This morning I commented on the ForbesWoman LinkedIn group to a discussion on personal branding. The question was, "are businesswomen avoiding the spotlight, not as focused on Personal Branding as men?" Here's my response:
"My research confirms that women are less likely to seek the spotlight and develop a professional brand by displaying expertise in many arenas. For example, in several gender-neutral LinkedIn groups on leadership, the comments are overwhelmingly offered by men. Another, a review a few years ago of HBR articles showed that nearly all were written by men.This was a timely question. Yesterday I presented to the WISE group at New York Life. One of the most important pieces of advice I offered was that there is a difference between your personal, professional and leadership brands. This is a distinction rarely made, but absolutely essential for women who are working to create careers that soar or businesses that succeed.
That being said, I wouldn't say that women are not as focused on our Personal brands. We are mis-focused. Here's why: most messages we receive about personal branding are over-focused on personal style: attire, fitness, accessories. This mis-focus on style is coupled with women's humility and distaste for or discomfort with self-promotion. As a result we often don't look for or take advantage of opportunities to establish professional competence and leadership credibility."
If you'd like to learn more about the distinction and how to make it work for you, please email info@LeadingWomen.biz.
Susan Colantuono is CEO of Leading Women and author of No Ceiling, No Walls. Follow her on Twitter.