“I have 5 people in my team, and I just realised I don’t have to do all the work I used to do because that’s their job. Really, I have to build relationships now and leverage them, and get my team to do what I need them to do. I’ve never had to do that before, and I don’t really know how to do it.”
It’s a typical scenario. A technically brilliant employee is promoted to a leadership position and, for the first time, needs to start inspiring and motivating – leading – a team.
If you’ve been, or are, one of those new leaders, you’ll have likely quickly realised how ill-equipped and out-of-your-depth you felt. It’s a transition made trickier because so few people understand what it takes to develop a powerful presence, so they can inspire, influence, motivate – and get results.
Even if you’ve been a leader for some time, and you’re not exercising the level of influence required, you’ll have noticed the likely consequences: disengaged team members, poor performance, productivity and relationships.
There are simple steps you can take and the first – and most important – starts before you even open your mouth to speak:
It’s written all over your face
If you’re investing in thoughts and ideas that are negative, it’ll be showing up. Neuroscientists have discovered that our intentions shape how our brain functions. Those intentions create shortcuts in our minds that become the path of least resistance. The more you think something, the easier it is for your mind to process it. If, for example, you’re constantly telling yourself you have no clue how to influence your team, those thoughts will become a belief, habit and patterns. They’ll show up whenever you find yourself needing to lead your team. And they’ll be reflected in your body language.
Our brains also have the capacity to unconsciously process 10,000 different facial expressions. If you’re telling yourself you have no clue how to influence your team, those team members will see that written all over your face, in the way you sit, stand and walk. Like a lighthouse, you’ll be constantly unconsciously sending signals.
The only way to create a different possibility is to recognise your limiting thoughts and replace them with a clear intention. Being purposeful starts to create a new shortcut in your brain. Then your behaviours, language and actions will start to match your new intention.
This is a crucial step in building your leadership presence – and impact.
We need to feel it
You know what it’s like. You’ve sat in those audiences when someone stood up the front and spoke – at a presentation, in a meeting, even in a conversation – and you were so bored your mind drifted off to what you were going to have for lunch.
It’s not a recipe for inspiring and influencing.
Before every presentation, meeting and conversation, ask yourself these two simple questions:
- How do you want people to feel?
- What feeling do you need to embrace and embody to ensure that happens?
This is about communicating authentically, and behaving with purpose and power, by aligning what you say with how you want it to be received.
If you want your audience to experience delight, you’d better be feeling it and expressing it. Then they will too.
Connection doesn’t happen without a feeling.
It’s the easiest way to get people on board with your vision (because you have one, right?). Be bold. Stand for something. Be interesting and relevant. Tell great stories. Use strong language.
Owning the room isn’t possible if your walk and talk are middle-of-the-road or beige. Take a stand and go for bright and bold.
What you say matters. How you say it might just matter more.
Your team’s longing to be inspired and influenced by you, to experience your powerful leadership presence.
The sales pitch
There’s more about all this is my new book, “Media Talk: 35 Secrets You Need To Know Before You Talk To The Media”. Whether you speak to the media or not, you can apply many of the strategies in all your communication. And there are two chapters on cultivating a powerful presence, because it’s the essential foundation for any media interview or presentation.