Ready to be a better leader than the one who walked in the door this morning?
Let’s go from head to toe, stem to stern, with your nine point leadership tune-up.
1. Your voice: Chances are you’re not entirely aware of the vocal patterns that define you and register in people’s minds when you speak. For one week, use your smartphone to record some random thoughts at the end of each day. Listen closely to your recordings and note any negative speech patterns or inflections that may be working against you.
2. Your style: No one knows quite how to feel about the boss who dresses completely unlike everyone else. There may be better ways to stand out at work. A safe bet is to follow the crowd while adding a single memorable flourish. A unique accessory, a statement bag, a stylish notebook, an eye-catching watch—these are the details that set you apart.
3. Your sign-off: Ditch the clever tagline you append to your email signature. Those you interact with frequently are sick of seeing it; others may think you’re trying too hard.
4. Your show: Don’t serve as a weak servant to your PowerPoint slides. Consider a new approach: don’t bring in any visuals whatsoever until you’re at least 20% into a presentation. Remember that you’re the main attraction, not words and graphics on a screen.
5. Your schmooze: If you tend to huddle with your own colleagues at industry events, it’s time to build some connections. Come prepared with a simple opening line that demands a bit of detail so that the conversation flows immediately. Try “I’m curious… what prompted you to come to this seminar/ luncheon/cocktail party?” and follow up with “And are you feeling good about your decision so far?” Keep the tone light and humorous and be prepared to respond in kind.
6. Your authenticity: Always have a failure story in your back pocket to inspire and amuse. A true tale of personal or professional misadventure lends you humility, displays a sense of humour, tells people you learn from your mistakes, and exudes honesty.
7. Your presence: Putting your cell phone down when you enter a meeting will instantly make you more present, more aware and more engaged. Show the group you’re ready to focus on the matter at hand, not falling behind on your emails.
8. Your walk: If you’re in the habit of racing around the office, looking stressed, try slowing down to a more confident stroll. A relaxed stride and a genuine smile instantly makes you look more in control… like all your fires have been put out and you’re on top of your game.
9. Your image: Think how many times people see your professional head shot online. Take a minute to review it now. Is it up to date? Does the pose look natural… or forced? Do you look like someone who’s authentic, modern and in the driver’s seat?
Adapted from Business Management Daily. Reprinted with permission.