One thing to know about your leadership brand

Casey Onder, PhD
2 min readJan 30


Photo by Carolina on Unsplash

Leadership brand refers to how you interact with others to get results.

Here’s the thing: If you have any hint of imposter syndrome or you’re working in a culture where your strengths are outside the norm: There’s a good chance you’re showing up in ways that aren’t especially “authentic.”

Humans are social, adapting our behavior comes with the territory.

Women and minority leaders know this all too well, and shapeshifting or mask wearing can happen to anyone (sometimes it’s done in a way that’s disempowered, sometimes it’s adaptive and in a healthy range, sometimes it’s used to manipulate).

Either way if it’s not working, for the leader and/or for others, it’s time to take a look.

When we don’t “fit in” (or we don’t feel like we do) we have two choices:

  1. Find a different context (role, team, company culture)
  2. Show up more authentically, see what happens

#1 requires resourcefulness, #2 requires vulnerability (as well as confidence and emotional intelligence). Both require courage.

If #2 sounds uncomfortable, I’ve been there. I worked with high level leaders straight out of school, with whom I had very little in common. As a consultant I had to be “on.” My colleagues likewise were of a different generation, different life experiences and cultural beliefs from me. I was the odd woman out, and I thought I needed masks to survive and be seen as competent. I would have done well to understand my preferred personal and leadership brand, e.g. with the tips listed here.

If you don’t have a clear sense of yourself or you have over identified with particular roles or relationships, defining your brand may seem difficult. Personality science corroborates that you are complex, multifaceted, adaptable, an ever evolving diamond with multiple surfaces and angles.

And if you would like your brand to be different than it is now, whether because you’re growing, because it’s unclear or because you feel inauthentic, you get to choose. You get to show up differently.

You may not know how others will react, whether you’ll be more or less respected or influential and, you can be who you are, and who you want to be.

You’ll be best at it, it will come easiest.

Leaders at the top of their game and companies play to their strengths, preferences and values.

And that makes all the difference.

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Casey Onder, PhD

Psychologist, success coach, believer in solid behavioral science and the power of tuning in.