Leadership Presence: What do you need?

I was working with a leadership team this week and the topic of communication came up. Everyone rallied around the discussion of what to communicate to their reports, the importance of expectations and clarifying what each report needed to succeed in their job.

The discussion was very lively until I asked the question “how do you communicate what you need to your boss?”  Silence….complete and utter silence….

Not being one to torture people, I broke the silence.  I made the point that the people they lead are only as able to communicate to you what they need as you are able to communicate what you need to your boss.

Dang!  They really didn’t like hearing that!  It is always easiest to focus on THEM versus focus on YOU.  However, leadership begins with YOU….

So, let me give you three tips to identify and communicate what you need to be successful in your life and your career.

1.  Take time to reflect

I know who has time!  If you don’t make time you will never achieve the success with balance that will bring you confidence, focus and results.  I recommend using three questions:

  • What do I want?
  • What do I bring?
  • Where to from here?

The first time you reflect on these questions it will take more time.  The next time will be a “tweak”.  How often should you answer these questions?  In the beginning, every month.  As it feels more natural, every quarter.

2.  Identify what you want to share with others

Your boss may not  be the only one who needs to hear your thoughts.  Others may include:  your spouse/significant other, your direct reports, your friends, your business peers/partners.

3.  Schedule time to have the conversation

Private conversations with yourself don’t work.  It is interesting conversation but difficult for others to support you.  You have to say it to those you have identified in order for your message to take roots and grow.


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