Intellectual intelligence will always be important; that’s how you do your work and it’s certainly a prerequisite for leadership. But executive presence requires something more rare and more valuable: emotional intelligence.
Emotional intelligence is the awareness of and responsibility for the effect you have on others, as well as the empathy to acknowledge where others are coming from. It requires self-awareness, self-management, motivation, and social skills including empathy.
Emotional intelligence is a trademark of a good leader. This leader creates a more intuitive workplace for your people, putting their company a big step ahead of others. According to Barbara Bailey Reinhold, the author of Toxic Work, “When you don’t listen to people and when you stay encased in your little capsule about data and forget about people, you cost the company a minimum of $750 a year per employee.”Intellectual intelligence will always be important… But executive presence requires something more rare and more valuable: emotional intelligence. Excerpt of Executive Presence For The Modern Leader Click To Tweet
The first step of cultivating emotional intelligence is developing self-awareness. This includes the ability to identify your own thoughts and your emotions, and be thoughtful about where they come from, what triggers them, and what their impact is on others.
The more you know about yourself, the more readily you can choose the kind of person you want to be. So ask yourself, what kind of person do you want to be? Increased self-awareness has a strong association with the golden rule: Treat others as you want to be treated.
The most successful type of self-awareness is twofold: internal and external. People who are internally self-aware understand their own character, feelings, core values, motives, needs, priorities, passions, habits, and desires. With that knowledge, they can follow their values, build on their strengths, and identify areas for improvement.The more you know about yourself, the more readily you can choose the kind of person you want to be. from Excerpt of Executive Presence For The Modern Leader Click To Tweet
External self-awareness is the awareness that other people have their own character, feelings, core values, motives, needs, priorities, passions, habits, and desires. That’s where empathy comes from. This external self-awareness can help you to see people for who they are, and allow you to recognize how they see you. You won’t always be right—you’re not inside their heads—but empathy helps you understand where they are coming from and see yourself from their point of view more readily. External self-awareness, including empathy, helps you ensure that the message you send is received as you intended.
Sometimes, however, self-awareness can turn into self-criticism. It’s important to be aware of this, because if you put yourself down, others will, also. A later self-assessment will help clarify those boundaries.
Too often, areas of life such as religion, parenting, and coaching teach us to put ourselves down. The healthiest approach to these messages is to be aware of your imperfections while accepting them, and know that they don’t define you. You are deserving of acceptance and kindness from others and from yourself. You are adequate and good enough. That might not sound like a high standard to meet, but too many of us believe the lie that we’re inadequate, a lie that culture or our families or our bosses might have implanted in us. Some call it “imposter syndrome.” If you don’t alter your thinking to dismiss this imposter, you’ll create an unnecessary obstacle for your executive presence.
One CEO I know said, “It all comes down to your own self-belief. If you believe you’re okay, one day you’ll wake up and find you truly are . . . If you don’t believe in yourself, you better know that no one else will. You haven’t got a hope in hell.”
Similarly, as you reach out to learn and connect with people, view them as at least “adequate,” too. Assume good intention and high ability in others. If you talk to a stranger a day, but then each day find yourself thinking critically, negatively, or judgmentally about that person, you are not setting yourself up to manifest executive presence. The person working toward executive presence is slow to judge and treats people like they want to be treated.
An amateur leader thinks that people are like them. A pro knows and accepts the differences, acknowledges another person’s right to think differently, and embraces the possibilities that such diversity of thinking might generate.
To practice acceptance requires a shift. Imagine an employee is spending inordinate time chatting at the water cooler when a deadline is looming. Instead of thinking that person is a jerk, is dumb, or is slacking off, think about something the person does well and focus on that. Then, if you are their manager, give clear direction as to what you want and don’t want in their behavior without judging their character, motive, or ability. With this shift in perspective, you can constructively address behavior that is not what is expected without attacking the person’s character.
I’ve maintained this belief for many years, having learned it from some of the greatest leaders in the world: As a leader, your job is to do yours while doing all you can to maintain the self-esteem of others. The leader who can be proudest of their leadership is one who never compromises the dignity of another person.The leader who can be proudest of their leadership is one who never compromises the dignity of another person. Excerpt of Executive Presence For The Modern Leader Click To Tweet
If you want to improve your executive presence and ability to work with others, I am here to help. Contact me to discuss executive coaching, or if you have a group of emerging leaders, for a speaking engagement.