Act Like the Leader You Want to Be

Act Like the Leader You Want to Be



you can't afford to not be good at this you're dependent on your job as a leader to get other people to take actions you need to be skilled in relationships in influence and communication there's no getting around it so it gets labeled as soft skills but it's really a hard business driver and there's hard science underneath it that we understand how it works so it's not just soft it's a critical piece of being an effective communicator people talk about executive presence or having a presence and most people think it's something that you're born with or that person just has it turns out it's just a set of behaviors that presence is something that you do there's a set of behaviors that I like that capsulate down to about five points on either side of that equation on the authoritative side there is slowness in how you move and how you speak stillness just being very still like right now I'm not moving my head very much at all that's a choice normally I have a little bit more motion in me so stillness silence is very powerful and if you can be comfortable in silence then you can use that to be more authoritative symmetry has to do with do i slant a little or just my head go off to the side I would say this is a little less authoritative than what this is and then space what space do you own and can I reach out and touch someone's shoulder or shake their hand and make that first move to invade their space those are all on the authoritative side so on the other side with approachable there are 5x and that is filling space if you can't let assignments happen that's more approachable if you speak or move fast you're usually trying to get all your words in before you get interrupted that's not a place of power you know that you don't have the control just talk so you try to get everything in all in one space the next one is folded and that's where you're folding your body like crossing your arms crossing your legs is all the way of sort of protecting yourself and closing in it's a little more approachable and even just that sort of twisting on one foot or crossing one leg over the other is a little closer together and it's related to fidgeting so if you do that and the motion keeps happening let's also get very close to what flirting is and there's a lot of little gestures and motions that we do that are flirting including making and breaking eye contact is more flirtatious and the last one is about giving space you allow people into your space you invite people to take your space so those are all of the characteristics of being on the approachable side the first thing is awareness and you have that if you're asking the question and the second thing is to just look at yourself just start to observe how do I act in different situations and how do other people act often I've talked to students and they want some coaching because they're ready for a promotion they want to move up into that partner position or into the next level and I always tell them to observe and report on how do those people act behave verbally non-verbally because you need to act in that same way and what got you to where you are isn't what will get you to the next stage but you have a perfect opportunity to just observe so that's the first place in the second place is to try and make some change any change and practice it improvisational acting or any acting class from Community Theatre to a professional school hones and works on these tools they're also really fun to do it's a fun place to play and many people are afraid of going to do it and those classes are some of the safest place in the world because to do that work you have to create a really safe space for people to take some risks and try to show up in different ways than they normally are so there people are very skilled and the groups that are there are very supportive so in most cases people come in a little afraid and leave just it elated because it's so much fun it starts with the fact that acting is not pretending most people think it is and if you see actors that are not great in film and TV they are the ones that are pretending acting is about finding a truthful place so when you see a really good actor you're seeing how would that person actually show up in that setting so if it's a dangerous setting and scary things are happening you're seeing that person reacting in the way they show up as a scared person and when we see that it's really believable because it's authentic authentic means in tune with the emotional state that you're actually in and not something separate so an example of that would be I try to put on Mad for you I think this doesn't really look mad right it looks kind of cartoonish it's it's like when you ask a small child to show me your mad face it's not really mad it's a mask that they're putting on when you're really authentically mad you show up in a way that it's you're communicating that emotion that's what authentic is everyone can be authentically authoritative or authentically approachable anywhere along this range they will do it slightly differently my authentic authority my authentic powerful is different than yours which is different than everyone else that is out there but it's truthful and if it's truthful then we believe it and it's really part of you so acting is not about putting on the mask or the costume of the character it's about finding the truthful place and bringing that out before you walk into the room you can put on these gestures in these poses you can do it by yourself you can go to the restroom and do it you can do it in the elevator on the way up or around the corner expanding your body saying your speech or a few lines to yourself using the slow and low tones and because that's how you want to show up and by doing that preparation it changes you inside and it will carry over into the meeting and that sets you up for success you can start that before you leave the house so I have a couple of playlists that are like ultimate epic movie soundtracks that are the important themes from superhero movies and I start listening to that and I know what's going on I know I am tricking myself and it still works every time and I laugh at myself noticing that it's working and then I really feel the emotions and so today I had a lecture before I came in on the car I was listening to that music and behind the scenes backstage before I stepped out onto the stage I had the music on and I raised my arms I'm in the back of the greenroom nobody's around and even if they are I don't care but using all those techniques to get my body ready to think about how good it's going to go and then I walk onstage very confident full of the way I want to show once you know if you're aware enough to notice it's going on in you you are aware enough to then make a change and if it's going poorly almost any change you make will make it better if you notice that you're babbling a little and you're going on too much you're talking too fast well as soon as you do stop and take a pause take a breath get a drink of water even say just a second I want to check my notes on this before I continue and make them wait and it gives you a chance to breathe and to stop and to reset so you can do that at any point from boardrooms to audiences in theaters they all are the same there's a piece of them that will allow for you to be a human being and just show up in that way and even in that aggressive negotiation meeting with someone they'll allow for you to show up and stop and pause and recover it will not stop the meeting it feels that way sometimes but I think you can always stop and reset if I just start smiling a little more you're going to start smiling and we're going to start mirroring back and forth and if I stop doing it it will pull you a little that way you can watch in any room the wave of crossed legs and uncross legs happen as we all get in sync in resonance so we are always at reacting to each other and the reality is we're all improvising our days that's why it's also a really useful tool because nobody gets up and gets a script well actors do but nobody gives a script for their day we are all making it up all the time we are all reacting to everything that's going on I think what we're talking about in the work that I do is being more aware of it being more comfortable to make more choices reading the room and making choices about how we want to react when it's important when it's meaningful when we want to do it in surface of others

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