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Beyond the "Big Speech" - What leadership presence and communication really means

The realisation of the matter is that leaders spend a tiny fraction of their time giving huge public speeches. Instead, leadership happens moment by moment, person by person, both through words and deeds. There are hundreds of moments like these every day. Each moment sends messages that can ripple throughout the organisation, with impact that the leader may or may not intend.

If a leader wants to better match intent and impact, earn the right to lead, and demonstrate true leadership presence, it makes sense to work on how the leader shows up in each of these moments through the day.

Specifically, leaders can ask themselves the following questions:

-          What messages do I send based on how I spend my time?

-          What messages do I send based on the people with whom I spend my time?

-          What messages do I send based on how I allocate resources?

-          Am I authentic when I speak, or do I come across as manipulative and even dishonest?

-          Do my deeds match my words?

- How well do I model the desired culture and values of the organisation?

-          How much integrity would my colleagues say I have?

-          How do I respond to failures when people take risks?

-          When do I provide praise and other rewards, and what messages does this send?

-          When do I provide criticism or punishment, and what messages does this send?

-          What behaviours or results am I tolerating that I shouldn’t be tolerating, and what messages am I sending as a result?

-          How well do I communicate expectations, how employees can be better, and what I appreciate about their work and contributions?

-          How do I carry myself when I walk, speak one-on-one, and participate in meetings?

-          How well do I listen and understand?

-          How many different styles do I have for communicating in different, challenging situations?

-          How well do I influence others one-on-one, in groups, and throughout the organisation?

This is only a partial list of questions to explore. Notice that how well you present at the “big speech” is something to consider, but not even close to the majority of what makes a difference when you communicate as a leader.

For more information about improving your leadership impact and presence, contact me at Trumble & Partners - Specialists in ‘authentic influence’.

Toby Trumble