You've just left the room. Your behavior in the room was your normal everyday behavior based on how you are wired, how you see yourself and how you perceive your impact on others.
When they hired you, they told you to show executive presence. What they meant is that they wanted you to be able to naturally take control of situations and make decisions. They wanted you to deal with conflict head-on and they wanted you to be direct and persuasive. They wanted you to build an environment of trust. They wanted you to operate with humility and they wanted you to show empathy from time to time.
You took the executive presence comment to mean that you needed to demonstrate executive presence all the time regardless of who is in your audience.
In the room you just left, several people are shaking and one is in tears. While you were in the room, these people felt like an earthquake was occurring. Even after you left the room, they still felt the aftershocks from your earthquake-like presence. These people sure didn’t interpret your presence as their perception of executive presence.
You showed presence alright. But, did you know that several people in the room had great ideas to share and they really wanted to be heard in today’s meeting? Did you know that several people in the room invested several hours each into doing research to create their presentations for today’s meeting? You know, the presentations that were never presented because you consumed all the time in today’s meeting demonstrating your executive presence?
Did you do any listening while you were demonstrating your executive presence? Maybe if you had listened instead of continually demonstrating your executive presence, you would have known that one of your key team members just learned of their spouse’s diagnosis with a critical illness.
Had you listened and considered what your team had to contribute, you might have learned that one of your team members stayed up all night fixing a problem that would have shut down the business today had they not sacrificed a night of sleep. You could have praised this person in front of the rest of the team.
It’s great that you are wired differently than your staff and for that reason, you have been placed in a leadership role. However, being a leader gives you more responsibility than most people around you. People around you want you to be honest. They want you to be a man/woman of integrity. They want to have reasons to trust you.
Your team wants you to listen. They want you to occasionally step into their shoes and consider how they feel. Your team wants to be acknowledged and to feel appreciated. Making people feel this way is sometimes more important to your team members than what you pay them.
Treat your team with the utmost respect and give them the support they need to do their jobs and they’ll do great things for you as their leader. In fact, treat your team with this kind of respect and they might even shock you with their performance.
Do you know how your executive presence is coming across to others?