How to Change How Others See You

Do others' perceptions of your leadership match the way you want them to see you? If your personal brand could use a tune-up and you aren't sure where to start, I have a strategy that will help you identify the shifts you should make.

You'll need to have conversations with three people, so start by identifying the colleagues, mentors and others you trust and whose opinions you value.

In each conversation, ask these three questions:

1. What should you start doing? Sometimes there are leadership opportunities that we have trouble seeing for ourselves. An outside perspective can help open our eyes.

2. What should you stop doing? These answers may be harder to hear, but it's important to identify the habits that make you less effective and that keep others from seeing your full potential as a leader. For example, maybe you have trouble letting disagreements drop.

3. What should you continue doing? The people you talk to may be able to tell you about things that you are doing well and that you should do more often. We tend to underestimate the importance of our strengths and skills, which keeps us from putting them into play as fully or as powerfully as we could.

When you finish those three conversations, you'll have some solid information to work with. To help you identify the ideas you should act on first, consider what you've learned about yourself in the context of what you want your brand to be. What are the three things that you want others to say when they describe you? (For example, perhaps you want to be known as decisive, calm and strategic.)

Now, look back at your "start/stop/continue" conversations. What feedback did you receive that will help you build the three aspects of your brand? Prioritize those actions.

This week, start putting your "start/stop/continue" conversations on the calendar. You'll come away from the process with at least one meaningful change that will help bring others' perceptions of you in line with your desired brand. To learn more about this topic, check out my new e-booklet "Building Executive Presence." It's part of The Leadership EDGE SeriesSM  and will give you more ideas for small changes that lead to big results in cultivating your personal leadership brand.