Warmth & Authenticity
Q: I’m very comfortable talking to other senior leaders. But my colleagues tell me I lack warmth and emotional connection with less senior people. How do I do this in a genuine way that still maintains the gravitas and presence of a leader?
A: From what you say in the rest of your note you seem to have warmth and connection in your dealings with familiar senior colleagues or with people who share your hobbies. What you’re going to do here is get back to being your authentic self. And to build on what works for you already. The right level of gravitas will come through naturally.
- Get real. It may be useful to ask yourself “what am I assuming that stops me from connecting well with less senior colleagues?” And “do I have evidence for this view/fact?” Often seeing something written down and challenged can start to loosen up your approach.
- Get over yourself. Go into situations with less senior people with genuine curiosity. Ask their views. Listen. Engineer a different communications forum that’s more relaxed and personal. Use your imagination!!
- Build on what’s natural to you. Think of a situation outside work where you are your most relaxed self. With the family? At the pub? With your football mates? Practice your next presentation or conversation ‘in the style of’ – talking and listening to one of these groups. It will feel strange. Good. You could even film yourself to see the difference or ask a friend to give you feedback. See what happens.
To receive high quality coaching on HOW to develop your own executive presence and gravitas for your own situation do give us a ring. We develop bespoke courses for individuals or groups of all sexes, ages and cultures.
Confidence and grace under fire is one of the top aspects of gravitas, according to research from The Talent Foundation. Today’s question in this series is about being heard. Timing is everything. If you can make a well researched point strongly, particularly in the tough times, you will boost your gravitas and executive presence.
Get in the Game for Gravitas
Q: I get the feeling that other senior leaders are not really listening to what I say when we’re round the table. Yet someone else will make the same point and it’s accepted. Infuriating. It’s worse when I’m with very loud people. How do I change this dynamic?
A: This is about developing your professional presence. It’s hard to know exactly what’s happening here without seeing you in action. But there are three easy things you can try out now and see what works for you. It’s good practice for when you really need to make a key point in the tough times. Do the homework below, practice out loud for 15 minutes and then use one or two of the approaches in an easy meeting and see what happens.
- Work out a clear point of view and call to action that you can deliver succinctly and with conviction. Then practice. If you ramble, repeat yourself or use words like maybe or perhaps you are undermining yourself. A point of view is a 30 second nugget of good thinking that supports the objective. The call to action is your 15 second advice on what should happen next. It’s the point you would make if you only had 45 seconds. It’s useful to start by saying “To be successful… or To achieve x we need to ….”
- Get in the game. This means that before you even speak people need to be aware of your presence. Walk in tall, sit up, lean forward to listen to someone else talking, ask a question, look involved, interested and relaxed. Sit in a power position in the room – in easy line of sight of the key players and avoid being hidden.
- Use an easy vocal strength tip. Before you speak, take an intake of breath or use the current speaker’s name to signal you are about to make a point. Then emphasise the consonant at the beginning of the first word of your sentence and the first word e.g. the W in what. Then decide which are the ‘money words’ in your point – essentially the key words you need to emphasise in the sentence. Underline them in rehearsal. This will slow down your delivery and make it more impactful.
To be coached to develop your executive presence and gravitas for your current situation do give us a ring. We develop bespoke courses for individuals or groups. Find out more here.
If you are fired up to achieve your goals or even if your mojo is a bit squashed, this book is worth a look. It’s called “The Good Psychopath’s Guide to Success. How to use your inner psychopath to get the most out of life”.
Dr Kevin Dutton, psychologist from the University of Oxford has joined forces with SAS forces author Andy McNab to give you hilarious stories, a good dose of scientific backup and practical tips that really work to:
- Stop worrying and get on with living
- Avoid procrastination to achieve your goals
- Become a persuasion black belt
It’s built on the premise that many professions from sportspeople to neurosurgeons need to be able to take a calm, focused approach to what they are doing. In other words being a good psychopath is an asset. It’s useful in business and in your private life.
Buy the book on Amazon.
KineticFuture specialises in coaching the communications aspects of leader development. We are lucky enough to coach CEOs to graduate trainees, engineers to creatives in some of the best companies in the world. Call us if you have a communications challenge you’d like to brainstorm. You will find a way forward.
Leaders are only human. This is a great Ted talk we thought you’d enjoy if you want to tackle any of your own bad habits at work and at home. It’s all part of being a great energising leader.
This great Ted Talk shows that it’s more effective to be curious about a bad habit than fight it. The technique tested was twice as effective as the gold standard smoking cessation therapy.
You can use the same approach whatever your habit. Perhaps you get stressed or angry at work or constantly look at texts, drink too much or take no exercise. Most of us do something which isn’t helpful to us as leaders and as humans.
This Ted Talk is from psychiatrist and addiction expert Judson Brewer. He’s using a blend of mindfulness and neuroscience to find a way of slowly letting go of bad habits.
Part of the solution is to be curious in the moment of committing a bad habit; feeling and noticing what’s going on. One of the people in the smoking cessation study said, “It smells like smelly cheese and tastes like chemicals. Yuck”. It’s a way of breaking the spell.
So the process is:
1. You have the urge
2. You are curious
3. Have the joy of letting go and
Developing insight into your own strengths and ways of thinking is the starting point for our Energising Leadership Programme. If you’d like to find out how it can help your team to become energised and energising leaders, contact us today.
Watch Judson Brewer’s Ted Talk ‘A simple way to break a bad habit’ below.
Watch ‘Human’ by Rag’n’Bone Man below.
“Astronauts are, without exception, extremely competitive. How do you take a group of hyper-competitive people and get them to hyper-cooperate, to the point where they seek opportunities to help others shine?”
This is one of the key questions in Chris Hadfield’s book (An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth), and one which comes up for many business leaders too.
He talks about instilling and reinforcing “expeditionary behaviour” (a phrase we love! and use on our positive leadership courses). Essentially, it is the ability to work in a team productively and cheerfully in tough conditions.
Here are some of his lessons from surviving in space and his survival training on land. All ideas you can promote with your own teams without going to the North Pole.
- Think of success as a team sport.
- Good leadership means leading the way, not hectoring other people to do things your way.
- Groupthink is a good thing when it comes to risks. If you are only thinking about yourself, you can’t see the whole picture.
- The key question to ask is, “How can I help us get where we need to go?” (It’s about supporting the team, not looking out for yourself).
- You don’t need to be a superhero. Empathy and a sense of humour are often more important. Take opportunities to lighten the mood.
- When the going gets tough you can choose to wallow in misery or you can focus on what’s best for the group (hint: it’s never misery).
- Discourage whining and moaning. It is the antithesis of expeditionary behaviour and doesn’t help get the job done.
Here’s Our Pithy Quote from the Book #4
“Only the crew’s own appreciation of the value of expeditionary behaviour made it possible for us to become a complaint-free group. Everyone promotes team spirit”.
Chris’ style of personal leadership and his leadership of others is an excellent example of the behaviours and positive practices we’re coaching on our Positive Leadership. Peak Performance Programmes. Hard evidence shows that using positive leadership practices to lead yourself and others delivers higher sales, more internal engagement and better productivity. If you would be interested in how it can help you meet your own goals, please do get in touch.
Buy Chris Hadfield’s book on Amazon here.