Leadership Presence

Everyone knows the old joke “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?  Practice, practice, practice!” For those of us at “Producing Your Career,” that’s the hallmark of what we do in our work with corporations and individuals.  We show how the right practice, preparation and “production” will help you reap extraordinary benefits in your career.

This post is about Leadership Presence—who has it and how to get it!  We were very struck by the fact that all the people we spoke with for this month’s issue of PYC said very similar things about the issue of leadership presence—but with different twists.

Rik Kopelan

Rolfe (“Rik”) Kopelan is the Founder and Managing Partner of the Capstone Partnership, a leading provider of Executive Search and Talent Management Services. Rik spoke with us about a topic that, unfortunately, many people don’t spend enough time thinking about—what if you’re long on IQ but short on GQ?  Click the button below to listen.

(Interview length: approximately 12 minutes)

On one side, your GQ is your ability to, in a business sense, express yourself effectively: i.e., to speak to the point, be articulate, be succinct, to cut through the clutter.  The other side is the impact of your presence, composure, and confidence.  It’s also how you speak – do you articulate well, at an appropriate level and tone, are you energized, believeable, impactful, compelling?

Based on Capstone Partnership’s more than 40 years as executive search consultants, Rik said they have identified 14 “Attributes for Leadership” that identify future leaders and executives  capable of moving into leadership roles:

  • Intellect: Possesses intellectual bandwidth, critical thinking and sound judgment
  • Ambition: Aspires to, and works toward, a high level of success
  • Impact: Has stature, presence and charisma; impacts and influences people to achieve results in complex organizations
  • Strategy: Thinks strategically and can anticipate the impact of future actions
  • Values: Demonstrates ethics and unassailable values, such as honesty and integrity
  • Development: supports personal and professional growth and builds effective teams
  • Inclusiveness: Creates an inclusive environment; leverages differences in style and capitalizes on diversity
  • Determination: Exhibits resiliency, energy and commitment; is able to make the tough calls
  • Communication: Delivers clear and convincing messages and employs effective listening skills
  • Adaptability: Adjusts easily to new circumstances; drives and manages change
  • Motivation: Generates enthusiasm, energy and a desire to succeed in others
  • Risk: acts decisively and with courage; is willing to go against the grain and is comfortable taking risks
  • Ambiguity: Deals confidently with unclear or changing situations; comfortable with shades of gray
  • Emotional intelligence: Possesses self-awareness, employs self-regulation and shows empathy

Bonnie St. John

An author, inspirational speaker, and executive coach, Bonnie St. John was the first African-American to win Olympic medals in ski racing, winning a silver and two bronze medals in the 1984 Paralympics in Innsbruck, Austria. She graduated with honors from Harvard University; won a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford; was appointed to the White House National Economic Council; and is one of the most highly sought-after keynote speakers in the country.

Recently we talked with Bonnie—the genuine article!—about the book she’s currently working on with her 15-year-old daughter about how strong women lead.  Bonnie shared what Hillary Clinton and Condoleeza Rice experienced first-hand and what she learned about their leadership presence.  Click the button below to listen to what she had to say.

(Interview length: approximately 9 minutes)

According to Bonnie, the three most important aspects of leadership presence are:

  • What you say — Have conversations with people ahead of time to know what’s on their mind so that you’re not surprised by what you hear in meetings.
  • How you say it – How you look, how you stand, what gestures you use, plus a good haircut (and, for women, good make-up) are all important.  Look around in your culture and take your cues from people you want to emulate.
  • Where you say it – Be intensely present in the moment with people to whom you’re speaking. Treating people like they are the only person that exists at that moment gives you magnetism, authority, and makes people want to follow you.

Rikki Klieman

Rikki Klieman has found success in multiple fields, including the courtroom, academia, television journalism and public speaking. She has been an Anchor at Court TV (now Tru TV “In Session”), a Legal Analyst for the CBS Early Show, the NBC Today Show and the E! Network, and has inspired the lives of others with her autobiography, “Fairy Tales Can Come True – How a Driven Woman Changed Her Destiny.”

When Rikki spoke with us recently, she was clear about something that we at PYC believe, too—if your image is not congruent with the person you think you are—you will not get ahead.  The way people perceive you and the way you perceive yourself need to be in sync. To see what image you communicate, Rikki suggests that you study yourself in a full-length mirror for twenty minutes.  What do you see?  Click the button below to listen to Rikki explain why this is so important.

(Interview length: approximately 7 minutes)


To Anh Tran

This month we are very excited to spotlight a woman who has “produced her career” with great thought, intelligence, and foresight—To Anh Tran, Senior Vice President, Business Transformation & Technology for DundeeWealth Inc. Twenty-five years ago when she started her career, To Anh didn’t know that every woman needed to find a good mentor to climb the corporate ladder.  So she decided to manage her career as a business and consider herself the “product.”  She assessed what it would take to be successful and move on to new positions.  Her strategy?  To stay in her first job for five years and then move out of her comfort zone.

But for today’s graduates, To Anh feels differently—that staying in your first job for five years is too long. She believes you should remain in your first job for only three years because the economy and culture of loyalty have changed.  When we asked To Anh her strategies for “producing” her career today, she reinforced the fact that you need to keep nurturing the “product”:

  • Keep up-to-date regarding the market
  • Learn and adjust to new things
  • Market yourself in the industry
  • Have your own management style

And key to it all, according to To Anh is to network, network, network. Often, who you know is more important than what you do.

Finally, we’ve just returned from Montreal (what an amazing city!) where we produced a day-long learning lab called “The Art of Creating Your Command Performance” for members of the Association des femmes en finance du Québec (AFFQ). Nathalie Patenaude of Patenaude, Webster & Associates said about these two back-to-back packed sessions, “You offered new, creative and practical tools that will serve me well each and every day.  Your approach teaches the creativity required to excel.”  For those of you who would like more information about this program and the others we produce, please e-mail Katherine@bedlamentertainment.com.

Next time:  Personal Branding…or how to step away from the pack.

See you then,
The Team at “Producing Your Career”

Producing Your Career is a division of Bedlam Productions Inc.


Categories: Leadership, Leadership Presence


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