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Leadership:Personal Impact

What is leadership presence?

Think of a leader, any leader. Do they have presence? What is it you recognise in their behaviour, which communicates presence?

Think of someone who has led you in business. Do they have presence? Do the same behaviour patterns come up as in the first example or are they different?

“What is leadership presence?” One of the questions I’m asked most frequently on our leadership programmes. Quickly followed by: “Can I develop leadership presence?”

 At Corporate Drama we specialise in developing authentic leadership presence. Our approach is the antithesis of a one-size-fits-all solution. And yet there are some basic principles we can share with you now.

When you think of leadership communication in any form I’d like you to focus on these components:

  • The words
  • The tone or para-verbal
  • The body-language
  • The intent
  • The energy


1. Clarity of your leadership brand

What’s your leadership promise? What shows-up when you do? How will people experience you? What is your communication signature that everyone will recognise? How will people be thinking and feeling about you?

Remember Meryl Streep’s character in ‘The Devil Wears Prada’. What was her leadership brand? What do you think people said privately about her after she left a meeting? How were they left thinking and feeling?

Another way to develop leadership brand is to be clear on your values. What is it you stand for and represent as a leader in your organisation? What core principles guide and motivate you? How do these values show-up in your day-to-day communication?


2. Being fully in the leadership moment

How focused are you as a leader? The 21st Century has given us many things, technological advances beyond our dreams, ways of communicating messages our grandparents would have considered science fiction. We are blessed, or are we?

There has never been so much communication noise as there is now. We are constantly bombarded, distracted. Our concentration is broken by the ‘ping’ of a text or email or chat message. 24/7/365.

How then as an authentic leader with a clear brand and vision do you maximise your presence? How do you maintain your leadership focus and stay in the moment? How do you keep a standard of communication and behaviour to inspire others?

We recommend developing a mindfulness practice. The ability to train your brain to minimise distraction and focus with heightened concentration. It’s also great for relaxation and for centering the breathing, both core elements for actors when developing their stage presence.

Our experiential leadership programmes regularly feature an introduction to mindfulness.


3. Congruence of leadership communication

Have you come across this popular communication model?

When we communicate our interpersonal message is made up of 7% words, 38% tone, 55% body language. It’s a very popular model and it’s 100% wrong or rather the explanation of the model is 100% wrong.

The model is the work of respected Psychologist Professor Albert Mehrabian. In the 1950s and 60s he pioneered research into face-to-face communication. His results are still valid today, if interpreted correctly.

The percentages relate to INCONGRUENT communication. Those moments when your reaction to someone’s message is typically:

  • I don’t believe you, you’re not at all convincing
  • You’re saying one thing, yet clearly meaning something else
  • Something’s fishy here, can’t quite put my finger on what exactly
  • You’ve clearly lied to me

Professor Mehrabian’s research is confirming that we pick up incongruent communication principally though body language, then tone and lastly words.

Why is this research relevant for leadership presence? You maybe clear on your leadership brand and values, yet are these being clearly received by your people? Or are they getting a very different message? We help leaders practice and perfect their optimum, authentic communication style. One, which guarantees your brand promise lands as you intend it to and in any conversation, no matter how challenging.


4. Developing your leadership Emotional Intelligence (EQ)

“For leaders, the first task in management has nothing to do with leading others; step one poses the challenge of knowing and managing oneself”
Daniel Goleman – Working with Emotional Intelligence

Daniel Goleman adds:
“Emotional Intelligence, or literacy is a set of skills we can develop, including the ability to read, understand, and respond appropriately to one’s own emotions and the emotions of others”

 Without doubt, emotional intelligence (EQ) is a cornerstone of our experiential learning methodology. This is where the concepts of personal brand, leadership values, communication-style and motivation all blend. This is how we help leaders develop their authentic leadership presence.

Always unique and individual; we help you develop EQ awareness and confidence through our experiential learning methodology, practice and feedback.


5. Listening at a higher level

As a dynamic leader are you listening to understand or simply to respond? Or are you waiting for the other person to draw breath to forcefully make your point? Known as ‘gap searching’.

The type of listening we’re referring to is in addition to ‘active listening’ – where you are able to question the other person specifically on what they have just said, or to summarize back what they’ve just said. This is listening at a higher level.

So what might you be listening for at this higher level?

What’s not overtly being said. In other words the emotional state of the other person. Sounds familiar? Of course this is one of the techniques we explore when deploying your leadership EQ. How do you confidently put this into practice in a way, which feels genuine and authentic? That’s where Corporate Drama can help with our experiential leadership development programme.


6. Enquire or Advocacy?

Are you spending most of your ‘airtime’ telling your people what to do, when to do it and even how to do it? Or are you consulting with them; asking for their opinion, plans and objectives?

Too much enquiry and your conversations feel like interrogations. Too much advocacy and your conversations take on a lecture style.

Intent based leadership switches the traditional command and control leader role to one of consultant. Initially it can feel counter-intuitive, yet the empowerment (within defined limits) it brings to your direct reports can spark moments of pure creativity, which, in turn can bring about spectacular results.

Here at Corporate Drama we develop authentic leaders, managers and teams. Our programmes re-energise, re-focus and re-engage your people. We dramatically transform workplace training leaving a measurable, visible impact throughout your entire organisation.

How can we help you and your people?

Or call 07976 720265

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