Lead and Your Personal Brand Will Follow


30x30x30 Blogathon Post #26:  June 26th – Ryan Mickley

It seems I am closing out the final week of the Blogathon with most posts by my fellow Reach Personal Branding colleagues. Today for Day 26 I am psyched to have Ryan Mickley as my guest author. After years of studying leadership development and personal branding, Ryan had an Ah-Ha! moment. He realized that leadership is the foundation of every personal brand. He does an awesome job of proving it in this post.

Enjoy Ryan’s post and let your brand lead!


The 30x30x30 Blogathon is happening every day in June! Click here to add to your feed, and you won’t miss a day!

Circumstances don’t make the man; they reveal him. This is how leaders come into existence. Not by birth but rather by discovery. You were created to lead. It is woven into the very fiber of your being. You may not consider yourself a leader but truly I tell you, you are. You just haven’t discovered your area of influence yet. It is my sincere hope that by the time you are finished reading this post, you will begin seeing yourself as the leader you were meant to be.

Leadership as the Foundation of Your Personal Brand

My primary objective in writing this article is to prove that leadership is indeed the foundation to every personal brand. And since everyone has a personal brand (whether you know it or not), everyone is a leader in creation.

As a Master Certified Reach Personal Branding Strategist, I am naturally an advocate for the Reach methodology. This methodology teaches that the personal branding process consists of three phases: Extract, Express and Exude.

“Leadership is the foundation of every personal brand.” Tweet This!

You cannot express or exude a brand without first discovering your unique promise of value. And how do you do that? You become a leader within your area of influence and authority.

For the purpose of this discussion, we will use the definition of leadership as defined by Dr. Myles Munroe: “Leadership is the capacity to influence others through inspiration, generated by a passion, motivated by a vision, birthed from a conviction, produced by a purpose.”

In the Extract phase of personal branding, you must discover your Vs and Ps (vision, values, purpose, principles and goals). Do any of these VPs sound familiar? They should. They are found in our definition of leadership! In order to lead, a leader must know his vision, purpose, values, principles and goals. The leader is simply not a leader without these elements.

But wait there’s more!

If we consider the Reach definition of personal branding, “a unique promise of value,” it is even more apparent that leadership is the foundation to every personal brand.

  • Unique – one of kind, different, unlike any other. People don’t follow clones, copies, imitations or knockoffs. They follow people who are unique. By nature, a leader stands out from the crowd.
  • Promise – covenant, your word, a vow, guarantee. People listen to and respect those who are confident. Promises pertain to events yet to happen and since no one has the ability to predict the future with 100% accuracy and clarity, leaders must be confident in their promises. Confidence will birth authority when mixed with proven success. This helps followers feel secure in their decision to follow.
  • Value – worth, usefulness, helpfulness, significance. Leaders seek to provide value to their followers. A leader’s sole responsibility is to serve others by elevating their quality of life in some way. Other than positional leadership, people will not follow someone who does not offer any value to them.

Begin with the Alphas

Hopefully by now you are excited by the revelation that you are a leader and are curious to know what you can do to start discovering your personal brand. I recommend starting with the “Alphas.”

  • Attributes – You have both rational and emotional attributes that combine to make up your leadership brand. Your rational attributes help you qualify for a leadership position while your emotional attributes help differentiate you in that position. To find out what your rational and emotional attributes are I suggest taking the 360Reach Assessment.
  • Aptitude – You have to be capable of fulfilling your unique promise of value. In other words, you must be authentic to who you really are. You will not be able to lead everyone because you don’t have the ability to do so. Be honest about what you can and cannot do so that you can manage expectations and keep your followers satisfied.
  • Attitude – Leaders are optimistic and confident because they have to be. Nobody is going to follow someone who doesn’t make them feel secure. Take a lion for instance. The lion is the “King of the Jungle” not because it is the strongest, fastest, biggest animal but rather because it is the most courageous animal with the loudest roar. It is the lion’s attitude that makes it the king. Change your attitude and you will increase your…
  • Altitude – You’ll know you are a true leader when you morph into an eagle. Eagles are the leaders of birds because eagles never flock‐only pigeons flock. No other bird flies higher than the eagle because eagles have the capacity to set their pinions into the wind currents to propel them to otherwise impossible heights. Your “pinions” are your attributes, aptitude and attitude. Use these to propel your brand. When an eagle is at its peak height in flight, it never meets another bird‐ except an eagle.

In summary, in order to develop, implement and maintain your personal brand, you must first become the leader you were meant to be. Once you discover your leadership qualities you will be ready to cultivate followers through marketing your personal brand. Wherever you are in your life, I encourage you to take a second and look around. If you find yourself surrounded by eagles – you are a leader with a strong brand. If you find yourself surrounded by pigeons, however – you likely have a weak brand.


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About the author

Ryan Mickley Known as “The Leadership Branding Scholar” for his work in developing the brands of student leaders, Ryan holds an impressive academic career. Earning his first Bachelor of Science in Recreation, Parks & Tourism from the University of Florida, Ryan spent the first three years of his career in private hospitality. He later earned a second Bachelor of Science from Full Sail University and graduated as class Valedictorian, Advanced Achievement Award recipient, and earned the coveted Course Director Award 13 times. Ryan was the founder and president of the Full Sail Student Branding Society where he hosted webinars featuring Internet marketing experts. He is now Executive Producer of the world renowned Reach Personal Branding Interview Series.