In the work I do coaching executives, when it comes to developing one’s executive presence, I usually start with identifying your core values, strengths and purpose and move into discussing intentions. What are the core values, strengths and purposes that drive you and your leadership?
Then we move into and work on connection skills. How do you relate to and inspire the individuals with whom you’re charged to motivate and inspire? What is the quality of your conversations? How much time do you take to get to know them? Do you invite or encourage them to speak up? How safe is it to share what is on their heart and mind?
At the core of leadership is your ability to connect and inspire connection with others. The relationship you have with those you lead determines how effectively you’ll influence them toward desired outcomes.
If you foster trust and empathy in your relationships, you’ll no doubt build higher-quality connections. But authentic connections can be tricky: Access to others is granted, but not automatically. A leadership position may ensure obedience (if you’re lucky), but it doesn’t guarantee trusted connections. You have to earn their trust with your executive presence.
Winning over hearts and minds requires a personalized approach to each individual. There are no timesaving ways to accomplish this, nor should you attempt to do it simply because “it’s good for business.” People will see through inauthentic behaviors.
Making individual connections is the only way to have a finger on the pulse of corporate culture and keep communication lines open.
Leaders who foster connection and approachability encourage people to speak truth to power. If you come across as super-confident or über-competent, you may intimidate people. There’s no room for idea-sharing when all of the power clearly resides with the leader. You must show vulnerability, humanity and humility to facilitate connection.
There needs to be a balance. When you show competency and your humanity, people begin to trust and connect with you. What makes a leader or colleague memorable to us is this sense of connection through their executive presence.
Presence starts deep within you: with your core foundation, intentions, self-knowledge and self-confidence. Connecting with your people to find common goals and mutual benefits. Using empathy, trust and connection to motivate and inspire others.
Presence is most effective when it’s ingrained in your muscle/brain memory and put into practice automatically. This is why it’s so important to work with a trusted coach or mentor who can provide you with constructive honest feedback.