Managing the Moment: A Leaders Guide to Building Executive Presence One Interaction at a Time
Executive presence is being the person in the room that people gravitate toward, and when that person makes a remark, everyone else is quiet, since they value their thoughts and respect them. Read more articles on leadership. Skip to content. Menu Menu. United States Change Country.
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The Dimmer Switch of Performance
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Afterglow Or Aftermath?
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The X Factor: 5 Ways to Boost Your Executive Presence
Yes, everyone. And think about the reverse of the afterglow — the aftermath, or bitter aftertaste. How did that affect your determination to overcome difficulties in a project, to keep your heart fully engaged in the process, to want to continue to give that person your very best game? Leadership literature is full of studies attesting to the consequences of a leader's mood. One such study involved 62 CEOs and their top management teams and it showed that the more upbeat, energetic and enthusiastic the executive team was, the more co-operatively they worked together, and the better the company's business results.
The study also showed that the longer a company was managed by an executive team that didn't get along well, the poorer the company's market returns. Perhaps nowhere is a leader's mood more crucial than in the service industry where employees in a bad mood can, without fail, adversely affect business.
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In one of a multitude of such studies involving 53 sales managers in retail outlets who led groups ranging in size from four to nine members, it was found that when managers themselves were in an upbeat, positive mood, their moods spilled over to their staff, positively affecting the staff's performance and increasing sales. We can all take an inspiration from organizations such as Starbucks who place great value on the importance of creating a positive climate for employees which, in turn, ensures a pleasant customer experience and repeat visits.
When we move the curtain a bit, we can see clearly that a leader's bad mood is a source of infection — an emotional contagion that eventually spreads across people to entire units. We can learn a thing or two from leadership in the military. Imagine the effect on troop morale and energy that an "overwhelmed", "anxious", "worried" or "irate" leader would have? And how about a leader who is plagued by uncertainty? It transmits itself to others. We could argue that the occasional bad mood, the occasional rant, on a bad "corporate hair day", is excusable.
Often, we refer to this type of behavior with statements such as: "She can't control her temper sometimes, but she is so brilliant". Or, "He has an amazing mind but he has a tendency to shout at people when it's stressful.
And it may very well have to be in some environments — but the message it sends to constituents is one of inconsistency, which is an undesirable trait in any leader. We want our leaders to be predictable because there is comfort and safety in predictability. Predictability engenders trust and an unpredictable leader elicits anxiety and, in some cases, even fear, both of which negatively affect performance and productivity. Of course, no leader steps out of the elevator in the morning with an intention to spread a bad mood around but, as sure as there is gravity, events occur during the course of some days that can derail even the best among us.
To be clear, we are not advocating that leaders turn into a shrink wrapped version, complete with false smiles and fake cheerfulness. Constituents spot a non-genuine smile anyway and are very adept at noticing when a leader infantilizes them. There are, of course, no easy solutions to managing emotions on an hourly basis in the often difficult circumstances in which leaders must operate and make decisions.
First of all, it's important to note that a leader's mood has the greatest impact on performance when it is upbeat. But it must also be in tune with those around him.
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- Le braci (Gli Adelphi) (Italian Edition).
You can learn another 59 leadership skills, like this, by joining the Mind Tools Club. Receive new career skills every week, plus get our latest offers and a free downloadable Personal Development Plan workbook. Goleman et al call this dynamic resonance.