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  • Writer's pictureHava Horowitz

Your Leadership Presence Roots In Your Story

Updated: Aug 1, 2023

Ever considered how your personal story shapes your leadership style? It's time to unlock the hidden influence within your own narrative. 🧩

Dr. Lockman, a towering 6’4’’ Director of Orthopedic Surgery, seemed to shrink in social situations.

Despite being highly respected in his profession, at a dinner party, he'd rather converse with the curtains than command the room.

When I first met Dr. Lockman, he shuffled into my classroom, eyes locked to the floor, head slack, and arms crossed.

Dr. Lockman’s small, closed presence was not a choice, as much as an adaptive response to his upbringing. As a tall young boy, whenever he walked into a room, all eyes would be on him. To avoid the discomfort of drawing attention, overtime, he had learned to just make himself small.

But me? At just 4 foot 10 inches tall, I too had to overcome the limitations of my height. As a result, I developed great comfort with taking up a lot of space, with physical gesture and my voice.

Our default presence patterning is our typical way of being in the world. Body language, voice, eye contact, gesture, and language all make up our presence. Factors like our height, social class, religious upbringing, gender, and our native tongue shape these behaviors. We develop these presence patterns at a young age, often unconsciously.

Your presence is a powerful leadership skill. It can motivate your teams , inspire new ways of thinking, or drain the room of the will to move forward.

Despite Dr. Lockman’s role as a leader in his organization, his quiet voice and deflated posture looked like weakness. His team would often feel confused about roles, and he would find his meetings overtaken by junior team members. The doctor knew it was time to finally pay attention to his communication skills and develop leadership presence. He no longer wanted to constantly be misunderstood or undermined by colleagues.

In our executive coaching sessions together, Dr. Lockman worked to develop strong leadership presence. Ultimately, he discovered how to make new presence choices that reflected his true inner enthusiasm. He was able to break the habit of being himself, ultimately improving his leadership. He saw how his new authentic communication style was more effective than the mixed signals he had sent previously.

Intrigued and want to learn more about how you can transform your own leadership through executive presence coaching? You can book a free discovery call with me here.

Weekly Small Challenge

Ask a colleague or friend who knows you well the following question:

"How does the room change when I enter it?"

In order to create actionable feedback from their response, ask them to focus on specifics: What physical cues do you present? What's your body language, eye contact, and vocal tone like? Is your energy uplifting or draining? Is your presence commanding or yielding? This is a brave question to ask, and remember, the intention is not to make you feel judged, but to create a moment of self-awareness. Their perceptions could provide a springboard for improving your own leadership presence. Consider this as you navigate your week and approach every interaction. Next week, we will talk about how you can start to make more conscious presence choices, and how to take steps towards reflecting your inner leadership strengths externally. See you next time!

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