I once worked with a bank where the CEO had a reputation for hurling phones at people who gave him information he didn’t like. This same angry executive liked to make videos lecturing employees about the importance of customer service. Needless to say, he had a serious CEO reputation management situation on his hands.
While most executive brands are not in such bad shape, there are times when you need to know how to get your brand back on track. Here’s how:
Step 1: Determine where your CEO reputation management needs the most help. There are three main places where a leader’s brand comes under fire. Knowing what your biggest issue is can help you focus on creating a more positive personal brand. For example:
- Competency issues. Has something happened in your business where your proficiency, know-how, aptitude, or talent has suffered?
- Character issues. Has something happened in your personal or business life where your integrity, reliability, judgment, or decision making came under question?
- Charisma issues. Has something happened in your business where your charm, appeal, personality or ability to captivate took a blow?
Step 2: Get 360-degree feedback. Regardless of your core issue, it’s powerful to go a step further and get specific feedback from the people around you. Specifically, those you manage, those who manage you and your peers can provide details about how you are showing up day to day. One hint: Feedback should be confidential and gathered by an outside consultant or other means that protects the names of those surveyed.
Step 3: Take developing executive presence seriously. Executive presence is that powerful combination of competency, character, and charisma that leads to a meaningful ability to influence and engage others, create authentic connection, and inspire high performance.
One reason some CEOs have tarnished reputations is that amazingly, they don’t pay any attention to the quality of their presence. A commitment to developing executive presence shows your employees that you value character and sets the tone for them to do the same.
If you’re ready to take your CEO reputation management to the next level, some of the concrete actions you can take include:
- Engage a coach. According to the 2016 ICF Global Coaching Study, total annual revenue from executive coachingin North America was up 35.2 percent from 2011 to 2015. Coaching has become a commonly accepted way to address developing executive presence.
- Take a personal mastery or self-development program. Everything from weeklong immersive workshops to weekend seminars abounds in the executive development space. These programs can provide a powerful space for reflection and begin a process of growth and change.
If it’s gotten to the point where your public, not just private, brand has been damaged, the above may not be enough. In this case consider hiring a CEO branding firm to get you back on track. Through coaching, media training, PR and content marketing, they can likely help you reshape your brand both inside and out.