On Leadership and Learning Executive Presence

Executive Presence

As a professional speaker and facilitator of leadership development workshops, I often get the chance to be in front of leaders to help them fine-tune their personal leadership effectiveness in my workshops called “Leadership PowerLabs.”  

My goal is to make leaders more powerful in their day-to-day interactions. I get to see how a lot of leaders look both on the inside and on the outside.

Dissecting Leaders

Values Cards Signature ShowcaseMy fast-paced short-format workshop is designed to help leaders take a deeply introspective journey into who they are as a leader, where they are on their personal leadership journey, and how to raise their performance level with those they lead. The session provides managers and leaders everything they need to understand how to get more effort and better results from the people that they lead. It is fast, fun, and very effective.

I am getting leaders to reveal themselves to themselves.

In the many thousands of times I have done this hands-on card-sorting exercise, I have seen leaders of every stripe, age, experience-level, etc come to the conclusion of what it means for “them to be them.”

Because they expose their top values, I can see people for who they are on the inside. So can everyone else in the room who can view their top value card selections.

It is pure revelation to many to see what is REALLY important when they have to get down to just two cards that reveal their top-two values.

I also can see how best to motivate each one of them as an individual. I simply look at the top values displayed on their top 6 cards and use the information they provide (their top values) as my “leadership cheat-sheet.”  I know this motivation recipe works because I know this simple formula and how it works with human beings.

This is the magic formula for motivation:

Values drive decisions; Decisions drive behaviors; Behaviors drive results.

As a leader, I simply need to keep in mind the top motivators for each individual that I lead and simply take the steps to create and maintain an environment where they can self-motivate and prosper while reaching team goals and objectives.

Inside Outside

Leadership Fun GuyMy 25 years in sales and marketing have allowed me to get a really good instinctual understanding of people and their motivations. My short-format workshops that are “fit for the Blackberry-Attention-Span” allow me to convert that expertise into a digestible format and package it for executive consumption. I take 25+ years of knowledge and get it into the heads of leaders in just a matter of hours. It’s actually a very serious exercise wrapped in fun clothes and packaged for speed.

For me, the focus of my training is on the inside of the professional person. But what about the outside?

When I recently surveyed my own personal growth path, I knew that I have the “inside stuff” figured out pretty well. Since I have been the class-clown type of personality my whole life, this serves me well in my offering. I am considered the “Leadership Fun Guy” because it suites the stand-up comedy act that continually plays in my head. I joke a lot and bring a lot of levity to my practice. For instance:

My style is to attract attention and write articles like “How to Lead Ugly People” and titles like “Properly Using the F-Word at Work” and have fun while doing it.

But what I came to realize in my personal inventory of leadership qualities is that I needed to be better aware and equipped on what was appearing on my outside. On what is visible to others in specific situation. “Fun guy” doesn’t work in every situation.

I realized I needed to hone and polish my outer appearance. I needed to recalibrate my executive presence.

Executive Presence

Fortunately for me, I was recently introduced by a new friend and executive development specialist named Kent Gregoire to a highly credible and professionally stunning woman in Atlanta, Georgia named Sally Williamsonwho does “Executive Presence” training. Sally practices what she preaches. She definitely has executive presence.

So what exactly is executive presence?

Paul Aldo, Managing Partner of IPS wrote a complete exposé on the question in this article in the Atlanta Journal Constitution. Sally Williamson and her highly polished team lead by Rhonda Gaileysay this:

We define it as “the confidence to express your ideas with conviction…and the ability and desire to engage and influence others in the process.”

Workshop Experience

I enrolled in the Executive Presence full-day workshop and was very impressed with everything about it. From the way the workshop unfolded to the caliber and quality of presentation, I was full engaged and learned a lot about how to appear and act in many typical professional encounters.

My primary focus was to put some polish on my outside and curb some of my enthusiasm, but I got much more out of the experience than that.

I was shown the tricks and techniques of executive presence while sitting, standing, approaching the podium, reading, interviewing, selling a board room of executives, live stage speakingand was told the “why” behind each one of them. I was videotaped and saw the good, bad, and ugly of it all. Some in the intimate class of ten participants where sent there by their boss for “charm school” and came out educated and informed on how to engage with a new solid shine. Others came on their own accord and found new personal confidence and poise. This workshop put on me the “leadership outerwear” that will help me go to the next level of influence.

Get Your Shine On

Now, if any of you who know me think that I am now a stuffy power-tie-type with wingtip shoes and a fancy parking space who is soon to lose the sense of humor, forget about it! Nothing could be further from the truth. What Sally Williamson’s teaching did was to confirm in me to be who I am. That as I perfect and practice what she taught me, that I will be amplifying how the Good Lord made me and will actually reach far more people when I exhibit my new executive presence.

So, watch out world, Leadership Fun Guy is coming to a performance near you! And this time, I’ll be polished!

Sally provided me the opportunity to audit her workshop at no cost with nothing promised in return. However, I can’t help but recommend her very highly: A+! Thank you Sally!

Connect with Sally and get your shine on by reaching Rhonda Gailey here.


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Tom Schulte is Executive Director of Linked 2 Leadership
He provides leadership training fit for the Blackberry-Attention-Span Email | LinkedIn | Twitter | Facebook | Web | Video | Conference | Blog

Image Sources: cultureroi.com

Rhonda Gailey here

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5 responses to “On Leadership and Learning Executive Presence

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