Build real confidence by authentically managing others’ impressions of you
Most aspiring leaders know that the ability to influence others will separate them from the pack. Influencing others, though, requires the ability to make purposeful connections with them and motivate them to accomplish goals that initially seem impossible. This is the essence of authentic leadership. Authentic leaders, whether emerging or experienced, create connected communities in which people feel empowered to pursue common objectives. Five of the “Ten Characteristics of Great Leaders” in this Entrepreneur.com article are related to these abilities. To build authentic connections to those you wish to lead, you need more than compelling communication skills; you need to earn their trust. In order to earn trust and inspire people to act on it, though, an effective leader must develop and maintain a powerful leadership presence.
What is leadership presence? Simply put, it is the ability to project a polished, professional and poised image that is consistent regardless of the pressures of the situation or context. This is what allows you to show up as a credible but approachable voice of authority. Without a doubt, people are more encouraged when they experience leaders who authentically inspire by going beyond daily task management to transform them. This powerful leadership presence is extraordinary because it changes lives.
Many aspiring leaders have not yet learned the art that is most central to leadership presence: impression and perception management. It has been said that, “Within the first 30 seconds of meeting you, people make judgments about you based primarily on what they see.” This truth should not be taken to mean that we stand helplessly in the glare of others as they form these judgments. By applying the right power tools and strategies, every leader can build a powerful presence that leaves a positive, extraordinary first impression. With this accomplished, you are well equipped to influence and lead.
Let’s face it, you may not be able to control what people think, but you can control the way that you package and present yourself. The way in which you show up to life’s situations – as measured by your style, your image, mind set and body language – determines whether you gain the respect and earn the trust needed to be effective. You also want your image and impressions to be authentic – consistent from the inside out. Former Kraft executive and corporate CEO Ann Fudge validates the importance of authenticity in this Harvard Business Review article.
This type of leadership presence enhances both your credibility as a leader and your ability to influence through personal development. Leadership presence is not an unattainable dream for any of us; it can be learned and developed over time, but it does requires a commitment. Let me encourage you – given the proven results, it is well worth the investment of time and resources because it yields greater personal and professional success. When you are empowered with an authentic leadership presence, you will naturally find that you show up to life’s challenges and opportunities more confident, competent and compelling. This is the ticket to the life that you – and those you lead and love – deserve!