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Leadership Presence: The Face of Today’s Leadership

“Leadership is not about titles, positions, or flowcharts. It is about one life influencing another.” – John C. Maxwell

Many people in a position of authority struggle with their Leadership Presence. They have adopted the kind of persona that they assume a leader is supposed to have: a TED Talk cadence, authoritative body language, studied informality, and a package of carefully curated slides. Yet, in adopting this stance it showed that you are not authentic and people will assume your message is not either.

The biggest challenge of leaders and aspiring leaders is to inspire and motivate people to take the right action on behalf of themselves and the group. This is the challenge of Leadership Development today. Leadership Presence has become the face of today’s leadership. An authentic leader does not mean just “winging it” or saying whatever you feel. Being an authentic leader now requires an ability to transform impulse into insights, articulate these insights to fulfill a purpose, and to build the needed relationship. Authentic leadership must be able to build trust. And an authentic leader must have Leadership Presence.

What is Leadership Presence?

Leadership Presence is the ability to communicate what needs to be said in a way that inspires people to join their leaders.

Leaders or aspiring leaders at any level must inspire and motivate people so that they can take the right action on behalf of themselves and their group. Hence, it is important that a leader must have a strong presence and not just at conferences but in every interaction. As a leader, every aspect of your presence – your physical self, your intellect, your voice, and your emotions – is intimately bound up with your message.

Sharpening our Core: The 10 Core Principles of Leadership Presence

To have Leadership Presence, a leader needs to inculcate within themselves the 10 Core Principles of Leadership Presence. These are the principles that will enable the authentic leader to raise the bar of excellence when it comes to inspiring and motivating people to reach their greatest potential.

There are 10 Core Principles. Let us take a look at 2 of the 10 Core Principles.

  1. Communicate in a holistic manner. Principle 1 is focused on forming a single impression of the leader and their message. To communicate in a holistic manner, one needs to think of the intellect, emotions, and body as one. Often, people evaluate integrity and veracity together with the person’s posture, tone of voice, and mood. Never has it happened that people gauge a person only on one specific aspect; often, it is the entirety of the whole being. This is why there is a need to emphasize the importance of communicating in a holistic manner. When a leader communicates in a holistic manner, this will increase the recognition of emotions, reasoning, and actions. It will also lead to more honesty and authenticity. You can just imagine the impact it will have on your people.
  1. Focus on what matters most. The second principle is focusing on what matters most. It is speaking only what is important. Focusing on what is important means focusing on what needs to be accomplished and what the listeners care about. When leaders start focusing on what matters most, there will be a clearer conviction, willingness to invest time and resources, and greater aspiration for others.

Achieving Leadership Presence: Putting the Principles into Action

Achieving Leadership Presence takes a conscious effort to change and take command of what is important. Leadership Presence is achieved once we start putting the 10 Core Principles into action. Principle 1 requires recognizing connections among our emotions, reasoning, and actions. We need to work out these elements to be able to improve the overall impact. Getting a coach to help us go through the process will help a lot.

Adapting Principle 2 requires figuring out what we care about and why. We need to think about its connection to our purpose and our listeners. And once we do this, we need to commit to it wholeheartedly.

Once we learn Principles 3 to 10, this will further sharpen our leadership capability and build within us the ability to establish a unique sense of Leadership that is unique, authentic, and inspiring.

Interested in gaining more understanding of Leadership Presence? You can learn more and download an editable PowerPoint about Leadership Presence here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

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About Joseph Robinson

Joseph Robinson is the Vice President of Strategy at Flevy. Flevy is the marketplace for best practices in business management. Learn how the Fortune 100 and global consulting firms do it. Improve the growth and efficiency of your organization by leveraging Flevy's library of best practice methodologies and templates. The documents at Flevy (https://flevy.com) are of the same caliber as those produced by top-tier management consulting firms, like McKinsey, BCG, Bain, and Accenture. Most were developed by seasoned executives and consultants with 20+ years of experience. Flevy covers 200+ management topics, ranging from Digital Transformation to Growth Strategy to Lean Management. You can peruse a full list of management topics available on Flevy here. Prior to Flevy, Joseph worked as an Associate at BCG and holds an MBA from the Sloan School of Management at MIT. You can connect with Joseph on LinkedIn here.

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