Do you have leadership presence?

by  Tal Shnall  |  Leadership Development

“Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom.” Lao Tzu

Leadership is about results and positive outcomes, and so leaders want the hearts and minds of others directed toward a unified purpose. Presence is one way the leader can engage the energies and commitment of others to a common goal. Authenticity and effective communication skills are key to successful leadership.

The most successful leaders, visionaries and entrepreneurs have a leadership presence.  These leaders make others feel that they are an important part of their teams.   Presence is all about connecting to engage in a positive way.  After all, leaders must project good confidence and emotional intelligence to build trust and build a culture with their teams.

Leadership presence allows the leader and the led to connect with something bigger than themselves. Cultivating a positive leadership presence allows leaders to better relate to their teams. When you lead with warmth and infectious positive attitude, you gain trust and guide with subtle, but effective influence.

Belle Linda Halpern and Kathy Lubar in their book “Leadership Presence” define Leadership Presence as “the ability to connect authentically with the thoughts and feelings of others in order to motivate and inspire them to achieve a desired outcome.”  This ability to connect is essential for all people who lead or motivate others, whether you are a leader of a company or a volunteer in the community.

People are drawn to and influenced by leaders who communicate authentically, connect easily with people, and have a positive impact.  People become more energetic and engaged with the common mission, positively impacting the team growth and performance.

So how do you become one of them?

Leadership presence requires positive confidence and self-knowledge. Leaders must communicate what matters to them in way that connects with what matters to others. One way to do that is by sharing stories about your challenges and how you overcame them instead of reflecting an all-powerful authority figure.

Leadership presence is not about exercising your power and influence; but rather the ability to make others feel your engaged presence in a safe environment.  For those that desire to intimidate others with their power; their executive role and influence will be short-lived.

What does it take to have a leadership presence?

Leadership presence is about being a good listener and the ability to quickly connect the patterns of conversation in order to detect other people’s interests, leadership style and professional needs.

Leadership presence is about earning the right from others to explore a more meaningful and purposeful relationship.  Leadership presence is not about you; it’s about others.

Leadership presence is about having impactful, long-lasting presence that inspires others to want to know more.

Leaders who have presence display genuine connection with the people around them through honesty, listening, clarity, appreciation for others and empathy. They create a comforting sense that allows people to trust and follow them.




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What People Are Saying

Hazel Rowell-Peverley  |  20 Jan 2014  |  Reply

Fostering a Culture of Integrity in Leadership, is one of the basic elements of human relations and sends strong and powerful messages that ultimately inform our decisions or justifies our direction of travel. In commercial recognition of success, we are often compelling ourselves and others to focus on key performance targets. That’s not that they are not crucial; they have their place, although they should not override integrity. It is however the integrity that gives the business the sustainable power to achieve and retain customers and business.
And the basis of integrity is to be confident in your connection to others, a person, who exudes personal warmth, as well as strength from an inner knowing.

Cynthia Bazin  |  20 Jan 2014  |  Reply

Great post Tal! I agree that leaders that are authentic and take the time to REALLY connect with their teams are really the most influential leaders. I am sharing your post because it is that awesome! Thank you!

MO Consulting  |  20 Jan 2014  |  Reply

Thank you for a purposeful commentary. Authentic and continuous communications beget the confidence, swag, and braggadocio so important to influence and connect with others, making you a more credible leader.

Mary C Schaefer  |  21 Jan 2014  |  Reply

Thank you, Tal, for reinforcing even moreso the case for the connection to leadership and emotional intelligence.

My favorite line: “Presence is all about connecting to engage in a positive way.”

Your entire post reminds of an article by Daniel Goleman I read recently where he describes all the different types of empathy (and how they can be used for good or evil, depending on your conscience).

I was really struck by the fact that some of the best leaders I know have this presence you describe and it is related to their abilities to be empathic in one or more ways that Goleman describes. (Here’s a link to that article: http://bit.ly/EI-empathy)

Well done, Tal. Your post engaged me today.

Tal Shnall  |  25 Jan 2014  |  Reply

Thank you Mary for the feedback and glad it got you engaged. I always appreciate the comments.

Mike Henry  |  21 Jan 2014  |  Reply

Tal, thanks for a great post. One thing I’d add: leadership presence is the attitude a leader has when they KNOW their success is directly dependent on the success of their team. The communicate with every fiber of their being that they (the leader) understand their top priority is the success of their team. To me the air, and attitude coming from someone like that is leadership presence.

Thanks for the great post! Mike…

Tal Shnall  |  25 Jan 2014  |  Reply

Thanks Mile. That’s a great addition and glad you mentioned it because it’s in real time when we feel and see it.

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