Sunday, January 27, 2013

The "Buzz" About Leadership

At a recent presentation I made in Orange County, a woman asked about the importance of charisma in leadership.  She thought I had sort of an automatic advantage because of my height and size (6'4" and 240 lbs).  To some extent, she's onto something.  Research suggests that when it comes to communication, words only account for 7% of the conveyed message, while 38% is manner, tone, and voice, and the remaining 55% are the accompanying non-verbals, body language, etc. 

So yes, we inspire and motivate people to action through the power of ideas, i.e. what we say, but apparently even more so with how we say it and how we connect with others.  What can we take away from this? 

1.  If email is your preferred communication style, then be sure that much of the message can be / will be lost.  Even if you use ALL CAPS for voice and tone, the lack of non-verbals makes it difficult to ensure that the message is received the way you intended.  Face to face is always best.

2.  If you have a strong message and are frustrated with why it doesn't seem to resonate with others, perhaps you need to work on the other 93%!  Take a communication class or join a group like Toastmasters to improve how you say what you say.

3.  Consistency matters.  To me, charisma is not just smooth talk, but rather alignment between what you say, what you do, and how you say it.  In other words, try saying a positive message, with strong tone and voice, but your hands in your pockets and head down, staring at your shoes.  The message will still be lost.  Charisma is gained by those who can leverage words, tone, and body language together.  Charisma in leadership is leveraged by those whose actions align with their words, compelling people to action.  You want a positive, inspirational message?  Be positive and inspirational!  You want people to be motivated to bold, aggressive action?  Be motivated, bold, and aggressive!  In other words, make sure people see your action.

So now, an insider secret.  Take a look at the little blue guy at the top of this article, inspiring and rallying his troops.  He is leveraging a scientific formula that I read about this month.  It seems that the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business found that there was something we (okay...mostly men) can do to appear more dominant, confident and masculine -- as well as appear 4 years older, 1 inch taller, and 13% stronger.  All good things.  What is it?

Yep.  Just like the blue guy!  A shaved head apparently communicates the non-verbal communication of confidence.  You see, I'm really only 5'9" and 160 pounds.  I just look bigger now that I have given up fighting my cursed genetics.  Thanks Mom!  Interestingly, the same study also found that men with shaved heads were thought to be considerably less attractive.  I choose to ignore that part and attribute it to bad data.  Haha!

Okay, so this particular technique may only help half our readership here!  But for all of us, the importance of aligning what we say with how we say it and how we live it is absolutely vital.  If we want those we lead to have confidence in us, we need to have confidence in ourselves.  Speak with passion.  Look people in the eye.  Be strong.  Apparently it is not the fancy words that inspire people to follow.  It's conviction about purpose and communicating that from every pore!  It's just that for some of us, like the bald blue man...those pores are a little less...encumbered!


Communication with purpose is one of the elements of the "Leadership Excellence Course & Executive Coaching" programs that I lead through Academy Leadership.  These programs in Southern California are highly impactful, action-oriented, small-group sessions targeting leaders and project managers.  PMPs receive 36 PDUs for completion.

Upcoming sessions in Southern California for 2013 include:

12-14 March        San Diego
2-4 April              Orange County (Irvine)
7-9 May               Los Angeles
11-13 June           San Diego
25-27 June           Orange County (Irvine)
9-11 September    Los Angeles
7-9 October          San Diego
4-6 November      San Diego
9-11 December    Orange County (Irvine)

To get a brochure for this program, go hereContact me for any questions, group rates, or discount codes!  I'd love to see you in these programs.

I'll bring the clippers!

That's Leader Business!

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