brand /brand/ nouna type of product manufactured by a particular company under a particular name.“a new brand of detergent”
I don’t know about you, but making detergent isn’t on my list of things I typically do during the day. So as educators, what does having a brand mean for us? And why is it important for us to be intentional with it?
Amber Harper, in a recent episode of the School Leadership Series podcast by Danny Bauer, suggests that your brand, as an educator, is what those you serve say about you when you’re not around. Specifically, she suggests that it would be made up of the 10 adjectives they would use to describe you. She ends this powerful, quick listen with a challenge:
Make a list of the 10 words you would hope your staff would use to describe you and then send out an anonymous survey asking these 3 questions:
- What 10 adjectives would you use to describe me?
- What do you feel I’m doing well?
- What do you feel I could be doing better?
The power of telling our stories is enormous (one of my favorite self-proclaimed titles is Storyteller-in-Chief) and I realize that my principal brand plays a huge part. So I found myself a bit scared but nonetheless inspired to take on this challenge.
There I stood, by the mailbox at our morning huddle. (Want to Inspire and Connect Your Team? Huddle Up) In a stronger-than-I-was-feeling voice, I explained to our crew about the podcast challenge and asked for their help and accountability. I knew if I voiced this to them, I would follow through and so, later that day, I sent the following email and survey:
After a few days and reflecting on my list of words I would hope our team would use to describe me, I got the courage up to look at the results.
The good news? These two lists have lots in common. I feel affirmed that the principal brand I’m trying to live out, at least on some level, I am. This, along with what they feel I’m doing well, give me motivation to continue leading in a way that aligns with my hopes and core beliefs. Examples? Leading with intention, creating a vision and keeping them focused on the goal, reigniting them when things get blah. Creating a place where people want to work because they feel supported, have a purpose and a voice.
The still good but harder to hear feedback? While I’m the first to admit that I’m far from perfect and have so many things to improve, it’s never fun hearing about those things from other people, especially the people I seek to serve daily. The good news, though, is that they feel comfortable enough to tell me. I’ve got some work to do on a few items. Example? Even though I feel like I’m a leader who is open to others’ ideas and works to come up with win-win solutions, someone on my team feels that I need to improve on this. I also need to make sure that I tell my peeps, each of them, how individually awesome they are. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how I perceive myself. It matters how they feel.
Are you ready to clarify and amplify your brand? Anyone can do it! Write your list and then go make it happen. As Amber suggests, taking one small action each day to live out your brand will help you stay motivated while being the best leader you can be.
What’s on your list? What steps are you taking this week to live out your brand? I’d love to hear and connect! Tweet and tag me (@me1odystacy) to share. Or feel free to start a conversation by commenting below.