First impressions are lasting, and the manner in which you present yourself upon first meeting someone can shape how they think of you for years. That’s why it’s essential for managers and leaders to always put their best foot forward, but projecting confidence and authenticity can be difficult if those leaders are new to management and still navigating their roles. The challenges of developing a leadership presence are the subject of a recent article in the Harvard Business Review, which also explains steps leaders can take to present strong leadership signals to their teams. Read below to learn how you can strengthen your leadership presence.
Share Your Thought Process
Having insight into their leader’s decisions makes employees feel valued, so to win the loyalty of your team, explain to them the rationale behind your choices and actions. This transparency and openness will help to build trust between you and the people who report to you. Additionally, by sharing your thought process with your team members, they will see the variables that impact your decisions and come to respect you for how thoroughly you consider information before taking action.
Cultivate Emotional Intelligence
The cornerstone of your work as a manager involves motivating employees and inspiring them to action. As a result, it can be extremely valuable to develop your emotional intelligence, or the ability to identify others’ emotions and use emotions to help influence thinking and behavior. For example, if you find yourself assigning a particular task to members of your team, consider how well an emotional appeal might motivate them: Perhaps making them feel valued by highlighting their strong organizational skills before handing out the assignment could be a perfect incentive.
Managers often wind up as the bearers of bad news, but the way they deliver that news to their teams goes a long way in shaping their leadership presence. Instead of communicating anger or frustration—which can undermine morale and disrupt the team—maintain a calm attitude when you need to relay unpleasant information. In the moment, this will help to keep your employees on track, and it will also make them more likely to come to you with important information in the future, even if that information isn’t of a positive nature.