Are you leadership material?
How do you become influential?
What are the qualities of executive presence?
Most of us want to increase our influence, but many don’t know where to start. There are behaviors that influence others, and there are ways to increase your leadership presence.
Diana Jones brings three decades worth of experience in leadership development and packs it into her new book, Leadership Material: How Personal Experience Shapes Executive Presence. Diana is a leadership coach, advisor, and relationship specialist. I recently spoke with her about her research.
“Leaders with executive presence seamlessly blend personal experience with their professional identity.” –Diana Jones
The Professional and Personal Are Linked
“It’s a myth that a leader’s personal qualities must remain separate from their professional identity.” You share a story of an awful tragedy and how you kept that private during a leadership retreat. Tell us more about the intersection between the personal and professional.
The core premise of my work is that leaders personal and professional identities aren’t separate. They are inextricably linked. Leaders have been fooled into thinking that being impersonal and rational leads to success. It doesn’t. Poor engagement and alienation results. Without personal qualities, leaders are faceless bureaucrats, and their staff find it difficult to connect with them. Our experience of being with any leader is greatly influenced by their personal qualities.
My book deals with leaders’ professional identities. By thoughtfully choosing what is personal, what is private, and what they let come to the foreground in their interactions, leaders influence how others experience them. I coach leaders to bring helpful personal qualities into their interactions. Leaders with personal qualities like contempt, demanding, and cold create anxiety and emotional turmoil around them. People don’t like working with them. Leaders with personal qualities such as being insightful, approachable, and succinct have powerful effects in inspiring others to action.
The secret in my book Leadership Material is that if you don’t know who and what has shaped you as a leader, you won’t be able to lead people. The key lever for developing as a leader is through your earlier life experiences. By uncovering the likely source of unhelpful behaviors, you then have a choice of your current authentic response which builds relationships and produces results.
“When people feel understood and accepted, they flourish.” –Diana Jones
Successful Leaders Share Personal Stories
When do you share?
Successful leaders share their personal stories. They do this to:
- Inspire teams to connect around a shared purpose, direction, or action
- Let others know how to work with them
Staff hear and experience the leader’s authenticity, and there is shared understanding. This draws people to those leaders.
Leaders build trust by letting their boss and peers know how they think and feel about important matters.
“Up to 70% of a team’s climate is determined by the leader.” –Hay Group Research
How much is oversharing?