How often do we see managers using their title to impress and claim they are the leader in charge, yet you intuitively know that in reality they don’t enjoy the strong leadership power they should? Not everyone is a “natural leader”, but we can all improve the image we create and build our “power”.
Power, is like being a lady. If you tell people you are, you aren’t.
– Margaret Thatcher
This quote from Margaret Thatcher says it all for leaders and managers. Mrs Thatcher never used her gender as a prop, in fact in her first cabinet there were no other females. Today too often I hear so called leaders use props. Is this really an excuse to tell people who they are or who they think they are? Are they reassuring themselves? Many current day politicians explain away their failings by using props which are in reality just excuses for poor performance.
Props Signal Weakness Not Strength
I worked in an organisation for a person who always let slip in the first two sentences of a conversation “I am the managing director”. Of course there can be good reasons for mentioning a title very early, but how it is done can change this from highly useful information to just “a prop”. Here it was as if he wanted to impress potential customers or suppliers. Yet interestingly, he was considered a rather ineffective and out of touch manager. Staff had very little respect for him as a person or as a manager. Using your position, background, perceived social position and race and gender as a prop does signal that you are not really in charge in the way you should be.
Spot The Leaders In The Room
My wife is an industrial psychologist, and I see her as a good judge of character. With over 30 years of industry experience, she can easily spot those managers protected by their title; and she can spot the real leader in charge of an organisation, the one with genuine power. This is often before formally meeting and talking with that manager. We all create an immediate perception by how we walk, our general presence, how we hold ourselves and how we appear in control of the situation.
Being Really The Leader In Charge
We can manage that perception. And indeed, we must manage it. Imagine the business risk if the designated or person with the managerial title is not seen as really being the leader in charge! The business team, division or the whole organisation is likely to be in trouble, now or soon.
As business advisers and mentors we need to help our clients turn that situation around. And as business owners ourselves, we need to take seriously how we can manage the perception of leadership power we as well as our clients generate.
This is where a coach from The Network Of Consulting Professionals can facilitate that transition to really being the leader in charge. Their extensive business experience enables them to understand both human behaviour and business situations and challenges. They know how to help you/your clients build a new dynamic. In particular, they help you
- See how we create the leader image we have
- Know/ understand the “hidden” stakeholder(s) with real power around us
- Look the part 100%
- Stand out as someone whose words and actions matter
- Use gestures and postures that signal that we mean business
- Show effective quiet confidence
- Proactively engage with people
- Take and hold the power in the room
- Feel and be in charge
If you want to read more about these various points, you will enjoy reading the many posts on leadership in Heiner Karst’s blog at www.letstalkcoaching.com. Heiner is an executive coach with clients in all kinds of organisations around the world. He is a member of The NCP.
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