Leadership and Presence


By SkyeTeam on September 29, 2015

Posted by SkyeTeam | September 29, 2015Leadership and PresenceWhen I am working with leaders in our programs there are four questions that I ask them to reflect upon that start the journey to leadership excellence.“How do people feel in your presence?”  Do they feel excited, calm, toxic, scared, nervous, empowered, shut down, happy, negative, cared for, dismissed, etc.?“How do you want people to feel in your presence?”These are two questions that most of us do not think about much. We often think about how we feel in other people’s presence but we don’t often take the time to reflect upon what we are doing to create an atmosphere around us.  I often share with the class that if I were to spend time in each of their presence I would feel something different.  Through our facial expressions, body language, verbal messages, etc. we create an atmosphere or our own presence.The next two questions are just as important.3. “How do you feel in your own presence?” 4. “How do you want to feel in your own presence?”If I am feeling stressed, irritable, easily angered then it is most likely that others will feel this in my presence as well.  Sometimes we can hide this from others but many times these feelings and emotions still find a way to leak out. There is a direct correlation between how I am feeling and how others feel in my presence.Why is this so important to leadership?Think about the best boss and the worst boss you have ever had.  How did you feel in each of their presence?  What was the impact of that?  Most individuals share that in the best bosses’ presence they felt seen, heard, trusted, validated, respected, etc. They also report going the extra mile, doing their best work, challenging themselves to do better because of this boss.  In the presence of our worst boss we often feel degraded, negative, ignored, micromanaged, etc.  The impact is the boss often gets compliance but not commitment.  We do what we have to do and spend a lot of time and energy trying to avoid this boss.  The ripple effect is poor deliverables, reduced morale, decreased trust, etc.  How people feel in our presence as leader directly impacts productivity and the bottom line.The first person we have to lead is ourselves. As a leader is it critical that we develop an “aware self”. This is the part of us that can observe our thoughts, feelings, choices, actions and impacts in the moment.  It is the place within us that can discern our own emotions and then make conscious choices as to what will be the best course of action. Without this “aware self” or “editor”, we lead and live from a reactive place.In an effort to enhance my own “aware self” I began playing with these questions many years ago as I was heading home for the day.  I would think to myself “how do I want my family to feel in my presence?” I would often answer with things like loved, heard, joyful, connected, etc. Then the next question would be “do I feel any of that in my own presence right now?”  Most often there would be a resounding no.  I had a gap so I began to visualize all the behaviors that I might be able to do to help create the atmosphere I wanted. I visualized how I would greet them, what kinds of questions I would ask them, how I would connect with each one, etc. I didn’t always do each those actions and I did notice that when I at least thought about it, the nighttime routine went much smoother.I have now made this a part of my everyday practice both at work and home.  I spend time thinking about how I want the participants in my classes, my coaching clients, coworkers, etc. to feel in my presence. I picture how I will enter the room, how I will connect, how I will ground myself, etc. I notice a dramatic difference in my own ability to focus, connect and influence when I choose to be intentional about my presence. Leadership and presence are inextricably connected and the first step to becoming an intentional leader is focusing on presence.Related ArticlesTags »Cultivating Winning RelationshipsEmotional Intelligenceleadership development denvervalues Share
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