What Is Leadership Presence? Why Does It Matter?

Leadership presence is when we motivate and inspire others. What is presence?  Is it being fully available to others?  Is it how we speak to and work with our teams?  Presence is a little bit of all of these.  I recently found a great definition of presence.  Presence is a state that can be defined as those moments we all experience when we are at a critical point, and the choice of what to do is clear.  It’s that state when we are open to others, and things are crystal clear to us.

For me, I have been in a state of presence as I balance my family, my job, my future goals, and the illness of a close family member.  There are choices I need to make every moment, which may not be comfortable, but the state of presence makes it clear what I need to do. When we experience presence, we are in the moment; we are connected to ourselves, to others and to the conditions around us.  It enables us to see clearly and understand the bigger picture and how things fit together.

There are a many leadership implications for being in a state of presence.

  • When leaders are in moments of presence, they can see the full implications of their decisions. It allows leaders to avoid falling into short sighted, tactical decision making.
  • Presence provides for an intelligent moment. When we are in a state of presence, things are very clear and we suddenly are aware of more options, choices, and resources available to us.
  • Presence invites us out of our usual way of thinking and communicates the real possibilities available to us.
  • Presence enables leaders to consistently and clearly articulate the objectives/problems while being able to influence and connect with each other.
  • Presence allows leaders to be fully present and connected to those around them. This then improves decision making, collaboration, and engagement.

Leadership presence is based on our values, how we carry ourselves, how we think, what we say, and how we say it.  Some things we can all do in our daily lives to help us with our leadership presence and to get us into that state of presence where we can clearly see the big picture and fully connect and engage with those around us.

  • Actively listen. Listen to learn. Listen to understand.  Lean forward.   Don’t interrupt.  Employees can detect when you are actively listening.
  • Be encouraging and helpful to others. Be open to new ideas. Be able to understand the big picture, including other ideas.
  • Use those soft skills….be warm, friendly, and open.
  • It’s not about you. Be curious.  Don’t focus on yourself.
  • Ask good questions to your team. Instead of telling them what to do, ask them what they think the options are.
  • Be vulnerable. It’s a sign of strength and a pathway to trust.  When we are vulnerable, we are more likely to be a moment of presence when the options are clear.

Sometimes it means putting aside the many ideas and issues that are flying around our mind.  Getting into a state of quiet to allow us to be open and see the bigger picture.  To drive collaboration, good decision making, and engage your employees and teams, leaders need to be in a state of presence.

How often are you in a state of presence?