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Updated 30 Mar 2020


Personal branding: Benefits for both you and your leaders

By training your management teams in building strong personal brands, you can bring out the best in your managers. 


Donna Rachelson, 07 November 2016  Share  0 comments  Print


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A recent survey by Gallup found that approximately 50% of the 7 200 adults surveyed left a job ‘to get away from their manager’.

In fact, the top predictor of high staff turnover was the immediate manager. If employees felt that the manager’s expectations were unclear, they were more likely to resign.

Personal branding plays an important role in building solid management teams. This isn’t to say that personal branding can solve culture issues, HR gaps and managers who are actually bad at what they do, but when managers are empowered and confident in their personal brands they can do a better job of leading employees.

Related: 4 Ways to manage your reputation in the workplace

This in turn affects employee engagement, retention and productivity.

How personal branding helps

Personal branding is about understanding your core strengths, talents and skills, as well as what makes you unique; and learning to package these in way that shows people the best of yourself.

When managers develop a strong personal brand, they are empowered to play to their strengths and the gap between how they view themselves and how other view them is minimised. By training management teams in building strong personal brands, companies can help to bring out the best in their managers, which in turn helps to unlock the potential in their employees.

Perception is key to building a strong personal leadership brand and team brand. Managers might not be aware of how they are perceived in the workplace. Through the personal branding process, they learn to identify how their employees, team members and peers perceive them, and work on strategies to address any misperceptions.

For example, a manager may be perceived as controlling and inflexible when he or she thinks they are helping employees by setting firm parameters and being available 100% of the time. Once they understand how their actions may be perceived, they can dial back and begin to find more healthy ways of interacting with the team.

Personal branding and teams

Sales -team -management -training

Strong teams are made up of strong personal brands who buy into a common vision, shared mission and desire to deliver. In other words, powerful management teams are comprised of high-performance individuals who are willing to share and support each other in achieving the team goal.

Related: Spring clean your personal brand: 3 Bad habits that must go

What this means is that when managers build their personal brands, they are actually building the team brand too. Great teams build on the strengths of each person in the team, so by learning to communicate their strengths better, managers actually boost the performance of the entire management team. This then filters down to employees, helping to accelerate the performance of the entire business. 

Lead by example

The Gallup survey demonstrates that employee turnover is minimised when staff have the following:

  • Clear expectations
  • The materials and equipment to do the job right
  • The opportunity to do what they do best every day
  • The belief that someone at work cares
  • The belief that someone encourages their development
  • A sense that their opinions count
  • A belief that their colleagues are committed to quality
  • Opportunities to learn and grow at work. 

Once managers and management teams understand how they are viewed by their staff, what their strengths are, and the value they can add to the organisation (and how to package that), they are able to lead more effectively.

Related: Building your personal brand

An understanding of their own personal brand enables managers to articulate what their expectations are of employees, and to begin to nurture these employees in their own strengths and talents. They learn to see the bigger vision of the organisation as something that they contribute towards, and they begin to pull employees into that vision too. 

While personal branding can’t fix a poor manager that lacks leadership skills, it can certainly help managers with potential to access it and develop it, in turn resulting in stronger management teams and more engaged employees.

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About the author


Donna Rachelson

Donna Rachelson is a branding and marketing specialist and has held a number of marketing director positions in blue-chip organisations including Nando’s, as well as marketing and project management positions at AECI and Standard Bank. Today, she is the founder of Branding & Marketing YOU, which offers keynote presentations, workshops, strategic marketing consulting, coaching and support services. She is also the author of the best-selling book Branding & Marketing YOU, the first South African based personal branding and marketing book.

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