5 Things A Leader Can Do To Improve Their Reputation

What are your professional goals for 2016? Earning a promotion, scaling-up your company, recruiting the best talent, or improving team performance? Your success will be determined by your ability to build relationships, shape culture and drive breakthrough results, as well as the ability to enhance your reputation as a great leader that attracts and retains top talent.

To live by

Why is reputation important to leaders?

As a personal brand strategist, my most challenging rebranding and reputation repair projects are senior executives who have suffered traumatic reputation damage due to negative media or social media attacks. We live in a world where everyone is a free agent according to the article Fortune’s World’s Greatest Leaders: 50 intrepid guides for a messy world.   It takes a different way of leading to survive this fast paced world, as well as prevent the revolving door of employees leaving, disengagement, burnout, or even worse, an online negative reputation attack led by unhappy employees.

For example, Indeed.com requires an individual to review past employers before applying for a position. Have you read any of these reviews? People do not hold back! Think about it…would you go to a restaurant if you read bad reviews on Yelp.com about the lack of service or how bad customers are treated? Probably not! The same goes for leaders. You are not going to recruit or retain top talent, as well as survive if people hear or read negative things about your leadership, how employees are treated, or if the work environment is not friendly.

As a personal branding expert, I believe a leader’s reputation is directly linked to their interpersonal skills. I asked my client, Chalmers Brothers, who is an expert in emotional intelligence and leadership development, what has been his experience working with Fortune 500 and tech senior executives when it comes to interpersonal skills? As co-author of Language and the Pursuit of Leadership Excellence: How Extraordinary Leaders Build Relationships, Shape Culture and Drive Breakthrough Results, Chalmers found most leaders are fired, replaced, or removed not because they lack technical expertise or know-how, but due to the lack of effective interpersonal skills.

5 Things a Leader Can Do to Improve Their Reputation

All leaders have their own unique style, habits, and routines of how they lead, communicate, engage with others, and build relationships… for better or worse. But the lack of effective interpersonal skills often prevents leaders from achieving their professional and personal goals, and can damage their reputation permanently.

From his upcoming SOAR Executive Retreat in March, Chalmers offers five essential things individuals can do today to improve their leadership effectiveness, reputation, and drive results:

  1. Build Healthy Relationships. Resist the temptation to fall for “The Grand Illusion” that you are the leader and in control. This leads to developing unhealthy, dysfunctional, unproductive working relationships. Real power, energy, effectiveness is achieved when you are able to build and maintain mutually beneficial relationships both inside and outside the organization.

  2. Grow Emotionally. Become as emotionally intelligent as you are intellectually intelligent. Notice missing conversations in your life and learn how to increase the quality of critical conversations with the most important people in your professional and personal lives. Mood and emotions of people dramatically impact organizational performance.

  3. Agree to Disagree. Do you have to be right all the time? Create a space for healthy, respectful disagreement that leads to a team situation which encourages a full commitment to action. Most of us will not volunteer to be with, work with, or associate with people who constantly make us wrong. Being right all the time drives people away from the organization and prevents successful execution.

  4. Execute. Organizations are networks of commitments (requests, offers, and promises) to take action. As a leader, notice whether or not you’re getting valid response when making a request of another, as well as when you are (or aren’t) providing a valid response to someone else’s request of you. Learn the “nuts and bolts” of execution and dramatically improve how people collaborate and work together. Your leadership purposefully shapes and sustains a culture of accountability.

  5. Keep Learning. Be willing to say, “I don’t know”. This vulnerability is really a strength that produces opening for learning opportunities where they did not previously exist. This expands your ability to “look at things” in multiple ways, which greatly increases your horizon of possibilities. Declare yourself a beginner in domains in which you need to grow. Whether it is emotional intelligence, leadership techniques, or any other skills needed to succeed, a leader striving to learn is perceived not as an individual with a weakness or liability, but wisdom and a position of strength. Continuous learning fosters an environment of innovation and adaptability, as well as helps you stay relevant as a leader.

Questions: What is your leadership reputation inside and outside your organization? Are you doing everything you can to optimize your interpersonal skills? Share your answers on Twitter or LinkedIn.

About Andria Younger

Andria Younger is a personal brand strategist and consultant in New York City and ranked in LinkedIn’s Top 25 for personal branding. Follow Andria on Twitter or check out Andria’s personal branding blog at andriayounger.com.

What do you want to know about personal branding?


Each week I get many inquiries from entrepreneurs, business authors, and consultants about how to brand and position themselves as paid experts in the B2B marketplace. Some FAQs I’ve received include:

What are the steps I need to take to brand and position myself as an expert?

How do I monetize my personal brand?

How do I figure out my target market?

How did I take a business author from $300K to $2 million in three years?

If I’m employed full time, can I brand and position myself as a paid expert while still working?

Do I need to have a website?

How do I market myself as a paid expert?

How do I get into the professional speaking business?

Do I need to write a book?

…and the list goes on. I love the input because I’m very passionate about helping individuals tap into the power of their personal brand and play big in the B2B marketplace. I want to learn how I can better help you better create, build, and monetize your personal brand.

So, what burning questions do you have about branding and positioning yourself as a paid expert?

 Click and send me your questions!


Sucking at Relationships….Take Aways from Bethenny Frankel’s AOL Build Series Interview

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As a personal brand strategist and founder of Cre8iv Branding, I’m always on the look out for successful personal brand stories.  This week I was at the AOL Build Series, a live interview, where Bethenny Frankel, entrepreneur, reality TV personality, and NY Times Bestselling author, was talking about her new book I Suck at Relationships So You Don’t Have To: 10 Rules for Not Screwing Up Your Happily Ever After.

“Yes, my name is Andria Younger and I’m a Bravo reality TV addict.”

Over the years of watching Bravo, I’ve seen Bethenny Frankel go from being a struggling entrepreneur on Bravo’s Housewives of New York, living in a studio apartment on the Upper East Side, doing the hustle to launch her Skinny Girl brand, writing and promoting her four NY Times best-selling books, to selling her Skinny Girl Cocktail line to Jim Beam for a reported $50 million. This is the same person that Martha Stewart herself proclaimed that Bethenny would never amount to anything.

As a personal brand strategist, Bethenny Frankel has done an incredible job in creating and monetizing a successful personal brand…books, TV, appearances, and products. She’s worked it! Besides being a great marketer, I think what Bethenny does best is connecting to her fans and customers on a deep emotional level. She’s clear on who she is, what she does, what’s her story, allowing her fans to connect and relate to her on a very deep emotional level. This is what I call “Riding the Lightning Bolt”, when you are able to leverage and monetize your personal brand to grow your business, while your customer and client feel connected to you on a deep emotional and personal level. What you see on TV is what you get in person…. she’s open and honest, not afraid to express her opinions. As she admits, even in wake of her very public and nasty divorce and the “haters” attacking her, she still keeps it real and stays true to her personal brand.

Bethenny’s latest book I Suck at Relationships So You Don’t Have To is about her being open and honest that personal relationships have been a problem. From the interview, here are three things that I took away that can be applied to help you build your personal brand and reputation:

1) Know Thy Self.  Sometimes we say and do things based on emotion, which can make for a big emotional mess which needs to be cleaned up in our relationships. This can lead to over-analyzing, beating yourself up, and undermining your confidence. You can’t fix what you don’t acknowledge. It’s important to learn when and how to talk about what you see and are feeling so it doesn’t come back and bite you in your butt, giving toxic people ammunition. For Bethenny, she knows she can talk herself into a really emotional place, obsessing and feeling needy, which has resulted in her having to cleanup emotional messes. This is her truth. From a branding perspective, the more you know about yourself allows you to set clear boundaries on “what you do” and surround yourself with the right people that are supportive and energize you.

2) Let Go.Our past life experiences have a strong impact on our personal and professional relationships and can lead us to feel like we need to control everything in our life. For example, Bethenny is very open about growing up in an abusive environment, feeling abandoned by her father, and moving 12 times in her childhood. This left her with the need to control things. Its important to harness control and use it for good, but it has a negative impact when you feel the need to control everything and everybody around you. From a reputation standpoint, you can be seen, as over-controlling to the point where you are personally miserable and that you are “out of control”.

3) Stop Making Fear-Based Decisions. Are you making decisions based on fear, such as not having enough money, being alone, not getting enough clients, or perfectionism? I think we all have done this as some point in our personal or professional lives. As Bethenny says “fear distracts you from the truth, and you will never know if your decision was the right one if you made it out of fear.” For example, if you have a fear of not having enough money, this can lead you to form “crazy client relationships” with people that don’t respect or value your expertise, as well as people who “suck all your time and energy out of you.” This can prevent you from growing your business. Or, worst case, these people damage your reputation by sharing negative comments about you to others either in person or via social media.

Are you ready to take your personal brand to the next level?  If so, it’s important to assess all your relationships and ask yourself….do they support my personal brand?  If not, maybe its time to move on.  For my clients who are paid experts, its essential to build healthy and meaningful relationships with people who can refer, recommend, and hire your services.   Life is too short to surround or work for people who don’t respect or value your expertise.  I hope this blog post has given you some inspiration to play big.

  • Do current relationships support your personal brand?

  • Do you have a personal brand success story your want to share?