Collins challenged the notion of leadership presence
when he defined a level 5 leader as "one who builds
enduring greatness through a paradoxical blend of
personal humility and professional
rattled our traditional belief that effective leaders
must have a charismatic, extroverted and take-charge
confident presence. In fact, Collins
went on to discover that a common thread of these
high-achieving level 5 leaders was that they contained a
modesty is described with words like quiet,
humble, reserved, shy, gracious, mild-mannered,
self-effacing and understated.
are not attributes we normally associate with leadership
presence; in fact, we often think of attributes that are
antonyms to these words. And yet,
according to Collins, these attributes are the makings
of great leaders.
of us continue to mistakenly believe that having
leadership presence is like playing a role in a play,
requiring an elaborate costume and a personality
change. As if we need to be
on center stage, in the spotlight, with all eyes and
attention upon us, in order to have the presence of a
could be further from the truth when it comes to
developing your leadership presence.
reminded of this a few weeks ago when I was addressing
the professional women at my former employer, The
Coca-Cola Company. Another speaker, a
current executive at the company, was talking about the
issue of work/life balance and she said an important
thing related to leadership presence.
She said "it isn't about balance, it is more
about presence. When you are
at home, you must be present with your children and
family, not feeling guilty about work
obligations. When you are at work,
you must be present and be at work fully; not feeling
like you should be tending to family concerns."
see, when you are going through the motions and are
somewhere else mentally and emotionally, you can
unwillingly communicate arrogance which does not allow
you to connect with others as a leader, nor will you be
perceived by others as a leader.
"presence" she talked about was about being in the
moment and available to the people with whom you are
leading, at home or at work.
When you achieve this level of presence, you
exude humility. It is also from this
place of presence that you develop trust with others and
the ability to connect.
presence, you are also in a grounded state allowing you
to meet the challenges as they arise, rather than being
out of step with those around you. You meet people
where they are.
many types of people struggle to develop this
"presence", ironically, I have found that people
who exhibit traditional leadership presence attributes
like charisma, extroversion and take-charge confidence,
are usually the ones who are most challenged with being
in the moment. Present company
clearly included in this
if you are like me, your tendency might be to always be
three steps ahead of yourself and especially ahead of
others. This poses a challenge for you to be in
the moment to effectively develop leadership presence,
as it did for me. As a
result, you might be inclined to go at it alone, rather
than bringing others along with you, simply because you
aren't in the moment and you are in a different place
than they are.
find yourself in this camp, remind yourself that getting
to the end of a problem in record speed doesn't always
provide the best solution. Plus, if you get
there alone, it often will take more time and effort to
go back to get others on board, than if you had gotten
them with you from the start. Been
there, done that, and certainly have the t-shirt on this
kidding aside, as I have personally worked these past
several years at gaining more "presence" for being in
the moment and in essence growing my humility, it is the
one thing that I attribute to my continued and growing
can be for you too.
play as an analogy for the business stage where
leadership presence unfolds and you are either in that
role of the leader, or aspiring to be, here are a few
tips to keep in mind about developing your "presence"
costume and personality change. Above
all else, bring the best of you.
the temptation to move towards the center of the stage
where the spotlight is the brightest.
Be in the
moment to bring calmness and a grounded, quiet
from taking too much attention; shine the light on
others whenever possible.
comfortable with silence and looking to others for
answers, especially when all eyes are upon
me June 24th for a Branding Workshop for branding yourself a