"Leadership Presence is the ability to show up in a manner that creates more space and connection, inspires one to follow you because they want to (versus have to), and invites authentic presence in others. A solid leadership presence creates impact without saying a word, evokes courage to engage, empowers others to lead, creates safety in connection, and leaves others feeling better, clearer, and even more intentional themselves — just by being in your presence — all via the simple art of intention and being.
Your leadership presence is yours for the designing.
It can be cultivated, strengthened, and expanded.
It can be positive or negative.
And it is all contagious.”
Leadership & Culture Advisor
Creator of Intentional Energetic Presence® and The IEP Method®
Author of Contagious Culture, Contagious You, and The Leader You Will Be
I’ve been working with human beings who want to have more impact, perform better, create stellar results, and feel good doing it all for as long as I can remember. Whether working with athletes to be better in their sport, employees and executives when I led health and productivity programs in corporations and at retreat centers, in healthcare systems working with patients and doctors and staff to show up better and work together more effectively, or more recently in the past sixteen plus years working with business leaders and organizations in multiple industries — from tech to law enforcement to design — to create a better experience, to be more effective, to cultivate a positively contagious culture, to make cooler things, and to serve in bigger ways — I’ve found we magnificent humans have a couple of big things in common. And I’ve also found there are three essential principles we can hold in the exploration of creating impact, cultivating safety and authenticity, and having a solid and inspiring leadership presence.
Principle 1: Our presence is our impact.
People often think that leadership is about our skills, our credentials, and what we do — yes, these are all important. AND, people respond to who we be, how we show up, and how we make them feel. It’s the soft stuff, the intangibles that often create the greatest impact. You may know people like this, they may be brilliant, well credentialed, crushing it with their results — but they’re burnt out, leave dead bodies behind, suck the energy out of the room with their very presence, and leave you tired (or on guard), just for being next to them. Just as you likely know people who walk into a room and the atmosphere shifts for the better, or people who sit with you in conversation if only for one minute and you feel more inspired, clear, and seen just for being in their presence, or those who command presence and create safety by just being in a room. For these people, their skills and leadership prowess is lovely, however, how they impact people — creating expansion or contraction, responsiveness or resistance, and safety and inspiration or fear and carefulness — is what truly creates their impact. At least the kind of impact that unlocks (or locks up) one's greatest creativity, contribution, and devotion.
How do these magical leaders with phenomenal life giving presence create this impact? Well, this brings me to number two…
Principle 2: Our intentions, energy, and presence drive our presence and impact.
At the core of a solid leadership presence, like food coloring in water (you cannot take it out, it colors everything), are a person’s intentions, their energy, and their presence, or what I call their IEP. I look at IEP in two ways, first, it’s our Intentional Energetic Presence®, being intentional about the energetic presence I bring to everything I do. Second, it’s taking these three words apart that strengthen our IEP, 1) our intention, which is what I want to have happen, what and who I’m in service of, the experience I want to create. This is cultivated by getting quiet and clear in the moment about what I truly want to create. Next, 2) our energy, which is the energy and stamina I personally have to create my impact and show up, and being responsible for the energy I bring to everything I do. This is cultivated by exquisite self-care, awareness, and intent (there’s that intention again!) And finally, 3) our presence, which is about how I show up in that moment, physically, energetically, attention wise, intention wise, and PRESENT. There. Now. This is cultivated by the practice of presence; noticing how I’m showing up, noticing how present I am (or not) in each moment, being present to my life and this person now, and now, and now.
These three things together practiced with intention and care are what help us create a stronger Intentional Energetic Presence, a more inspiring and life-giving leadership presence, and ultimately unlock our ability to create more influence and impact in all we do. All three things in my experience are required for the most easeful, authentic, and effective presence, and when they are rooted in a clean intention, their power is amplified. What is a clean intention? Well, that brings me to number three…
Principle 3: The intention of service, connection, love, and being on purpose is our quickest pathway to having a solid presence and creating great impact.
Let’s play… Take a breath right now and consider something you’re working on making happen in your life. Perhaps it’s been challenging to this point. Maybe frustrating even. It could be a goal, a relationship, or an initiative you’re working on in your organization. Now, take another breath and consider your presence in trying to create this. Truthfully. (No one’s looking, this is for you.) Is your presence expansive, open, and life-giving, or is it contracted, forceful, and soul-sucking? Does it create an invitation? Or resistance? Does it feel good? Are your motivations clean and clear? Is the energy you’re bringing to this “clean?” (If your motivations are not clean or clear, your energy is not either. I promise.) Great. Breathe again. Sit with the quality of your presence. If you’ve taken these queries to heart, you now have golden information. Awareness is 70% of the battle, 30% is what you choose to do with it.
So, now… breathe again and consider, what IS your intention for creating this? What and who does it impact? Is there a positive intent here? (By the way, it’s okay if not, hello human being!, AND this maybe part of why you’re having a hard time creating impact or having influence.) Keep exploring. What is what you want to create in service of? Is it just about you; looking good, getting something you want, getting that promotion, covering your booty, making someone else wrong? Or is it about service, connection, creating a positive impact, honoring purpose, helping things go well, and creating something bigger than you? Just notice. Your intentions and “come from” will determine your presence, your actions, and your results.
I guarantee you, you’ve had the experience of being both on the giving and receiving end of an unclean or unclear intention; you felt it. You may not have known exactly WHAT it was, and I promise, you felt it. Just as you’ve been on the giving and receiving end of pure, clean, clear, and positive intent — you felt that too. And you likely had a lovely exchange and impact. THIS is energetic presence. Coloring your energetic presence are your intentions. Your wellbeing being solid and energized will help you stay clear on intentions. And your presence supports it all. It’s a huge mobius strip of impact — everything impacts everything. And it all starts with you. (Yay! Freedom, you control you!)
Here’s the thing, in the land of leadership and impact, whatever you want to create or influence — if you truly want it to happen, you’ll want to get clear on your intentions for why, the energy you’re bringing to it, and how you’re showing up in it. You’ll also want to be incredibly present to your motives and who they impact, and here’s the magic sauce — if you can get present to the intention of service, love, connection, and purpose you’ll have a whole new field of possibility on how to show up to make it happen. If what you want to create is with clean intent, and in service of love, connection, and purpose — the energy will shift. Your presence will shift. People will follow.
Clarity is power. Clarity of intention, clean energy, and a grounded congruent presence to go with it all — is magic.
Happy exploring. Here is to your big beautiful grounded impact and to all of us learning together and doing good in the world.