Do You Have Leadership Presence?

Linda Dulye's picture

For decades -- and even centuries -- people have explored every facet of leadership, trying to understand what traits make up effective leaders. The concept of leadership continues to be one of the most popular business topics. In fact, a search for the word "leadership" in the books section of produces 60,807 results.

Why the fascination with leadership? Because often it can be the final criteria for an organization looking to promote or hire an executive. If you're looking at two candidates for a job and they're equal in all other qualifications, the better leader is likely to end up getting the nod.

Recently I came across a blog post on by John Baldoni who looked at "leadership presence" which he defined as "earned authority."

Leadership presence is rooted in authority but earned through example. That is, you have the power to [do] things and you have earned the right through your actions to lead others.

How do you earn the right? It's not by walking into an office or plant on your first day declaring you're the new leader.

I believe it's by cultivating relationships with managers and employees that are based on trust. In his post, Baldoni points to concepts that Dulye & Co. has encouraged for more than 20 years: get out from behind the desk and take to front-line managers and workers. Sit down in the lunch room and ask questions about what's working and what's not.

Leaders don't become leaders -- nor do they develop leadership presence -- overnight. It takes time and it takes work.

Do you have leadership presences? If not, are you willing to do what it takes to earn it? Give it some thought.


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