As the Marine band plays Hail to the Chief,\n\nthe President strides into the room and everyone in attendance stands\n\nand claps. It is part of the pomp and circumstance of our President as\n\nHead of State. \n\n\n\n\n\nRichard Nixon reveled in the pomp; Jimmy Carter did not. Both Ronald\n\nReagan and Bill Clinton used it wisely as does their successor, George\n\nW. Bush. While there is theatricality to the moment, there is something\n\nmore profound \u2013 leadership presence.\n\n\n\n\n\nThose of us who are not President but aspire to leadership can learn\n\nmuch from national leaders when it comes to exuding command bearing.\n\nThe archetype may be the ceremonial entrance just described, but the\n\ngenuine expression of such presence occurs wherever the leader goes.\n\nThere is an aura about the leader that perks our interest and makes us\n\nwant to pay attention. \n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n Reason to Believe\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\nLeadership presence is a necessary attribute of leadership. You can\n\ndefine it as the presence of authority imbued with a reason to believe.\n\nWhat matters to us most is authenticity. That cannot be faked, but it\n\ncan be amplified. \n\n\n\n\n\nWhile leaders project it, followers authorize it with their approval.\n\nJust as leadership is a reflection of earned authority, leadership\n\npresence, which enhances the leadership moment, is derived from the\n\nsupport of others. It cannot be assumed through birth or heritage,\n\nthough many kings and queens have acted as if they have it and don\u2019t. \n\n\n\nLeadership presence is a form of communications and as such can be taught and put into practice. Here are some suggestions.\n\n\n\nProject authority. One of the memorable Seinfeld\n\nepisodes featured the ever striving, but ever-lazy George Costanza\n\nleaving meetings or conversations with a joke or a good quip. He was\n\nfollowing the old showbiz adage of always leaving on a high note. While\n\nentertainers play for laughs, leaders can emulate the example of\n\nleaving on a high note. Many executive presenters save a favorite story\n\nfor last, one that leaves people with a sense of who you are. Such\n\nstories do not come out of thin air. They are practiced, polished and\n\ndropped in to give emphasis to your point of view. Often such stories\n\nare not about the leader at all, but rather about the company or its\n\npeople even customers. Such stories reflect on the contributions of\n\npeople toward the enterprise.\n\nTune into the organization. In our fast paced work\n\nenvironment, there may be no more overlooked aspect of communication\n\nthan listening. Most good leaders are keen listeners. Their rise to\n\nleadership was a result of their ability to glean ideas from others and\n\nmeld them with their own; that process begins with listening. As\n\nmanagers, these leaders have learned to value what people say.\n\nListening provides an insight into what is going on in the\n\norganization: it is an ongoing status report of activity. Good\n\nlisteners also hold people accountable for what they promise to do. And\n\nif they don\u2019t do it, the leader follows up with questions. Listening\n\nextends the leadership presence because it demonstrates concern for\n\npeople as well as a monitoring of what must be done.\n\nAppreciate the efforts of others. Many middle school\n\nkids have had to sit through music appreciation classes. While the\n\npieces of music ranging from the classical to the contemporary are\n\ntimeless, their presentation leaves kids twisting in their seats. And\n\nso it is with many managers. They take the contributions of their\n\npeople for granted; they assume people will do their jobs. It is true\n\nyou don\u2019t get a medal by showing up but all of us crave some\n\nrecognition for our efforts. Those bosses who do show appreciation for\n\ntheir people are examples of people who know what people do and how\n\nthey do it. These bosses promote their shining stars. They put these\n\nstars into positions where they can teach other employees, and help\n\nstrengthen the capabilities of individuals and teams.\n\nHone your presence. Communication is a holistic\n\nprocess but it is also very tactical. Therefore, when you want to exert\n\nleadership presence be specific. For example, think before you speak.\n\nClarify your messages to make them clear and coherent. Develop\n\n\u201celevator talks\u201d for key subjects. On the other hand, acknowledge other\n\npeople by name. Make conversation about what they are doing or plan to\n\ndo. So much of leadership is not about you; it\u2019s about the other\n\nperson. Reflect on that concept and find ways to practice putting\n\nothers first. And when you do, they will respond in kind; they will\n\nexert more autonomy and authority. That frees you to enjoy one of\n\nleadership\u2019s most rewarding aspects \u2013 time for yourself that you can\n\nuse to reflect, think and plan. \n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n Presence is Earned\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\nLeadership presence does not come automatically with rank. While many\n\nCEOs and generals may hold heavy titles and their presence may seem\n\nlofty, the proof of their leadership is what they accomplish. People\n\nget put into positions and often don\u2019t succeed.\n\n\n\n\n\nLaurence Peter documented that phenomenon a generation ago with the\n\nPeter Principle. Such failures often stem from a lack of leadership\n\npresence. These managers fail to build rapport with their people. They\n\nassume it is their way or the highway and do not accept the counsel or\n\nopinions of others. Carly Fiorina, late of H-P, is one example and so\n\ntoo is Phillip Purcell, the recently deposed chief of Morgan Stanley.\n\nBoth held big titles but came to ruin as a result of unmitigated ego\n\nand failure to build coalitions rooted in trust rather than rank.\n\nOne of the most convincing forms of presence is the silence that occurs\n\nbetween leader and follower. No pomp. No circumstance. Just being\n\nthere. This leadership presence occurs on the factory floor when a new\n\nhire is schooled by a veteran. You find it on the battlefield in the\n\nquiet moments between officers and their troops. And you find it in\n\nboardrooms when the CEO has the support of her team. No words are\n\nspoken. There is a quiet sense of trust that has developed among all\n\nparties. But here\u2019s the key point. While trust is a reciprocal act\n\nbetween leader and follower, it starts with the leader. He must trust\n\nhis followers by giving them a stake in the enterprise as decision\n\nmakers and contributors. Followers repay that trust by demonstrating\n\ntheir faith in the leader. That trust contributes to leadership\n\npresence in its most pure form and it is something to which all leaders\n\ncan aspire.