Dorie Clark is an accomplished leadership coach and author of career coaching guides to help professionals develop their skillset. Defining your personal brand is essential for advancing your career and becoming an effective leader. Dorie outlines how to start creating your personal brand and using peer feedback to better understand who you are.

Leadership: Building Your Personal Brand

Defining your personal brand is an essential attribute for building your leadership profile. However, the process of creating your personal brand is very challenging. Specifically, many people think about building your brand with a top-down approach. Instead, I have found that the attributes for your personal brand will emerge when you ask the right questions. Ultimately, the people around you will provide the insights and feedback you need to craft your personal brand.

For example, there’s a leadership technique that I use called the “three-word exercise.” This process starts with finding six people that know you reasonably. Then, you ask them to pick three words that describe who you are from their perspective. Clearly, this is a very simple question and it can yield responses in a few seconds from your peers.

However, what’s most interesting is that you’ll start to see patterns in the responses. By the time you get to your fourth or fifth person, you’ll have a summary a very complete view of who you are. Trying to go through this process on your own is virtually impossible. However, the ability to collect feedback directly from those who know you best will give you a much clearer picture of your personal brand. Most importantly, you’re able to answer a question that no person can answer on their own. Ultimately, you’re able to get a sense of how others view you in very simple terms.

Using myself as an example – most people will say that I’m passionate, curious and committed to helping others be heard. These are all leadership qualities that I take very seriously and do my best to focus on every day.

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About the speaker
Dorie Clark Harvard Business Review, Author Member

Dorie Clark is an adjunct professor at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and the author of Entrepreneurial You, Reinventing You and Stand Out, which was named the #1 Leadership Book of 2015 by Inc. magazine. A former presidential campaign spokeswoman, the New York Times described her as an “expert at self-reinvention and helping others make changes in their lives.” A frequent contributor to the Harvard Business Review, she consults and speaks for clients including Google, Microsoft, and the World Bank. You can download her free Entrepreneurial You self-assessment workbook.

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