My attitude is ugly and my patience is wearing thin as I am sitting on my third cancelled flight of the day. I have a better chance of winning the lottery than I do catching the last connecting flight this evening back to Cleveland. It’s been a long few days on the road and I am not displaying very good leadership qualities at this particular moment. While I am not happy about sharing this part of my ugliness, I do think it is a clear demonstration of poor leadership presence.
Leadership presence is all about who we are “being.” That is such a unique word – being. Even when I say it out loud it sounds weird. “Being.” I am being negative. I am being tired. I am being grumpy. And that is just over my personal inconvenience of travel.
Let’s take the discussion a bit deeper. What about the what happens in the boardroom? Have you ever been in a discussion where you were “being” something other than a leader? Maybe the idea wasn’t yours and you were being defensive. Maybe someone took credit for your work and you were being passive-aggressive. Maybe you were not excited about the conversation or additional workload and were simply being closed to the idea. Regardless of the specific situation, and I know you are thinking of one right now, “being” a leader is a choice we make. We (YOU) have total control over our leadership presence and how we are viewed by others.
I bring up this painful reality simply because leadership presence is a competency I have focused considerable time on during my nearly two decades of leading teams. I have observed how leaders or aspiring leadership candidates can be their own worst enemies when it comes to career progression and/or development. Bosses and employees are looking to see how leaders respond in a crisis. They watch us when we are required to deliver bad news. They observe how we work in times of ambiguity. They monitor the good, the bad, and the ugly. Unfortunately, many of those data points and inputs script a career progression, not actual results or metric achievements.
So the next time you are “being” something other than a leader, stop it! Acknowledge what or who you are being. Write it down and note what made you respond in that manner. Document what triggered your leadership presence. With that awareness you will be more apt to fix your perspective the next time a similar situation occurs. And don’t forget to do just that – FIX IT! Progression of competencies like leadership presence only occurs when we allow ourselves to fail and get better. Good luck!
As for me, I am off to see if I can display good leadership presence in order to get on a re-scheduled flight for tomorrow morning. With any luck and a break in Mother Nature, I’ll be back at the office soon enough to go through another day of practicing leadership competencies.
Division Service Manager
FedEx Custom Critical