3 Ways Leaders Stay Present

Executive presence requires being present. Being present means being aware of what’s happening, in the here and now, the present moment. Being present is rarely mentioned when people discuss executive presence. Executive presence is defined as projecting confidence, speaking with a sense of assuredness, being poised, (especially under pressure) and decisive. People with executive presence are also seen as having the ability to read the room and respond appropriately to situations as they arise. This is where being present plays a critical role…. Read More»

When Leaders Jump In With Both Feet

Yesterday a group of talented leaders froze when I asked an experimental question. Responses called for a few facts about cortisol toxins at work, taken from a required reading on brain-based business tactics.

Our atmosphere turned stoic, eyes dropped to the floor, and I felt a sudden chill sweep over robust bonds we’d built together in this vibrant leadership group. It was as if we all gained new insights into Einstein’s claim that imagination is far more important than knowledge alone.

For a comparison test, I then asked the same question in a two-footed way and facial expressions switched back to interest again as if somebody flipped on the light. The result? Unique insights began to emerge once again and people shared novel team-building tactics with renewed enthusiasm. The difference?… Read More»

4 Ways Leaders Can Trade Form for Substance

Sooner or later, they’re going to catch you picking your nose.

Well, maybe not. Maybe you’ll be fishing your keys out of a storm drain, or talking to your dry cleaner, or sneezing through a hay fever attack. But when you lead people in a meaningful way, you’re around them regularly, and sooner or later they’re bound to see you engaged in mundane everyday life…. Read More»

Leadership Lessons from Preschool Story Time

During a recent trip to the local bookstore with my 4-year-old daughter, Avi, we sat down for a storytelling session in the children’s section. The facilitator, looking like a giant on a pint-sized, blue chair, began with a simple question: “What do we need to do to get started, kids?” she asked the preschoolers and kindergarteners seated in a semi-circle in front of her.

In unison, they responded: “Open our ears, close our mouths, eyes on me (the facilitator).” I thought to myself, “Holy cow! That can work for leaders, too!”
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What Ursula Andress Taught Me About Presence

My first memory of being in the presence of someone with presence.

I am 21 years old and hanging out in Rome. Like many first-time visitors to this intoxicating city, I am entranced by its history. It seems to seep out of the pores of every building I pass. The moment I am about to describe is like a cliché from a Fellini movie – except that it really happened. As I am strolling up the Via Veneto, Ursula Andress, the original and archetypal James Bond girl, is descending toward me…. Read More»

Why Point of View is the Best “Go-to-Move” for Leadership Presence

GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt once told me that leadership is about how you “show up.” I don’t think there’s exact science for leadership presence – because everyone is unique in how we think and the way we make decisions. In my experience, how we “show up” depends entirely on self-awareness of your innate thought processes; and consciously understanding how to leverage them to shape a point of view that only you can uniquely communicate to influence the direction of a business or organization issue…. Read More»

Why Our Complex World Needs Connective Leadership

“Diversity trumps ability” as a sufficiently diverse, large group of non-experts often outperforms a small group of experts,” found Future Perfect author Steven Johnson. In our increasingly complex, disruptive world, we will face more situations where we’ll benefit from calling on the so-called wisdom of the crowd.

Thus it behooves us to have colleagues with very different work and life experiences, and from diverse professions and industries…. Read More»

Leadership Presence is More Than Just Being Present

Now I’m not knocking charisma. It’s useful and people tend to be attracted to it. And, from the leader’s perspective, it can seem kind of easy. You just show up. Problem is, that approach only works for well-established and/or highly visible guru-ninja-rockstar leaders. The rest of us need to do our homework before that big day arrives.

So here’s your assignment… … Read More»

How To Improve Your Leadership Presence

Great leaders must remain authentic.

That’s the most important thing to establishing a real presence as a leader, because people are very good at spotting fakeness. There are certain people that whenever they talk, no matter what they’re saying, everyone listens. We all know someone like this. People respect their opinions, because they have proven themselves. So how can leaders establish and increase their leadership presence?… Read More»

The Cost of Presence in Your Organization

Super common, challenging to address at times, easier than it seems (from afar). All of it brought on by presence, a lack of it, or even worse, negative presence. Nine times out of ten, this is unintentional impact; people don’t even realize they’re having it. Once you have the awareness, it’s easier to shift.

So how do you create awareness of your presence as impact?… Read More»

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