-The Power of Presence-
According to consultant and author Kristi Hedges, “Presence is the great equalizer.” She writes about the importance of a person’s presence in her new book, “The Power of Presence.” Kristi teaches that presence is developed by ridding yourself of limiting behaviors and incorporating new ways of thinking and acting. She calls this I-Presence.
I Presence is 3 dimensional:
Your beliefs shape every aspect of your presence, from body language to the actions you choose and the words you choose to verbalize. It is critical to get your head around what type of presence you want to demonstrate, the values you want to convey, and how that matches up (or doesn’t) with how others currently perceive you.
You connect with individuals, not with hierarchical concepts. Positional power and titles are losing ground in today’s workplace; many times they serve as actual barriers to making a strong bond with those around you. This isn’t about having all the right answers, nor is it about working harder than everyone else. This one goes back to the sandbox...
Presence is about moving people. Sure, you could use fear tactics, but that will become counterproductive in just a short time. Under those conditions people work hard for a short time, then get even more discouraged and discontent. Leadership presence is about a set of skills that many in the non-profit workforce have to utilize. It’s our bread and butter to say the least. Things like: vision, encouraging words and modeling the way are our lifeline as we inspire others.
This quality is demonstrated powerfully in the life of Jesus. We learn about leadership presence in the 1st chapter of the Gospel of John where John’s disciples decide to inquire further about Jesus. In this passage Jesus asks His would-be-disciples, “What are you looking for?" Instead of the disciples pulling out a list of questions, they ask Jesus, “Where are you staying?” “Come and you will see” was Jesus’ reply. Why did Jesus and His disciples have this seemingly confusing exchange? The reason is because in ancient Israel some learned under a Rabbi. They would pick a Rabbi (teacher) and “sit at their feet” to learn. With this answer, the disciples had a firsthand answer to their question about the Messiah. Notice the huge difference between how our society would have handled this and the way Jesus did. Jesus did not send them to the internet or the library. Instead, He communed with these men in an intimate setting. He invited them into His life to observe how He lived, how He handled Himself in public affairs AND in private ones. Jesus practiced intentionality, connected with people individually and had an inspiring presence.
“Leadership presence begins in your head,” observes Hedges, “It resides in how you think about yourself, your abilities, your environment, and your potential.” Building your presence starts with one of my favorite words: intentionality. Intentional means doing something on purpose. Until you are deliberate about creating a powerful leadership presence via the three avenues expressed above, no tricks or gimmicks will help you. In fact, going the quick route will make you less authentic -and less authentic is easy to spot. If I could boil this post down to a summary, I’d quote Emerson who once said, “The best effort of a fine person is felt after we have left their presence.” This is leadership presence, it is that mysterious elegance given off by a man or a woman that no one in the room can quite put their finger on, but are all keenly aware of.