define your trademark?

First, as I always say, leadership development starts with self-reflection. Yet, for this segment, I’ll suggest some other ideas and questions.

First, consistency is key, in good time and bad times and with everyone.

Too many times I have seen leaders take a different approach with people they like personally versus people they don’t like personally.

Next, ask yourself, what have you shared with respect to experience and knowledge with those that report to you. If you can’t identify anything your subordinates might have learned from you, you might not be leading.

Also, is there anything in your role that would enable you to be objectively known as a subject matter expert? This way, you don’t have to push people, they will come to you for guidance and advice.

So, do your subordinates come to you for guidance and advice? Or, do they come to you because your force them to inform you of everything they are doing as a means of micromanagement and control?

Lastly, building your trademark is not a one-time, one-day or one team building event. It takes time to cultivate and grow.

Find a mentor or coach. Seek opportunities to learn and grow. Pull feedback along the way and adapt to that feedback.

Embrace your uniqueness and ensure you bring value to those you lead.