This is not an aspect of extroversion or even a personality trait. It is commitment to being fully available. It requires disciplined observation, potent listening and practice.
We undervalue presence as leaders.
“When we’re present, we work and create our lives with a very different kind of rhythm,
one that’s steady, focused, and begets more flow.”
Scott Belsky INTUIT
And from the author of the book, Presence – Amy Cuddy
“Presence is confidence without arrogance.” and
“Presence is the inner self showing up.”
William Kahn studied psychological presence in the workplace, and identified four critical dimensions: a leader must be attentive, connected, integrated, and focused.
Terri Citterman said we should measure our leadership in meaning, not efficiency. She observes that presence starts with understanding where your confidence is based, which comes from the exploration of the millions of mini-successes that make you who you are.
“Pay attention to the successes that stand out. When I was a kid playing co-ed baseball, my sister once told me I could run as fast and hit the ball as far (or farther) than the boys. I believed her. Then, when I was up to bat, I hit a homerun. When I was up again, I hit another. The third time I was up, the other coach yelled to his players, ‘Back up! That girl is up again!’ Those words changed me. When my confidence wains, I channel that 9-year-old girl, who could crack the ball out of the park. She is one of my anchors, the personal values or beliefs I have in my core.”
Assess your own Leadership presence with this activity:
- What three words best describe you as an individual?
- What is unique about you that leads to your happiest times and best performance?
- Reflect on a specific time —at work or at home —when you were acting in a way that felt “natural” and “right.” How can you repeat that behavior today?
- What are your signature strengths and how can you use them?
In my leadership coaching, I’ve observed four factors build presence.
- rigorous self awareness
- accessing your historical anchors
- having a principled position on things
- Observing and listening with curiosity
Rigorous self awareness means you develop your emotional intelligence and master your emotional decision making. Engage a leadership coach. Get regular genuine feedback.
Accessing your historical anchors requires you to reacquaint yourself with your ‘star ‘ anchors. Use a meme or trick to remind yourself of that feeling when you need it.
Having a principled position on things can only occur when you know the topic and you are well prepared. Consider alternative perceptions of the topic. Have a position.
Observing and listening with curiosity Don’t speak. Watch with interest. Mimic the body language. Observe the non verbal messages. Feel the atmosphere. Be very curious.
Practice being here, now. You’ll be a better leader.
If you would like some help in being present please contact me.