5 Executive Presence Calming Strategies for the Moment You're Confronted

Your day is going well. You’ve done your research and are a maven on your project. You’re in a meeting and out of nowhere someone blindsides you with cynical inuendo, overt criticism, passive aggressive posturing or their personal agenda. Your body gets stiff. Your face feels flushed. Your heart is racing. A voice inside your head is screaming, ‘Danger!’ And then in your own defense you do or say something you later regret.

We’ve all been there.

Some people can weather these situations without losing their presence. Others cannot. The difference is that some people have trained themselves to be able to notice what is happening to them, both emotionally and physiologically, lean into it with curiosity as opposed to away in fear, and allow the immediate physiological and emotional response to subside so they can respond appropriately.

Initially, you may think you don’t have time for this transition to take place before you need to react. Like most...

Continue Reading...

Being Alone

Our natural state is to be connected to others - not separate and detached. This is not to negate the fact that we all need alone time to recharge our energy. When we repeatedly withdraw and are alone we aren’t fulfilled. It takes courage and humility to put down our guard. It takes self-acceptance, vulnerability and abandonment of perfectionism to create an open mindset of kindness.

Leaders who are real are relatable. Leaders with executive presence aren’t artificial. Their presence isn’t a facade. They have feelings just like everyone else. They just know how not to allow emotion to cloud their judgment and affect their behavior. They notice the emotion - doubt, anger, fear, sadness - realize it is likely an assumption and let it go before it takes over. Negative assumptions sabotage our connection with others and ourselves.

As humans we have the ability to mindfully observe our thoughts, situations and emotions from a third party perspective so that we may...

Continue Reading...

It Is Not Your Job to Engage Them

Corporations spend a lot of energy on employee engagement as if there is some magic formula of training, open door policies, and standardized performance evaluations such that if the leader does all of them in perfect harmony, they’ll have a symphony of engagement.  

It’s not the leader’s job to engage workers. It’s the workers’ job to come to work ready to do their best. The problem is employees may not know how to be their best or what ‘best’ looks like. It’s the leader’s job to issue the call to excellence and help employees be great.   

Free lunch, a pool table in the break room and flex hours are not the answer to poor engagement. Setting clear goals is a start but can backfire and lead to entitlement without accountability. 

Often bureaucracy, cynicism, personal agendas and politics start to poison company cultures, especially when employees start attaching interpretive stories to factual...

Continue Reading...

10 Assumptions That Kill Careers and 10 Truths that Advance Them

I have many clients working in toxic cultures that minimize the contributions of good leaders as well as divide otherwise collaborative people against each other. Often victims of these cultures internalize that they are being targeted and become paranoid. They play it safe and downplay their ingenuity to remain unseen. They fear being terminated which becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy because they end up doing or saying something out of frustration that gets them in trouble.  

Empowerment happens when you can tell the distinct difference between what is an assumption and what is true. Assumptions are limiting. Truth is actionable. 

10 Assumptions That Kill Careers and 10 Truths that Advance Them 

  1. I don’t have enough experience. 

Experience can be learned. Motivation, dedication, resourcefulness and tenacity are transferable. If you know more about an industry or skill it will not alter any of these intrinsic characteristics. Think of the lowest...

Continue Reading...

Stop Those Thoughts

You are so much more than your than your thoughts. Who would you be without the head trash that came from life messages you adopted as truths? These thoughts are only assumptions triggered by a needy ego. Needy egos have terrible executive presence. 

  1. Tell your ego you’ve got this, and that it can take a rest from trying to protect you out of fear of rejection. You’re open and ready.   
  1. Notice that there are other people who might be feeling the same thing right now. 
  1. Reach out and give them assurance that you think they are awesome.  
  1. Remind yourself that you’re awesome too.  
  1. Take a long mindful walk with deep breaths and awareness of your surroundings. 
  1. Make time to eat something healthy. You matter.  
  1. Sleep. Prepare for sleep without using electronic devices for three hours before bed. Read something soothing and peaceful before you fall asleep or listen to a guided meditation for...
Continue Reading...

How Do We Not Get Disappointed

Goals are essential to success. No doubt. Knowing that, how do we not affix our fulfillment to an outcome? 

There’s a difference between working TOWARD something and working FOR something. Setting a goal, working hard, listening, learning and adjusting along the way is a natural course for survival. It’s how we’ve evolved and not become extinct as a species. But when we personalize an outcome - positive or negative - instead of seeing it as a natural course of events we make the outcome about us instead of the greater good of the whole. Our ego gets in the way and its hunger for affirmation supersedes reality. Then we begin to think we can control the natural flow of events when ego never contributes to flow. It acts like a logger-jam.  

If you don’t get the promotion, job, relationship, home, vacation, car, pen, handbag, health, time, freedom you want what do you have that matters? Choices. Nothing is permanent including your mindset. When...

Continue Reading...

How Honesty Saves Time and Builds Executive Presence

Jason’s boss is the new CEO of a company that has not met budget for two years. The organization is merging with two other organizations, making the culture guarded and tentative. Jason is afraid his position isn’t secure because the CEO continually questions his opinions and doesn’t affirm that he brings any value to the team. Additionally, the executive management team is posturing at their weekly meetings whereby one dominant personality is allowed to single him out with criticism outside of her authority. Jason is feeling judged by his boss and threatened by his peers. 

How we conduct ourselves in a tense situation is paramount to how we are viewed as a leader. Maintaining executive presence is extremely challenging when you feel as if you are negatively critiqued. Self-management is key. Being honest with yourself and others is the first tenet to presence. We must be vulnerable enough to accept our discomfort internally before we externalize it with...

Continue Reading...

I Am Struggling

I am struggling with what we’ve been seeing in the world - the blatant lack of respect for fellow human beings. I’ve read everything I can on it, talked with close friends, ordered books that I think will help make sense of it all. It wasn’t until I stopped “seeking” answers and turned inward that I found what I was looking for. 

I got out my watercolors, sat down on my front porch and painted a favorite scene of Hilton Head Island from a photo I had taken   recently. In the solace of this mindful activity clarity began to emerge.

The world is full of scarred souls - souls who don’t know how to love because they’ve never been loved or feel they don’t deserve love. Love is the very basic of all emotions. Everything emanates from there. So if we can’t love, we can’t connect, be open, grow, be happy, feel liked, love others etc. When we are void of fulfilling emotions and don't turn inward to work on what needs...

Continue Reading...

Nine Lessons from the Corner Office

Ten years ago I began my role as President of a $25 million Hospital Foundation within an 85,000 employee organization. I went to a very nice employee appreciation lunch and was able to select a special gift of recognition from an array of items. 

Mostly, I am grateful for the opportunity I have to lead and serve alongside consummate professionals I respect and under board members who trust me and have challenged me to be the best leader I can be. 

I’ve earned a number of awards from various community and professional organizations for my leadership throughout my tenure here. But nothing has meant more to me than knowing that when I get up and come to work every day, I get the privilege to make the world a little better. That might mean providing a walker for an elderly gentleman or a hearing aid for a new mother. It might be paying rent for a patient with cancer, so she doesn’t get evicted due to lost wages while in treatment. It could be as big as a $4.5...

Continue Reading...

Don't Do This in Your Leadership During COVID19

These times are a test of resilience. Adjusting to working remotely is challenging for leaders and teams. Adjusting to working on site during a pandemic is the same. It’s a lesson for all of us on how to adapt to and manage what is inevitable - change. Resistance comes when people are afraid. At its most severe it’s like trying to stand still in an earthquake. “Why is this happening to me?” People feel victimized and want to escape.  

Leaders need to be sensitive to their own fears and those of their constituents. Everyone needs to accept that uncertainty is part of life. The sooner we accept that the more resilient we become.

As leaders we need to be change neutral - not change agents. Don't coddle, over-sympathize, or try to protect your team or you send the message that change is painful and unmanageable. Instead of asking, “How can I make this change easier for you?” as if you are personally choosing to push something down on them...

Continue Reading...
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Close

50% Complete

Welcome! Thanks for signing up!

You will be sent an email with a link each time Mary Lee Gannon updates the Executive Coach's Blog. It's great to have you with us!