The Single Most Powerful Way To Improve Your LinkedIn Profile

"Leadership is autobiographical. If I don't know your life story, I don't know a thing about you as a leader." Here's how to share yours.

Photo: Ken Gosnell, CEO and Servant Leader of CXP (CEO Experience); Source: Courtesy Photo
Photo: Ken Gosnell, CEO and Servant Leader of CXP (CEO Experience); Source: Courtesy Photo

Noel Tichy, American management consultant and author of over 30 books once wrote, “Leadership is autobiographical. If I don’t know your life story, I don’t know a thing about you as a leader. ”

LinkedIn provides an excellent opportunity to share your leadership story. In the summary section on your profile page, you can highlight your values and skills that speak about who you are as a person. Many people make the mistake of using this section to share information about their current position. Instead, use this space to share your leadership story. It provides an excellent opportunity for potential customers and partners to learn who you are.

For inspiration, and an example, let me share with you part of mine.


My LinkedIn Leadership Story

When I was ten years old growing up in the Midwest, I remember having a conversation with my father. He always took two things to work every day: his hard hat and his Bible. One day I asked dad why he took his Bible to work. He said that the Bible helped him, and he wanted to read it during his breaks. Those two items that my father introduced me to at a young age have shaped my life.

A Hard Hat Philosophy

My father was the oldest brother of 5 siblings. When he was 15 years old, his father was killed by a drunk driver. As a result, he quit school and went to work to help his mother provide for their family. My dad always held hard labor jobs. He wore a hard hat his entire life. His work ethic taught me the value of working hard. No task is too tough to accomplish, and if we work hard enough at anything, we can become successful.

The Bible During Breaks

My father taught me the value of learning. I was the first in my family to go to college. I graduated with honors and then went on to receive two Master’s Degrees. The most valuable lesson one can learn in life is that they have the power to learn, grow, and develop. That is why I believe our destiny unfolds in the future but is shaped by the decisions and choices we make today. I want to make the decision to grow and develop every day of my life. Every day I should be learning something new.


Writing your leadership story

Here are a few suggestions to write your own leadership story.

1. Focus on defining moments that shaped who you are

Every leader should be able to identify a defining moment that impacted their life, leadership and leadership style. Writing this in the form of a story will communicate the fullness of who you are as a person. Consider the single most important defining moment that has shaped your life and role as a leader and share why it shaped you.


2. Fill in the gaps by explaining your why

Your position tells the world what you do. Your leadership story should share why you do what you do. Simon Sinek communicated this value when he said, “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” Your leadership story is your personal why and provides context for how you show up in the world.


3. Highlight values that explain how you do business

Your leadership story should communicate one or two fundamental values that make you who you are and explain how you conduct business. These values should be highlighted through the paragraph headers. In a matter of minutes, people who read your profile will find the key values you possess and a reason why they should connect with you. Consider one or two words that summarize your leadership approach.

I would enjoy hearing your leadership story. Please share your story with me by connecting with me on LinkedIn. I look forward to hearing your story.


Ken Gosnell is the CEO and Servant Leader of CXP (CEO Experience). He serves leaders by helping them to have great experiences that both transform them and their organizations that enable to go further faster. He has worked with hundreds of CEOs and leadership teams to enhance strategic, operational and people accomplishments. He is an author, coach, and strategic partner with CEOs. Ken is the creator and facilitator of the Christian CEO Linkedin Group and creator of the CEO Experience Impact Assessment. He is married to Shonda, and they have four children. Connect with @ken_gosnell on Twitter.


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