How to develop your leadership brand

Written by
Changeboard Team

01 Nov 2014

01 Nov 2014 • by Changeboard Team

How to develop your personal courage

Courageous leadership is less about you as a HR professional and more a statement about what you personally stand for. Research has shown that being a successful HR partner is more about mindset, with 97% of strategic role effectiveness being explained by the person and the role.  ?

Define your leadership

Have a clear sense of what are your core personal values and are consistently demonstrating these in your interactions with the people you engage with and the decisions you take.

Are able to balance an ability to deal with uncertainty without being incautious or inconsiderate.

Create and communicate a sense of purpose for the leadership and HR teams and publicly displays conviction in making it happen.

Actively encourages and supports a working environment (both within the HR community and the organisation) which enables individuals to take responsibility, openly share and contribute to the growth of the organisation.

* Encourages and supports the personal development of others.

* Set clear and consistent performance standards to team members and holds them directly accountable for achieving them.

* Clearly delegate both routine and important tasks / decisions and trusts people to perform.

* Build a powerful and purposeful team, which inspires accomplishment and team spirit.

Effective leadership

We all have the potential for you to be more effective. Therefore, work through the following exercise and ask yourself how much more effective you could be:

* Am I sufficiently an independent thinker that does not blindly follow others?

* Do you allow yourself to fall into the trap of ‘group think’ and adopt ‘tried and tested’ solutions without exploring alternatives?

* Do I have a sense of my values and an awareness of my purpose so am able to effectively cope with a degree of uncertainty and change?

* How easy am I knocked off course by changing events and as a consequence make reactive decisions?

* As a leader am I OK not always having the ‘answers’ and leading from the front?

* How comfortable am I being flexible in my role? Does my leadership authority rest more with my status or my credibility?

* Am I sufficiently strong to speak out and Challenge others, when pushed?

* How vocal and willing am I in taking personal risks – particularly with my leadership team or boss?

* Do I recognise that it is the people who work for me and with me who provide the real competitive advantage for my organisation?

* How actively do I champion employees and ‘educate’ others to recognise that ultimately it is the people which are my organisation’s competitive advantage?

* How willing am I to involve and enable others?

* Do I restrict my support and encouragement just to my immediate team or am I seeking ways to empower people at all levels and in all parts of the organisation?

* Do I have a good enough understanding of the need to support change?

* While I may understand the strategic direction of the organisation and the people implications do I have the strength to deliver the changes I am responsible for?

Authentic leadership

The cornerstones of developing excellence in your leadership

Do you know how you have developed your mastery of leadership? Experiences and insights are only of real value if you have reflected upon them.

Research shows that authentic leaders consistently so do the following:

* Learn from your life story. This is more than the mere facts of your life – this is about the accompanying narrative which shows what has been important to you, how it has affected and shaped you and attempting to make sense of them.

* Spend time and effort deepening your levels of self-awareness. Denial can be the greatest obstacle that you face in becoming self-aware.

* Leadership principles are values translated into action. You will not know what your true values are until they are tested under pressure: what is most important to you, what are you prepared to sacrifice, what trade-offs are you willing to make? So test your values. For example, a value such as 'concern for others' might be translated into a leadership principle such as:

“Create a work environment where people are respected for their contributions, enabled to achieve high performance and actively supported to develop their career.”

* Know what drives you. Leadership requires high levels of motivation and to keep your life in balance it is critical you understand what drives you. It's about balancing the motivation to be externally recognised (promotion, financial security, status etc.) against your internal motivators which gives you a sense of meaning.

* Build your support team. As a leader you cannot succeed on your own. Without strong relationships it's very easy for you to lose your way - they provide you with wise counsel in times of uncertainty, help in difficult times and challenges when you need to steer a different course as well as celebrate successes.

* Empower your people to lead. This is about you recognising that the key to organisational success is having empowered leaders at all levels. It's about inspiring those around you to step and lead. ?

What and who has shaped me?

So, which people and experiences have had the greatest impact on you?

Leaders are able to articulate their personal enduring vision and their values and therefore begin the process of transforming their organisations. Successful leaders are able to transform their organisation by building a culture that allows employees to take the courageous steps needed to follow their leaders.

* How much time and how do you develop your self-awareness? When was the last time you were able to say this is the real me?

* What are your most deeply held values? Where have they come from? How do they inform your actions?

* What are your prime external motivators? What are your core internal motivators? How do you balance the two?

* Who supports you? How do you support them? Is your ‘team’ broad enough

* How consistent are you in your behaviours? If not consistent, what is holding you back?

* What steps can you take now to develop your leadership?

* Take the risk and challenge yourself, by asking:

  • What do I care about?
  • What do I want? 
  • How do I fit into the world?
  • What is it that I want to keep on doing?  
  • What is it that I want to stop? 
  • What is it that I want to do more of /better?

"Leaders must risk what others will not risk", Gelinier

Further Information on courage

This ‘how to’ guide supports the article: ‘Why courage can transform HR’ which can be found at For further resources go to