Leadership presence is a quality that takes time and energy to build up. When it’s done correctly, it can propel you into positions you’ve been dreaming of for years. However, when it’s done incorrectly, or if it’s not managed well, it can keep you stuck in unrewarding roles. Here are five ways you can start to strengthen your leadership presence right now.
Select the Right Networking Events for Maximum Impact
No doubt you understand the importance of networking. However, are you attending the right events? Are you networking strategically, or are you leaving it to chance?
Identify the role you want in 2-3 years time. Who is the decision-maker for that role? Use social media (such as LinkedIn) to pinpoint networking events that decision-makers have attended in the past to determine if it’s relevant for you.
Strengthen Your Leadership by Combating Impostor Syndrome
Self-doubt, feeling unworthy of your success or that others in the room know more than you, are signs you’re experiencing the Impostor Syndrome.
The truth is, most leaders do experience this. It’s a normal part of being ambitious. But when you don’t keep it in check, it can crush your confidence and damage your leadership presence.
To help you combat the Impostor Syndrome, imagine you’re being featured in a national newspaper for your professional achievements. What would you like the article to say about you? Write 1-2 paragraphs using third person explaining who you are, what you’ve achieved in your career, and why you’re so wonderful.
Communicate the Leadership Opportunities You Want
Be proactive about your career advancement! You need to openly communicate with your managers what you want to achieve in your career.
Perhaps they have no idea you’re so ambitious or maybe they think you’re happy in your current role. It’s important to get your boss on the same page as you.
Request a one-on-one and explain your career plans for the next 2-3 years. Ask if you’re demonstrating the necessary qualities to be considered for that role. Will they help train you in areas you need training in? Will they support you in your plans?
Understand the First Impression You Make
First impressions play a huge role in your leadership presence. But, there’s often a dissonance between how we think we come across and the impression others have of us.
If you want to understand the first impression you make, pair with a colleague and ask them, “What three qualities would you use to describe me to a stranger?”. With their answer, you’ll get a deeper insight into how you come across. Is this first impression in-line with the leadership presence you want?
Learn How to Get Buy-in for Your Ideas
A huge part of establishing the “presence” of a leader is getting people on-board with your ideas or suggestions. This is essential if you aspire to high-level positions because your managers will be watching if you have the ability to influence other team members.
Pay close attention to the way more established leaders get buy-in for their ideas. How do they communicate their idea? What language do they use? Do they seek sponsors or support before they seek buy-in from the group?
Getting buy-in doesn’t come naturally to most people. But you shouldn’t see it as a sign you’re not meant to be a leader. See it as a challenge and a skill that you can develop.
After reading through these ways to strengthen your leadership presence, reflect and identify the one you need to work on the most and, using the suggestions provided, commit to improving that area. Once you feel you’ve improved in that area, move on to the next. Before you know it, your leadership presence will be drastically elevated and you’ll be one step closer to the job of your dreams.
About the author
These tips on strengthening your leadership come from Kara Ronin. Ronin is the founder of Executive Impressions, creator of bestselling Udemy course, “Business Etiquette 101” and a Udemy for Business Instructor. Through workshops, coaching and online courses, she works with emerging leaders helping them build their brand, visibility and influence so they can unlock their leadership potential.
Kara’s advice has previously been featured in TIME Inc, Business Insider India, Women2.0 and more. Visit www.executive-impression.com and connect with Kara on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram for regular tips.