How To Build A Personal Branding Program For Your Team
In the hybrid world of work, members of your team are experiencing a humanity deficit. Learning programs focused on personal branding will help.
Personal branding sounds like an individual activity—after all, “personal” is right there in the name. Yet building a personal branding program is also about team building because it creates cohesion and connection among team members while delivering value to each individual—and to your overall organization too. It’s a triple win. Right now, team leaders are experiencing burnout in a big way. In fact, according to a recent Gallup study, burnout has been increasing among team and project leaders, while burnout has stayed relatively the same among individual team members.
Let’s not get too excited about that flat line for employee burnout; the study shows that 27% of them are experiencing it. You probably don’t want a quarter of your workforce feeling spent, but the past few years have been challenging, and the virtual and hybrid work environments will only continue to increase the feeling of isolation, stress and overwhelm among your people. A personal branding learning program is the perfect antidote because, contrary to what you might have thought, it creates an opportunity for your people to connect with each other on a deep and meaningful level. And personal branding is mostly focused on the positive—helping your team celebrate what makes them unique and exceptional rather than wallowing in weaknesses.
Here are the steps to make it happen.
1. Design your program
To build a program that will motivate your people without adding to their overwhelm (or yours), include a combination of synchronous and asynchronous learning with some self-study, pairs and group exercises, along with a few all-team check-ins. Focus on the part of personal branding that’s all about personal brand discovery. And remember to include both halves of the personal brand discovery puzzle—introspection and input are equally essential.
Introspection allows for self-reflection, helping your people get clear on the six drivers of their personal brand (values, passions, superpowers, differentiators, purpose and goals). Input enables them to validate self-perceptions and incorporate feedback into the personal branding process.
The ideal program is built over approximately 6 weeks so it won’t feel onerous for participants, yet they’ll be able to yield outcomes in a reasonable period of time.
Before you start:
- Let your team know about what they can expect from the personal branding team program
- Assign accountability partners to all team members (it’s fine to have one group of three)
- Schedule the synchronous activities (live video meetings) into calendars so everyone can participate
2. Set the scene with a live branding bootcamp
Like with most things in life, the start often sets the tone. First impressions are so important. To get your program off to an exciting launch, start with an inspiring, interactive online session to get team members pumped. In this session, answer these questions team members will likely have:
- Why are we doing this?
- How will it work?
- What will I get from it?
- Will this be time consuming?
3. Combine individual and pairs activities—Introspection
Your team can go through the brand discovery phase—unearthing their unique promise of value—individually but supplemented by scheduled connections with their accountability partner. When team members meet with their accountability partners and share what they learned in their brand discovery, they deepen their learning and create a solid connection with their teammate. Partners can decide how and when they will connect after completing their solo self-reflection. We recommend three of these paired sessions—including one session after completing exercises that focus on two of the personal branding drivers. Paired partners can decide how and when they meet.
4. Get partner pairs to coach each other—Input
After obtaining feedback from people in their orb, partner pairs can meet to share their feedback data with each other. Then, they can use coaching techniques—like asking powerful questions—to guide each other through their results and use what they learn to validate what they gleaned through introspection.
5. Put it all together (Live Video Meeting)
Bring the whole team together to discuss what they learned about themselves and about their accountability partner from their self-reflection and feedback. This is a powerful bonding activity and an opportunity to connect more deeply with colleagues by getting to learn more about each other—specifically, what makes them interesting and unique. This session could be done as part of (or instead of) a regular team meeting. Participants commit to taking three actions that will help them increase their success and happiness at work by integrating more of their unique brand into what they do and how they do it.
So what’s the benefit to you, the team leader? Well, part of the reason so many managers are experiencing burnout is that they are having to engage more regularly with each of the members of their team to make up for the human connection deficit that the virtual/hybrid world of work has created. By creating closer connections among team members on topics that are truly human (save the learning programs on data analysis or project management for another time), the voids that have been created in our new work environment will be filled. Your people will feel valued for the unique contributions they make to the team, and they’ll have closer, stronger and more authentic connections with each other, confident in the special strengths they bring to work each day.