Being a leader is a lot more than just being capable – you need to look and feel that part. A leader tends to have an aura about him, one that makes others want to follow the person. Does it mean that you need to be born under a lucky, leader star? Oh, no! This is something that you can acquire if you set your mind to it and think what an impact you will have on those around you.
To project leadership, you have to have to possess the core competency of leadership- executive presence, upon which all else is built. It’s this presence which leadership use to influence others to see you a credible leader. There are three behavioural traits of of executive presence– focus, power, and warmth. To analyze these behaviors you might want to do an analysis on yourself and then proceed to try and get better in certain behaviors. Or take a help of an executive coach who specializes in the field of executive presence who will easily make you more aware of which of these three behaviors you are projecting more and how to skillfully wield these behaviors depending on the business situation.
Behaviors of Power
Let’s take the first leadership behavior of executive presence- Power. The physical aspect of power is very important and that means you need to look and dress like a leader. Now this takes a bit of doing because this is one area where you need to maintain balance. You need to dress well that not only can you make a great impression with your team but also carry yourself in a boardroom with élan. You need to wear the right colors and cuts to come across as powerful leader. You might need a bit of expert advice on the psychology of colors and styles to find which gives out the aura of authority, trust, and likeability. Sometimes, all you need to enhance your executive presence is a powerful leadership dressing style, a new haircut or a woody cologne that gives out the subtle signal of you power to the other person. Not only does it make you more commanding, it is a great confidence booster too. You also need to watch your body gestures. Surprisingly, the other person gauges your power dynamics with the firmness of your handshake and how often you gesticulate with your hands. Smart leaders let their arms hang loose as away from their body to cover more space and project more power.
Behaviors of Focus
The aspect of your focus plays a very big role in projecting executive presence. You need to shift your focus from yourself to the other person for them to believe in you and get them to look up to you. Practice focusing what the other person is saying, how he is saying, the color of his eyes to give him the attention of his life. Remind yourself constantly that you are leader and that people will heed what you have to say only if you heed to them. Tell yourself you will have the chance to speak, ability to lead and it will enhance your image of yourself. It’s only when your mind believes that you can increase your executive presence that you can actually do it. It really is true that a lot of what you project is in your mind and stems from what you think of yourself. So clear out your mind of all those cobwebs of self-doubt and self-talk and replace it with self-esteem and confidence of being able and willing to lead. If you need help to make you believe in yourself, it would be a good investment to look for an executive coach who deals in the area of executive presence. A executive coach with a psychology background will not only help you overcome mental obstacles to power but also help you create a charismatic mental state to help you project credibility.
Behaviours of Warmth
“Increasing your ability to portray warmth at the workplace enhances your ability to enjoy your work” This is what a senior consulting leader in Mumbai told me while i was coaching her. Emotionally, you need to put emotions like excitement and anger on the back burner and strive to be calm and collected, no matter what the conflict or situation at work is. When you are balanced inside, it makes it so much easier to command a presence outside. An expert guidance on mindfulness can help convert your negative energy to goodwill towards colleagues . This is well worth it in the long run. Leadership training on how to control your emotions so you can draw on the emotions necessary to being a leader, helps a great deal.
Psychologically, you need to play to the gallery without being dramatic. Look for the ones who are a bit aggressive and lend them a willing ear, not arguing but suggesting. Look for the timid ones and talk to them, instilling confidence in them, drawing them out and winning them over with praise, never mind for how small a contribution. It’s a business game that leaders with strong executive presence play. It not only pays off but you’ll also find that it helps you manage a diverse team effortlessly. That’s what being a leader is all about – gauging the mood, engaging the group and then leading them to where you want them to be. Remember, leaders are not born – they are made. All high potential talent whom i have coached have honed their executive presence skills over time to get to the top and it’s time you can do it too!
Executive Coach, Mumbai-London