Projecting Leadership in 2013: A Communications Challenge
We would bet that a New Year's resolution for any senior executive is to be a better leader in 2013. A recent survey by the Center for Talent Innovation provides some hard research that the measure of leadership is more than the results from on-the-job performance – it's also the appearance of leadership, or what can be called "Executive Presence."
The survey confirmed that strong communication ability is what Winston Churchill called the Language of Leadership. The study also reinforced that appearance and stature (what the study called "gravitas") are as important to the perception of leadership as the ability to speak well and convincingly. It also found that woman and minorities feel they are held to a stricter standard of leadership skills than their Caucasian counterparts because they struggle to blend their gender and cultural traits with the need to assimilate. The study encompassed 18 focus groups, 4,000 college degree professionals and 268 senior executives.
At CommCore we remind our clients that there are three essential elements that have to be considered equally and simultaneously in effective communication: The Message, the Audience, and You (the Speaker/Leader). The "You" includes both visual and auditory impressions -- voice, tone, pace, pauses, eye contact, gestures, posture, dress and…listening.
Last year CommCore CEO Andrew Gilman helped Chief Executive Magazine compile a list of eight management styles that can get in the way of superior CEO performance and one’s perception as an effective leaders. Having the self-awareness and confidence to work one’s weaknesses is in itself a mark of strong leadership, says Gilman: "Too many CEOs are surrounded by supporters who don't give candid advice. The best CEOs know their strengths and try to shore up their weaknesses."
Our blogs for 2013 will cover many topics – leadership will one of the key themes.