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How to reshape your leadership brand as you start a new role

October 23, 2021
Borderless Leadership

Harald was delighted when he was promoted to Head of Supply Chain at a global food products company. Originally from Germany, he built his career in the automobile industry before being hired to turn around the food products company’s manufacturing operations. He led a successful turnaround by replacing almost all the leadership team, restructuring and outsourcing production, and cutting headcount by 20%.

In his new role, Harald would be responsible for the entire supply chain in the company’s biggest and most profitable region. However, the people Harald would lead in his new role were, understandably, apprehensive about his arrival. The supply chain organization, they believed, was performing well; certainly it did not require a turnaround. Harald’s success in transforming manufacturing operations had shaped his reputation for being impatient, opinionated to the point of arrogance, and ruthless in driving change. They worried that he would apply the same approach to them.

Like it or not, your reputation — or in other words, your leadership brand — in any new role is strongly shaped by your actions in previous roles. When joining a new organization, the people impacted by your arrival will seek information about you from whatever sources they can tap into. Your new employees will reach out to connections who worked in your previous organization and scour your LinkedIn profile and the media for information about you. It’s an entirely natural reaction to the uncertainty and high stakes associated with leadership changes. And what they learn will shape their expectations in ways that could make it easier or more difficult for you to succeed. If misperceptions about your leadership could create barriers to success, you must reshape them. Failure to do so can cause you to lose control of your narrative in ways that could undermine your effectiveness from the outset.

All senior leaders taking new roles need to develop and implement a strategy to reinforce or reshape their leadership brand starting well before their official “Day One.” And in today’s hybrid work environment, it’s even more essential to be proactive if you can’t meet in person with many in your organization; the lack of rich communication makes it easier for people to confirm their already-shaped beliefs about you. Consider these steps before starting your new role to make sure you’re getting off to a good start. READ MORE

by Michael D. Watkins

Source: hbr.org

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