What Impact Does Your Presence Have? (Part 2)
Yesterday I wrote about two very different leaders (you can catch up on that blog post here). The first leader had the uncanny ability to disengage a room full of people managers in an instant. The second leader invested about 30 minutes of his time to ignite a passion for growth, build trust, and plant the seeds for a culture of commitment. Both had a captive audience of about 25 influential people in their organization. Imagine the ripple effect each of them had organizationally.
To spend time dissecting the first leader’s behavior isn’t necessary – the behaviors that weren’t serving him are fairly obvious. But I think it’s a worthwhile investment to look at just a couple of the things the second leader did that worked so well, as they’re skills that are often overlooked in the leadership world.
1. He made everyone’s time as valuable as his own – It’s almost assumed these days that we give our leaders a 15-minute grace period (30-45 minutes if you’re waiting in a doctor’s office). I know! As leaders we’re busy people! Why should we be expected to be on time to the meetings that we’ve called?… But what is the message we send when we do that? If people feel unimportant, that we don’t value them, then they naturally disengage. They’ll only give what they have to give – a paycheck exchange. They won’t give their best. They will hold back their commitment. They’ll stop playing full out. When the second leader showed up early to meet and talk to the participants, that little act showed them that they were important. That message was something that could never have been communicated in words as effectively.
2. He got real – By sharing his experiences and some of the things he had done in the past that hadn’t worked for him, he was able to connect at a much deeper level with the participants. He had the courage to remove the mask of perfection and be vulnerable enough to let us see the man behind the title. By doing so, every person in the room could relate. They opened up their minds to what they could learn and how it could make a difference. By risking being real and sharing what he was working on personally, he gave them permission to be real too. To work on themselves too. That real connection will reap rewards for the organization for years to come.
With leadership comes tremendous responsibility. Every interaction we have can have a lasting impact. What’s the impact you want your presence to have?
©OnStage Leadership, 2014 (originally posted August, 2013)
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Kimberly Davis is the Founder/Director of OnStage Leadership, a full-day experiential leadership workshop. Click here to read what people are saying!
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