4 September 2014 0 Comments

Leadership Part 2

shutterstock_137766281In my last entry I discussed Presence as one of the elements of leadership.  Now, I’ll cover the elements of Presence.

Vision

Leaders are often visionaries.  They think outside of the box.  A discussion with a visionary will take you on a journey to unknown places.  Visionaries are dreamers so their concepts are not always practical.  With those around them going in another direction, they often conjure up visions in their minds that change the direction of events.  Without visionaries we would live in a very predictable, dull place and there would be far fewer home runs.  Just being in their presence can be a blast!

Visionaries can be all over the place with their planning process…always grasping for new concepts and directions.  When you meet visionaries for the first time you might think “Wow—can this be real?”

Creativity is a quality possessed by visionaries.  Not all leaders are creative, but those who are not, understand the importance of this quality and will be certain to have at least one creative visionary as a close advisor.

Appearance

Appearance is often the first thing we notice about an individual and therefore is an important part of presence.  Appearance alone cannot carry a leader, but it can act as an incentive or deterrent for people to want to even consider following a perspective leader.  One element of appearance is clothing.

Clothes don’t make the man—or woman—but they can help them gain initial acceptance.  What a person wears used to be a fairly simple place to begin when identifying an acceptable presence, but today it is not as easy as it was a few years ago.

What is acceptable in some circles may not be in others.  When in doubt, perhaps the easiest way to identify clothing that presents you in the “right” light is to look at those in your circle who are already in a leadership position, not necessarily at those who are your fellow workers.  What are they wearing?

Before going out into the world in which you are striving to be a leader, stand in front of a full length mirror.  Take a long hard look.  Think about the image—the presence—you want to portray.  Think about what others will be wearing—those whom you respect and those who are suspect.  Are you comfortable with yourself?  Don’t worry about standing out or blending in because either might be the appropriate or inappropriate approach for you to take.  Think about how you feel about how you look and then walk out the door standing tall.

Body Language

The way a person stands and walks… how they move through a group of people, their pace as they approach others… are all elements of presence.  Moving with assurance and purpose portrays the picture of someone in charge.  The walk need not be rapid or a stride, but it should present the image of someone who knows where he is and where he’s going.

Standing with your arms folded in front of you closes off those who might want to communicate with you.  There are times when that may be what you intend.  But if not, then try holding them at your sides or in front of you with one hand over the other wrist.  Better yet, gesture with them as you talk and communicate.

Offering your hand for a handshake (whether it be traditional, high five or knuckles to knuckles) establishes you as a friendly, open person.  In a traditional handshake the degree to which you apply pressure also sends a message.  Knuckle breaking he-man grasps—especially from a man to a woman—can present an overbearing image.  Wet fish shakes are worse, suggesting a person who couldn’t lead mice to a block of cheese.

Coming up…more elements of Presence in a leader.

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