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My Leadership Brand Essay

Purpose This Term Paper presents two viewpoints of a “branded” leadership and the individual unique characteristic traits of three selected leaders in one book on leadership.

Objective The objective of this Term Paper is to come up with my own leadership brand after studying the viewpoints of Lawer and [email protected] on branded leadership and adopting some of the selected characteristic traits of the three leaders presented by Hughes, Ginnett, & Curphy (2006) in their book.

Lawler’s “Leadership Brand” Merriam-Webster defines “brand” as “a class of goods identified by name as the product of a single firm or manufacturer … a characteristic or distinctive kind” (2004). To Lawler, “developing a branded leadership style is an effective practice to distinguish your company in the marketplace. A clearly identified leadership style can be a powerful factor in attracting, retaining, and motivating the right employees. A positive leadership brand that permeates the organization can also serve as a touchstone for all current employees who are managers or desire to be managers, guiding them toward your organization’s ‘true north.’

Lawler tries to convince every organizational leader to develop [his/her] own leadership brand. There are certain characteristics of this leadership brand, according to Lawler, one is that it “needs to apply across the entire organization and at all times; it should not involve what is often called ‘situational leadership.’” This leadership brand should be “based on general principles and characteristics that universally applicable to all managers and all leadership situations,” adds Lawler.

Lawler cites General Electric’s “Four E’s” which reflects part of the company’s corporate culture and likewise a “leadership brand” unique to company and are internalized and practiced by all its employees around the world. “All leaders at GE,” writes Lawler, “are expected to have the personal energy to welcome and deal with change, the ability to create an atmosphere that energizes others, the edge to make difficult decisions, and the ability to consistently execute.”

[email protected]’s “Brand You: Does It Change the Way you Work?” In a popular article published by [email protected], a “thorny issue of whether women truly do work and lead differently than men,” captured the attention of many conference attendees. The moderator, Janet Hanson, raises the issue on “how important developing one’s ‘personal brand’ is to finding success in the business world.” She asks this direct question: “How do you develop your own personal brand, and how does it affect your leadership style?”

Hanson receives distinct responses from three corporate officers: Meryl Golden—“her personal brand is best described as ‘work hard, play hard,’ and that it absolutely bleeds over into her management philosophy. I’m a direct communicator and my ‘work hard, play hard’ attitude keeps my job in perspective’ … It also means I nurture other people who work hard, and I sell them within the company to help them find opportunities – which makes them more loyal to me”; Anu Shukla—“I am tenacious and optimistic, and like any good entrepreneur, I am fueled by the thrill of picking off the impossible and making it happen … as an entrepreneur I have a group vision I want to achieve for the company.

My drive means I expect my team to rally around and make it happen”; and Michelle Peluso—“focuses on passion and love for the job. ‘I can’t do things unless I love them. I work extremely hard, so I believe you must have fun on the job to make that worth it.’ The work-as-passion approach makes success self-fulfilling as a leader … ‘I believe in having fun always. It’s selfish; if my team is fired up, then Travelocity will succeed,’ notes Hanson.

The three select model leaders of Hughes, Ginnett, & Curphy The three leaders chosen as the main focus of the study in the book of Hughes, Ginnett, & Curphy (2006) are presented below along with their respective individual unique characteristic traits.

Colin Powell. “Until 2005, Colin Powell has been the United States secretary of state. No African American has ever held a higher position in the U.S. government. He is also a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the highest-ranking officer in the U.S. armed forces. He has commanded soldiers, advised presidents, and led a national volunteer movement to improve the future for disadvantaged youth. He is one of the most respected individuals inside or outside of government” (p. 5).

Peter Jackson. Although the name Peter Jackson may not be well known as the movie— The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King—he gave life to in the moving picture industry, he certainly posses some distinct leadership trait that he is one of the three selected top leaders as focus of study in the book of Hughes, Ginnett, & Curphy (2006).

Only 18 when he read “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, he would turn that intricate novel into a movie “20 years later.” “When screenwriter Cost Botes heard that The Lord of the Rings would be made into a live action film, he thought those responsible were crazy. Prevailing wisdom was that the fantastic and complex trilogy simply could not be believably translated onto the screen. But he also believed that ‘there was no other director on earth who could do it justice’” (p. 5).

Aung San Suu Kyi. “In 1991 Suu Kyi already had spent two years under house arrest in Burma for ‘endangering the state.’ That same year she won the Nobel Prize for Peace. Like Nelson Mandela, Suu Kyi stands as an international symbol of heroic and peaceful resistance to government oppression. Until the age of 43, Suu Kyi led a relatively quite existence in England as a professional working mother. Her life changed dramatically in 1988 when she returned to her native country of Burma to visit her sick mother. That visit occurred during a time of considerable political unrest in Burma.

Riot police had recently shot to death hundreds of demonstrators in the capital city of Rangoon….Over the next several months, police killed nearly 3,000 people who had been protesting government policies. When hundreds of thousands of pro-democracy demonstrators staged a protest rally at a prominent pagoda in Rangoon, Suu Kyi spoke to the crowd. Overnight she became the leading voice for freedom and democracy in Burma. Today she is the most popular and influential leader in her country even though she’s never held political office” (p.6).

My own leadership brand I am now starting to appreciate the meaning and implication of what I presented in this paper as “leadership brand.” I am now starting to understand that sometimes I prefer one brand of a product, like, soft drink, over the other—it is because there are certain characteristics that is being told about (advertised) such a product and when I buy it I myself judge it based on my experience with it.

I like the “Four E’s” of GE and the fifth “E” of Motorola as highlighted by Lawler.

This is the set of leadership brands that I want to adopt for myself and to practice even before I would become manager of people: ‘work hard, play hard’; “nurture other people who work hard, and … sell them within the company to help them find opportunities – which makes them more loyal to me”; “tenacious and optimistic … fueled by the thrill of picking off the impossible and making it happen … a group vision … to achieve for the company. I expect my team to make it happen”; “focuses on passion and love for the job … I can’t do things unless I love them. I work extremely hard, so I believe you must have fun on the job to make that worth it.”

These are the leadership brands that I like and admire most of the three select leaders of Hughes, Ginnett, & Curphy (2006): “United States secretary of state … a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the U.S. armed forces … has commanded soldiers, advised presidents, and led a national volunteer movement to improve the future for disadvantaged youth … one of the most respected individuals inside or outside of government.” “… Gave life to a complex novel that to others it is even ‘crazy’ to think of turning it into a moving picture.” “… spent two years under house arrest … for ‘endangering the state’ … won the Nobel Prize for Peace … stands as an international symbol of heroic and peaceful resistance to government oppression … Overnight she became the leading voice for freedom and democracy in Burma. Today she is the most popular and influential leader in her country even though she’s never held political office.”

References

  1. Hughes, R. L., Ginnett, R. C. & Curphy, C. J. (2006). Leadership: Enhancing the Lessons of Experience (5th ed.). Boston: McGraw-Hill/Irwin. [ISBN: 0-07-288120-8 (Hardback)]
  2. [email protected] (January 14, 2005). You Are your Brand: Defining a Personal Leadership. http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article.cfm?articleid=1097&specialid=26&CFID=4549655&CFTOKEN=38338098 (Feb. 16, 20007).
  3. Lawler, E. E. (Spring 2006). Leading A Virtuous-Spiral Organization. Leader to Leader, No. 32. http://leadertoleader.org/leaderbooks/l2l/spring2004/lawler.html (February 3, 2007).
  4. Merriam-Webster (2004). Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary. (11th) Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster, Incorporated.

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