Leading by example is the best kind of leadership

At the end of the semester in his PR Principles Class at Marquette University, Tom Branigan shares a list of best practices with his students on managing their personal brands. It’s a collection of commonalities he’s observed in his nearly 25 years in communications that are shared among —not successful people — but happy people. Truly happy people, he says.

An effective personal brand — one that has little disparity between your perception of yourself and others’ perceptions of you — is directly linked to a person’s ability to do well in work, and in life, Branigan tells his students.

The list of traits is surprisingly unacademic — integrity, humility, honesty among them — but so important in the real world. It’s that real-world perspective combined with his deep knowledge of communications that have made Branigan a favorite professor at Marquette University for the last decade. Here’s what one of his recent students had to say:

“Mr. Branigan is my favorite teacher, possibly of all time. He really made an effort to make the class interactive and inviting, and I have never participated in a class as much as I have in that class. I could tell that Mr. Branigan really cared about every single one of us students and it made all of the difference. I honestly never wanted to miss a day of that class. He also shared many stories from his life, (which) also helped us to get to know him better. Thank you so much, Mr. Branigan, for your class. I enjoyed every single day of it.”

In recognition of his contributions in the classroom, he received the 2016 Dean’s Award for Teaching Excellence from the Diederich College of Communication at Marquette University. He’d rather we didn’t mention it as it conflicts with his personal brand. As he often says around the office, “Sometimes it’s all about you, but mostly it’s not.”

Well, we found out about it anyway, and though we don’t bring it up to embarrass its recipient or to boast on his behalf (Did we mention he also received the award in 2008?), we will say this:

Personal example is one of the truest forms of leadership. Thank you, Tom Branigan, for your vision, your motivation and your trust, and for keeping us on brand, each and every day.

— The Branigan Communications team