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Leadership Insights

Dear Clients and Colleagues,

I haven't been in touch with some of you for many years. Some of you have worked with me more recently. This newsletter is intended to address the concerns of leaders in businesses of all sizes. My clients range from entrepreneurs running companies they have founded to CEO's of Fortune 500 companies. While many of your challenges are different, some critical ones are the same. I find that leaders in companies of all sizes struggle with understanding and carefully managing the impact they have on others and with being able to inspire peak performance in the people they work with. Leadership issues ultimately come down to getting things done through people. This includes attracting the best people, putting them in the right positions, motivating them to do their best, helping them grow and develop, and holding onto them over time.

I hope you will read this newsletter and that you will write to me with your concerns and thoughts as a leader so that I may address them in future issues. Please let me know if you find this newsletter useful and if so, please forward it to friends and colleagues who you think may benefit from reading it. For those of you who haven't worked with me in the past few years, I invite you to take a look at my new website so that you may see some of the work that I am doing.

I intend to keep the articles in this newsletter short and to the point so that you can extract value from it without taking a lot of your precious time. After all, time is all we have and how we spend it (or should I say invest it) makes all the difference.


Ninety percent of Recruiters say that Executive Presence is a very important factor in career success and eighty percent of HR leaders agree. What is it and how do you get it if you don't have it?

Executive Presence is the sum total of many attributes: your appearance, demeanor, expression, comportment, self-confidence, charisma, energy, poise and more. The bottom line is how people experience you and if you communicate a sense of power and authority so that people feel confident you know what you are talking about and they are willing to follow your lead. Some people are born with executive presence, but for those of you who don't exude it, take heart. There are many things you can do to increase your executive presence.

Improving your executive presence begins with a commitment to do so and with the willingness to engage in self-reflection and the vulnerability to solicit feedback from others, take it to heart and be willing to act on it without feeling hurt or needing to defend yourself.

When we begin to break executive presence down into its component parts we find that each aspect of executive presence requires a different kind of learning or practice on your part. One of the tools often used by presentation coaches is video feedback because it enables you to see yourself as others do. As an illustration or how you might work on your executive presence, let's examine two of its components:

1. Appearance: There are any number of books and articles on dressing for success and grooming for success, yet many leaders think that how they dress doesn't matter and that if they are just smart enough or hard working enough no one will care how they present themselves. Unfortunately, this is not true. People form opinions very quickly, often in the first few seconds of meeting you. It is very hard to change the first impression that people have of you. That's why Shakespeare's quote, “Costly thy habit [dress] as thy purse can buy; But not expressed in fancy - rich, not gaudy. For the apparel oft proclaims the man.” still applies today. In fact in days gone by, it was what you wore that communicated whether you were a peasant or a prince. If you want to be selected for an C-level executive role in a public company, you better look the part. This can be different in different companies, depending on the culture.

2. Self- Confidence: This is a little more difficult to work on than your appearance, but in this case preparation makes all the difference. When you thoroughly prepare so that you really know your stuff, you can relax and present your information with the knowledge that you can field any questions that come your way. People instantly pick up on whether or not you are comfortable presenting your information. This applies to staff meetings or public addresses. People have an animal-like sense of whether you are confident or fearful. If you are unsure of yourself, it comes through and it undermines everything you have to say. When you are confident of what you are saying, it comes through loud and clear. So prepare, prepare, prepare!

I could keep going, but then I'd have to write a book and I promised to keep this newsletter short and pointed. If you would like to learn more about executive presence, write to me and I will be happy to respond to you.

Best regards and remember as a leader, you make all the difference!