If you enter a room with 15 leaders one of them will stand out. She will have an air of confidence that people notice. Others will stop talking and listen to him. That person will have an overall decorum that exudes the message, “I belong here.”
Executive presence is a blending of mindset, competencies, and delivery that gives the overall impression that this person has dignity and can get the job done. Can executive presence be developed? Yes – if the person has a foundation of self-confidence and a willingness to build their self-awareness and self-regulation.
Learn to manage emotions in the unpredictable moment by taking a deep breath and asking yourself, “What is going on with me?” Don’t be quick to give a biased opinion that may not be politically correct. If you feel threatened, don’t act out. Your insecurities...
Have you overreacted in front of key leaders at work and immediately regretted it? Have you felt anxiety because you assumed something said was personal towards you? Have you thought a round of bad luck would pervade every area of your life or go on indefinitely?
We’ve all been stuck and not able to self-regulate. Unfortunately, stuck thinking only breeds more suffering when our only strategy is to get back on the treadmill to nowhere with the same mindset and behaviors.
Early in my career I remember over-reacting at an executive management meeting and feeling justified. I had so little self-awareness that the need to be right overshadowed my presence and effectiveness. These occurrences start to build stereotypes that rob you of respect. Don’t be labeled the “emotional leader” or “the victim.”
Become a third-party observer of your own behavior and thoughts - a fly on the wall watching your life. What would you tell a friend who had your...
What I’ve learned in observing myself and my executive clients for years is that the biggest factor holding us back from taking risks and having executive presence as a leader boils down to one thing - lack of self-acceptance.
We can’t show up and lead boldly if our standard is perfection. We can’t forgive others until we forgive ourselves. We can’t connect and richly serve humanity if we aren’t comfortable with our own vulnerability.
It takes humility to ask ourselves this - “Am I willing to continue to live and lead at the level I am now or not?” If the answer is an emphatic “No!” then people are willing to search inside themselves for what serious changes they’re committed to make, seek guidance along the way and establish practices to sustain growth. If not, they get right back on the treadmill to nowhere, exhausted and disappointed.
Self-acceptance means we prioritize nurturing ourselves. We take time to make...
New SMART Leaders ASK THE RIGHT QUESTIONS. You know that risk you’re avoiding because it makes you uncomfortable and you’re really unsure about what will happen if you take it? Maybe you should pay attention to that.
Get curious about it. Is now the right time? What would change if you waited another month? Is it really an either or choice? What other options might there be? Who might be good counsel on this? How can you be gentle with yourself as you vet the decision?
Trust your gut and ask questions. Your pinhole perspective will start to open. You’re head is too analytical and you heart is too emotional. Trust instinct and challenge assumptions. It’s how we’ve stayed alive as a species for centuries. It will serve you in doubt.
Check out my latest column for The Ladders - $100,000+ job site here.
P.S. Feel free to send this link to someone who could benefit from it. We are all walking down the same road in...
Late Monday afternoon on April 23rd my husband flew American Airlines 8+ hours through the night from Philadelphia to Munich. An hour and a half before the flight landed while the cabin was dark and most passengers were sleeping the airline blared an announcement asking people to donate to a charity - something that could have occurred earlier.
My husband questioned the flight attendant who told him to go to AA.com & file a complaint with the company.
(Not that it should matter but my husband flew business class and is Concierge Key, all which the flight attendant knew.)
Subsequently, the pilot came out & told him the same thing.
Let’s replay this:
Pilot: #1) You and every employee are the face of the company - you own its behavior. Apologize and fact find. “I understand you had a bad experience and I apologize. We value your business. Please tell me what happened.”
#2) Affirm the toll. “I understand that you probably have to work as...
Recently I was not feeling well and missed an event where I had hoped to extend my deepest appreciation to several hundred volunteers at St. Margaret Hospital. I was so disappointed that I couldn’t be there to thank these outstanding stewards of our patients who struggle with the biggest challenges of their lives. The next day I received this note from the two directors of the event - simply run off on their printer that said:
Thinking of You -
Hope you’re feeling much better
and hope you’re remembering, too
The many warm thoughts and good wishes
that always are right there with you.
If you think personal notes (talking hard copy here and not email) are a thing of the past you are wrong. This totally captured my attention, warmed my heart, made me smile and immediately inspired me to reach out and thank them.
I keep a drawer full of informal note cards for this very thing - from personalized Crane to Kate Spade to convenience store birthday cards. And I...
Feedback is crucial to performance improvement because it enables us to look at situations and ourselves from a third-party perspective. It unlocks self-reflection and growth, and opens the door to opportunity. “You are doing a great job” or “You have to do better,” does not give the employee the needed tools to improve or the intrinsic fulfillment to make him want to stay with the company and grow.
Effective feedback has three mindful components. It is 1) Strategic, 2) Developmental and 3) Aligned with the values of the organization. These require us to be aware of our restrictive biases.
Strategic Feedback: The employee can most benefit from feedback that answers this question: “What should this employee do more or less of to be maximally effective?” If you aren’t sure of the answer, ask the employee. Once you have the answer, you can work with her to clear distractions from her workload and position her to do the most meaningful and...
At the end of every week I try to reflect on one thing learned and one thing advanced. This builds self-awareness and focus.
This week I learned that just because you try something that doesn’t work out doesn’t mean your idea was wrong. Maybe the provider wasn’t right. Or the goal needs to be modified. Or the approach isn’t sound. I almost abandoned a strategy because of one let down. Another provider opened my eyes.
This week also I advanced a weekly planner I had been working on with my designer and wrote another article for The Ladders. This feels great! If you are interested in the free PDF week at a glance sheet - my Flow-on-the-Go Guide - that I use to track my daily routines and goals click here. This is what will be in my book. All my clients ue this. We need structure around building routines and creating goals to fulfill us. Without it goals are simply notions and routines become unfulfilled dreams.
P.S. Feel free to send this...
I see a lot of my corporate executive coaching clients struggle with the balance of certainty and humility as a leader. They want to have the presence of a strong leader yet they don’t want to appear arrogant or they have some self-doubt. Too often they dial back their executive presence as well as their voice. Here is a good strategy.
I had to layoff four people in the first 30 days of one of my roles as a CEO. It was very difficult.
As a leader you most certainly will have to make a difficult decision that will affect someone’s life if you haven’t already. When we can lean in to the difficult feeling this brings us and deal with them first, we can better bring compassion to the situation and others. These decisions can leave us feeling hurtful, frustrated, too practical, disliked and more. Name the feelings. Being comfortable with our own discomfort is a good place to start.
Open communication with others is the first step to building bridges not road blocks. I met with each person in the office and asked very specific questions about what they thought the direction of the office should be, what our strengths and weaknesses were and what they would do if they were me.
They saw the layoffs coming. I placed as many people elsewhere as I could and promised those left behind that we would eliminate...