Leadership Presence: Do you Qualify?
We’ve all met someone with presence. When they speak people listen. When they walk into a room, heads turn. When talking to others, they have the unique ability to make people feel comfortable and at ease. People like them, employees want to work for them and employers want to hire and keep them. So can anyone develop it? We believe they can, however, there are two pre-requisites: the first is a sense of self and the second is a little wardrobe space.
Here are a few more tips that may also help:
1. Let your values speak. Who you are speaks through your character and is demonstrated through your actions. There is a big difference between knowing your values and living them. Know thyself and act and live, with integrity.
2. Develop a winning strategy. Be other focused and seek out ways that you can help others achieve their goals. Great leaders care about others and strive to help them succeed and win. Celebrate your team’s victories – especially the little ones and then give them credit for yours.
3. Be humble. Seek feedback and ask questions that demonstrate your humility. ie. Where can I improve as a leader? What do I need to do to help you improve your results? What frustrates you most about me? Now for some, the last question may elicit a long answer, however, great leaders remain a work-in-progress and laugh at themselves as they progress.
4. Be an active listener. The best leaders listen way more than they speak. Poor listening skills is the number one complaint people have about their bosses. So lean forward, turn off your phone, eliminate distractions, acknowledge others through positive facial expressions and be present. Ask more questions and wait for the answers. You’ll improve your results and your relationships.
5. Project your self-worth. How you present yourself speak volumes about who you are and how you see yourself. It’s also a statement about your level of self-confidence, self-respect and self-worth. Be well-groomed – from head to toe, smile, maintain good eye contact, develop a strong handshake, stand tall and walk with your shoulders back. You will energize yourself and those around you and command respect.
6. Become a great speaker and storyteller. To truly stand out, ensure your speeches and presentations have a strong opening, middle and end. To open strongly, find quotes that summarize the heart of your message – your audience will be enraptured and compelled to listen. Don’t be afraid to use funny and personal anecdotes to illustrate your points. It’s the easiest way to establish rapport, build a sense of community and importantly, show your audience that you are a real human being!
7. Strengthen your vocal image. How you say something is four times more important than what you say. Speak with clarity and strive for short sentences. Adjust the volume, speed and tone of your voice - you will move into sympathetic resonance with your audience and build instant rapport. And remember, to engage people’s minds, you must first touch their hearts. Choose words that inspire, excite and motivate others to not only listen, but to act on your words.
8. Remember people’s names. Everyone loves to hear the sound of their own name and it also makes others feel important and shows that you care. If you want to raise the anti – strive to remember their spouses’/partners’/children’s names – it will go a long way to building and strengthening relationships.
9. Be accountable for your losses. Life is not always about winning. By acknowledging and taking responsibility for your losses or mistakes, you will demonstrate your vulnerability and gain the respect of your colleagues. Create an environment both at home and at work, where admitting a mistake is not seen as the end of the world, but rather an opportunity to learn and grow.
10. Strive for balance. Balance is not something you simply fit in when you have some down time. It’s what fuels you and the organization and it’s what gives meaning and purpose to your life. Make time to integrate your values into your life – you will feel great about who you are and inspire others to follow your lead.
In closing, remember that the whole person is a sum of all the parts. When you lead from within, you will carry yourself with dignity. When you do the right thing, you will walk with your head held high. When you take a genuine interest in others, others will take a genuine interest in you. When you live your life in alignment with your values, you will exude confidence. And finally, when you feel good about who you are, you will shine from within and in turn, illuminate those around you. And then people will call you a leader and someone, with presence.
Kimberley is an inspirational speaker, seminar leader and executive coach. She inspires people to become genuine leaders and in turn, the kind of person others are inspired to emulate.