Leadership Presence is important, because how you are perceived affects your ability to lead. But if you Google “Leadership Presence,” I’m certain you will end up confused about what it is. There seems to be no end to how leadership coaches define and teach it.
Some approach it as an art. Others relate it to stage presence. I’ve seen it defined as the ability to command as well as the ability to connect. On and on go the many definitions of Leadership Presence. I approach the subject with from a practical perspective.
Leadership Presence, like any other kind of presence, has to do with how you are perceived. It has to do with what people experience when they are in your presence. What do they think the first time they see you? How does that impression change after they hear you talk? How do you make them feel when you interact?
You initiate the creation of your Leadership Presence, but you do not have complete control over it. It exists whether you are present or absent. And perhaps most disconcerting—people you’ve never met can improve or degrade your Leadership Presence.
Now, I know someone is reading this wondering, why doesn’t Helanie just call it “reputation”?
Yes, in brief, that’s how I think of Leadership Presence. I use the word presence, however, to stress the fact that what I’m talking about is actually present in a very real sense all the time. It’s something every leader-as-coach has to deal with.
In my paper Leadership Presence, I explain how your reputation, if you will, is built on impressions created at Touch Points in all your personal and virtual encounters. And I give you four steps to take in order to touch up your Touch Points.