“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou
In a recent client meeting, I was asked to name a leader who I felt has strong leadership presence. Out of all the leaders I have worked with, I could only think of one.
For a moment, that made me feel sad. Not sad about the one that stood out. But sad that I could only think of one out of the many leaders I have interacted with for the last 20 years.
Before reflecting on “what it takes to have leadership presence in the workplace”, I started to wonder “why” it was important to have leadership presence in general.
That question brought me back to the one leader that stood out for me. This individual’s leadership presence left a lasting impression on me after 20 years. I don’t remember exactly what this person did as a leader. What I do remember is how this person made me feel when I was in their presence.
And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. – Nelson Mandela
This individual’s leadership presence was real. They didn’t try hard to portray themselves as a leader. That wasn’t their intention. Their leadership purpose was about sharing their unique story to inspire greatness in others. This leader always focused on making an authentic connection between two human beings.
During the time I reported to this leader, I felt strong and powerful. I learned to give trust first to build trust with others. I learned to take care of myself so I can show up consistently and with confidence. I learned that our duty as human beings is to serve others.
When I break down the qualities that this individual had, it came down to three areas.
- Core – This Leader is grounded with their core values, purpose and strengths. This individual fully accepts their whole being and are confident and clear about their capacity and capability as a contributor.
- Consistent – This Leader has a strong sense of how they show up in the world. This individual makes extra effort to take care of themselves so that they are consistent and there is no unpredictable behavior. What you see is what you get…always.
- Care – This leader makes you feel like anything is possible. Their caring nature is an emotional charge that can break through all walls. The way they connect is purposeful and lasting.
Executive coaches Amy Jen Su and Muriel Maignan Wilkins address the issue of presence in their book Own The Room. They define leadership presence as “the ability to consistently and clearly articulate your value proposition while influencing and connecting with others”. They continue to state that it’s about developing and fine tuning your signature voice, one “that is confident, authentic, and effective.”
In other words, your signature voice is another form of sharing your core or essence as we call it at SPARK Creations. The path to defining one’s core is through discovering their core values.
Values are like fingerprints. Nobody’s are the same, but you leave ’em all over everything you do. – Elvis Presley
In today’s workplace, especially with the next generations, people want to be inspired. Focusing and strengthening your leadership presence will attract individuals with the same qualities.
So back to the original question from our client “who do I know has strong leadership presence?”
After some needed reflection, those who stand out in my heart are the leaders or human beings (I know a few) who are not afraid to bring their authentic selves into the workplace. It’s about having the courage to stay true to your core, being consistent, and caring enough about making each interaction special and memorable.
It’s about being an inspirational leader that someone will remember 20 years from now.
What can you do today to strengthen your leadership presence?
It’s when you are still that you are able to create space to quiet your mind so that you can find new and creative ways to becoming a more conscious and purpose-driven human being.
Want to share and experience a quick 60 minute workshop on “The Power of Leadership Presence in the Workplace”? Book your workshop today at firstname.lastname@example.org
I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic. Share in the comments below and connect with me today!