Leadership Presence

Some leaders grab your attention while others seem to cause their team to disconnect and tune out.

As a leader, you are constantly being observed. Whether you realize it or not, you are being evaluated on your composure, confidence, credibility, and ability to connect with others. In the eyes of most people, presence is the ability to command attention from others. But “commanding attention” is only one outcome of presence, not its essence or even its most valuable outcome. I prefer to think of leadership presence in a different–and deeper–way.

In a recent workshop I taught, I was asked about leadership presence. This was such a hot topic at the workshop that I wanted to share some of my comments from our conversation:

COURAGE: Leaders have the courage to say what needs to be said–even if it’s unpopular. Do you speak up when your gut tells you things need to change? Courage is the mark of leadership presence.

COMMUNICATION: Leaders have a responsibility to not only communicate a message, but to ensure everyone on their team understands the message. Do you find yourself frustrated when others don’t seem to follow or understand your message? Lack of effective communication causes misunderstanding and conflict. For more on this, check out my recent post on over-communicating.

PROBLEM SOLVING: Leaders solve problems. They understand that the best solution may not always be the obvious one and that even effective solutions may not always be popular. Look around. What problems need to be addressed? What solutions can you offer? Regardless of your position, you can demonstrate leadership presence by being a problem solver.

AUTHENTICITY: It’s simple: would you trust someone who comes across as fake? Authentic leaders are true to who they are and what they believe. They’re genuinely interested in what others have to say and they don’t veer from their beliefs just because they’re under pressure. Do you take the time to genuinely connect with others? Are you honest about what you’re thinking and feeling, with both yourself and others? Being REAL is one of the simplest ways you can exhibit leadership in any situation.

PRESENT: I can always tell the most senior person in a room because they are the least distracted, allowing themselves to actually listen and respond to those around them. Do you have the capacity to be present? Leaders who are present exude freedom, authority and ease.

(And that’s) Leadership presence. Some naturally have it, others don’t–but everyone can develop it. I know people can develop leadership presence because I have been helping leaders for over a decade. Do you want to grow your leadership presence? Contact me – I would love to help you!