Leadership Trust: 7 Tough Situations that Strain Trust Levels

Trust-LevelsTrust is the foundation for executive presence. Last week I shared with you a blog post about the trust equation, from the book The Trusted Advisor by Maister, Green and Galford (New York: First Touchstone, 2000.) I love this equation because it takes a concept as nebulous as trust and makes it real by attaching numbers to rate the quality of each factor:

Trust = Credibility + Reliability + Intimacy
Self-Orientation

In other words, use an example of a relationship with a subordinate or a team member, one you deal with on a regular basis. Give each factor a rating from 1 to 10.

  • How much credibility do you have with this person?
  • How much reliability is there between you two?
  • How close, open and honest are you with each other?

Add up the three numbers. Next, rate your degree of self-orientation, how much of yourself you insert into your conversations. Are you pretty much self-oriented, focusing on what you think and you want the person to do? In the case of a direct supervisor, you may rank as highly self-oriented because of the purpose of your job. Or, if you have a more coaching leadership style, so you may rate yourself with lower self-involvement as you encourage the other person to come up with solutions.

Take that self-orientation number and divide it into the sum of the other three factors. In their study, the authors showed that a “5” equates to a long-standing trustful relationship while a “1.25” is a low trust score.

Raise Your Low-Trust Scores

Read More »

Posted in career, coaching, executive coaching, executive leadership, relationships | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

The Trust Factor: Can You Really Measure It?

Building Trust Model Illustration DesignIf you’re a leader working in any organization you know how fragile trust can be, and how essential it is for getting others to fully engage to give their best work. Can you actually measure your trustworthiness? And, more important, what specific actions can you take to improve how trustworthy you are?

Trust is the foundation for executive presence. Earlier this week I shared with you the Trust Equation, from the book The Trusted Advisor by Maister, Green and Galford (New York: First Touchstone, 2000.)

Trust = Credibility + Reliability + Intimacy
Self-Orientation

How do we define these components that contribute to trust? If we can fully understand what makes us more trustworthy, we can make sure we take certain actions and articulate each component. The equation works by assigning a score, on a scale of 1 to 10, regarding a particular relationship.

The Trust Factors Read More »

Posted in career, collaboration, executive coaching, executive leadership, relationships | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Executive Presence: The Trust Factor

business handshake against white background and standing businesWithout trust, you can’t have a strong executive presence; you can’t make the kind of connections that you need at work. Today work is done not so much because of command and positional authority as it is through influence and engagement. People have to be personally motivated to give their best. They do that when they trust you as a leader and feel a connection.

Trust is a foundational piece to having leadership presence. People won’t invest their time and energy if they don’t feel comfortable about your motives and credibility.

“If intention is your aim and connection your target, then trust is the atmosphere that carries your presence from Point A to Point B.” Kristi Hedges in The Power of Presence: Unlock Your Potential to Influence and Engage Others

How do you build up trust? It’s complicated because it’s partly based on facts (your credibility, your reliability) and partly emotional (intimacy, or how they feel about you). Trust is different at work than for our personal lives. We tolerate more gray areas around trust at work because we don’t expect as much from people in the workplace. We assume everyone is self-motivated and maybe ambitious about getting ahead. Read More »

Posted in career, collaboration, executive coaching, leadership, relationships | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Executive Presence: Why Don’t We Express Core Values More Frequently?

Core-ValuesThere are several reasons why I believe there’s so much emphasis on improving one’s executive presence. Partially, it has something to do with companies decentralizing. So many middle managers have been eliminated, in favor of work teams that are quasi-self-governing. Everyone is being trained to step-up and motivate others. Everyone is encouraged to be a leader.

Another reason may be due to generational shifts in attitudes about leadership.  Whatever the cause, the effect is certain. Author Kristi Hedges writes in The Power of Presence: Unlock Your Potential to Influence and Engage Others:

People are being asked to strengthen the way they communicate and connect with others to increase their influence in looser and more disparate corporate structures.

Presence is not just about communication skills or how you make a presentation, however. Executive presence is how you show up and move through the day. How do others’ perceive you? Not just from the podium or in front of a meeting room. But day-to-day, on and off the job.

In my previous post, The Intentional Leader, I mentioned that executive presence starts in the mind and with your most worthy intentions and core values. And yet, I find in the work I do coaching people, few people talk about clearly defined core values and a guiding purpose. They have them, but they don’t always have them fully articulated and clearly focused in mind and deed.

I’ve written a lot about Clarity, Intention, Attention, Focus in my two books, Selling for Geniuses and Do Eagles Just Wing It?

These four core qualities are never more important today for executive presence. You can’t build up your presence without making clear your intentions, your purpose, and where you will spend your energy and enthusiasm. Why do I think not enough people do this? Again, it’s not because we don’t have clear core values. Most of us do.

We don’t express them enough. And, I’m no psychologist, but my guess would be we don’t step up and express our most deeply felt values because of our limiting assumptions and negative self-talk that holds us back. We all experience creeping negativity and self-doubts. We are masters of “not-good-enough” thinking. And anyone who isn’t self-limiting to some extent probably comes across as a narcissist.

Okay, I’m exaggerating to make a point. My point is most of us could step out of our comfort zones a little more and show up as more expressive about our feelings, passions and core values. But we don’t. Think about it. Are we uncomfortable letting people know what we value? Afraid of sounding weak? Perhaps. I don’t know.

What do you think about expressing feelings, core values and such as part of expanding your leadership presence? I’d love to hear your thoughts. You can contact me here and on LinkedIn.

Posted in career, communication, executive coaching, executive leadership | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Executive Presence: The Intentional Leader

Executive-Presence-IntentionsExecutive presence is built on a foundation of core values and your ability to express your most worthy intentions in everything you do.

All the work you can do on your communication skills and appearances won’t make you a great leader.

As author Kristi Hedges writes:

“Executive presence begins in your head. It resides in how you think about yourself, your abilities, your environment, and your potential.” ~ Kristi Hedges, The Power of Presence: Unlock Your Potential to Influence and Engage Others, Amacom, 2012

Executive presence has nothing to do with becoming someone you’re not. It’s about being more of who you already are. Intentions drive and create your executive presence. All the polish and coaching in the world won’t make up for your thought patterns, your habits, your assumptions and your actions. Read More »

Posted in career, coaching, communication, executive leadership | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Top 8 Communication Blunders that Destroy Executive Presence

Executive-PresenceAccording to Sylvia Ann Hewlett from CTI (Center for Talent Innovation) in Executive Presence: The Missing Link Between Merit and Success, there are several communication blunders that can destroy your executive presence  when you speak:

  1. Signs of nervousness, such as breathlessness, sweating, trembling or stammering
  2. Constantly checking your phone for latest messages
  3. Signs of boredom, foot-tapping, doodling
  4. Being long-winded, rambling and repetitive instead of getting to the point
  5. Relying too heavily on notes or other props
  6. Signs of strong emotions such as crying, anger, frustrations, etc.
  7. Lack of eye contact
  8. High-pitched or shrill voice

How can you tell you’ve wandered into one of these communication traps? Read More »

Posted in career, communication, executive coaching, leadership | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Top 6 Leadership Communication Skills for Executive Presence

Leadership-Communication   Sylvia Ann Hewlett from CTI (Center for Talent Innovation) writes in Executive Presence: The Missing Link Between Merit and Success that surveys of senior leaders report these top six communication traits are key for leaders:

  1. Superior speaking skills: for men 63%, women 60%
  2. Ability to command a room: for men, 54%, women 49%
  3. Forcefulness and assertiveness: for men 48%, for women 48%
  4. Ability to read a client/a boss/a room: men, 33%, women 39%
  5. Sense of humor and ability to banter: men 35%, women 33%
  6. Body language/posture: man 25%, women 21%

In other words, out of all the traits that confer executive presence, superior speaking skills mark you as a leader. All six of these behaviors contribute to how powerfully you connect with an audience, how quickly you engage with listeners, and how well you can keep their attention. Read More »

Posted in career, coaching, communication, executive leadership | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Gravitas is the Key Factor in Executive Presence

Lonely Businessman Facing Financial DepressionWhat do you think is the single most defining characteristic of executive presence?

In the Center for Talent Innovation survey of senior leaders, 67% say that gravitas is the most important defining element of executive presence. According to Sylvia Ann Hewlett, author of Executive Presence: The Missing Link Between Merit and Success there are three factors that create presence in a leader:

  1. How you act as a leader: gravitas
  2. How you speak: communication skills
  3. How you look: appearances

But what exactly is gravitas?  An online dictionary says it’s substance, weightiness, a serious or dignified demeanor, formality in bearing and appearances. If you ask me, those descriptions don’t do much to clarify what a leader needs to do to act with gravitas. Sure I get it, but it’s still vague. In Hewlett’s book, gravitas is broken down into six aspects, based on survey responses from senior leaders:

  1. Confidence and “grace under fire:” 79%
  2. Decisiveness and “showing teeth:” 70%
  3. Integrity and “speaking truth to power”: 64%
  4. Emotional intelligence: 61%
  5. Reputation and standing/”pedigree”: 56%
  6. Vision/charisma: 50%

Gravitas is the very essence of EP. Without it, you simply won’t be perceived as a leader, no matter what your title or level of authority, no matter how well you dress or speak. Gravitas, according to 62% of the leaders we surveyed, is what signals to the world you’re made of the right stuff and can be entrusted with serious responsibility. ~ Sylvia Ann Hewlett

So how do you acquire more gravitas and how do you express it? How do you improve your presence so that you’re seen as a leader with strong potential?

If you look at the roller coaster economy and business scandals of the last fifteen years, it’s not surprising that we’re drawn to leaders who keep their promises, who are transparent and honest, who keep their cool under fire, and show compassion along with courage when making hard decisions. Even so, there may be more examples of those who failed that come to mind than those who didn’t fail.

For sure, often courage and grace is strengthened in times of crisis. To borrow from Eleanor Roosevelt’s words, like teabags, we don’t know how strong we are until we’re in hot water.

While avoiding catastrophe may demonstrate a leader’s competence, it is handling catastrophe that confers gravitas.

All leaders face serious mistakes. There will be accidents, some out of your control. Mistakes will be made by both you and others you trusted. According to Hewlett:

Each of these represents, however, a monumental opportunity to acquire and exude gravitas: to reach within yourself, at the height of the storm, for that eye of calm, and to speak and act from that place of clarity. Because when you demonstrate that your confidence cannot be shaken, you inspire confidence in others. At worst, you’ll win their forgiveness and forbearance. Very possibly, you’ll win their trust and loyalty.

What do you think about gravitas? Is it something you’ve thought about or worked on as part of your presence? I’d love to hear your thoughts You can contact me here and on LinkedIn.

Posted in career, executive coaching, executive leadership | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Executive Presence: Got It?

Executive-PresenceI think executive presence is frequently misunderstood. We think of “presence” as a star quality seen in those business leaders who exude confidence and charisma and who shine at conferences and networking events. Most of us think of presence as a fuzzy quality we probably need more of for that next promotion, but aren’t quite sure how to develop it.

I think it’s much more crucial than that. Executive presence has nothing to do with becoming someone you’re not, rather, it’s about being more of who you already are.

According to author Kristi Hedges in The Power of Presence: Unlock Your Potential to Influence and Engage Others, presence has become one of the key success factors for professionals today. Organizations are bringing in coaches to help cultivate it. It is showing up in performance reviews and people are getting hired, fired and promoted based on it. Read More »

Posted in career, executive coaching, leadership | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Leadership Stories: How Personal Should You Be?

Leadership-StoriesJust how personal should you be when you craft a leadership story designed to persuade people? I guess it depends on your audience… or does it?

I’ve known keynote speakers who use stories of a parent’s death or illness to make a dramatic point and get their audience emotionally engaged. Sometimes it comes across as sappy and manipulative. However, done well, it can be both touching and effective.

Yet, beware. This approach to storytelling with emotional impact has become formulaic. It can backfire. Read More »

Posted in career, communication, executive coaching, executive leadership | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment