Leadership Presence (HBR Emotional Intelligence Series): A book review by Bob Morris

Leadership Presence (HBR Emotional Intelligence Series)
Various Contributors
Harvard Business Review Press

“We convince by our presence.” Walt Whitman

HBR Press has a series of anthologies (nine volumes thus far) of articles in which contributors offer proven research that shows how our emotions impact our work lives, practical advice for managing difficult people and situations, and inspiring essays on what it means to tend to our emotional well-being at work. Uplifting and practical, these books describe the social skills that are critical for ambitious professionals to master.

If you were to purchase reprints of the six articles in this volume separately, the total cost would be $53.70. Amazon now sells the volume for only $13.23.

Here is a brief excerpt from each of the articles:

From Deconstructing Executive Presence

“Most important, find your voice as an executive: that is, identify your assets and leverage them to the hilt. Some people are naturally gregarious and can fill a room with their personality. Others, like Lydia Taylor, rely on their listening ability, sense of timing, and ability to maintain their composure when others get emotional. In an increasingly diverse world, executive presence will look very different from one executive to another. However, the constant is building the confidence of others that you can step up as a leader when times get tough.”

John Beeson is a principal of Beeson Consulting. Here is a direct link to the complete HBR article.

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From How New Managers Can Send the Right Leadership Signals

“Becoming a new manager is an important leadership passage in your career. Step back and think about your leadership presence and if you are thinking, saying, and showing up as you most hope to and intend. Set a values-based leadership goal, increase your emotional intelligence and situational awareness, be direct with respect, and find strategies to maintain and sustain a stable and grounded presence. It’s easy in our humbleness to underestimate the impact we have on other’s lives as managers.”

Amy Jen SU is a cofounder and managing partner of Paravis Partners. Here is a direct link to complete HBR article.

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From Think About What You Say, and How and When You Say It

“Stay calm in the pressure cooker. People with an effective executive voice aren’t easily rattled. Can you provide levelheaded leadership even when — in fact, particularly when — everyone around you is losing their composure? When you can stick with facts instead of getting swept into an emotional tailspin no matter how stressed you feel, you’ll be able to lead with a more powerful executive voice..”

Rebecca Shambaugh is an internationally recognized leadership expert, author, and keynote speaker. Here is a direct link to complete HBR article.

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From Connect, Then Lead

“A growing body of research suggests that the way to influence—and to lead—is to begin with warmth. Warmth is the conduit of influence: It facilitates trust and the communication and absorption of ideas. Even a few small nonverbal signals—a nod, a smile, an open gesture—can show people that you’re pleased to be in their company and attentive to their concerns. Prioritizing warmth helps you connect immediately with those around you, demonstrating that you hear them, understand them, and can be trusted by them..”

Amy J.C. Cuddy is a former associate oprofessor of business adminsitration at Harvard Business School. Matthew Kohut and John Neffinger are the coauthors of Compelling People: The Hidden Qualities That Make Us Influential. Here is a direct link to complete HBR article.

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From The Power of Talk: Who Gets Heard and Why. “Although no single solution will fit all contexts, managers who understand the dynamics of linguistic style can develop more adaptive and flexible approaches to running or participating in meetings, mentoring or advancing the careers of others, evaluating performance, and so on. Talk is the lifeblood of managerial work, and understanding that different people have different ways of saying what they mean will make it possible to take advantage of the talents of people with a broad range of linguistic styles. As the workplace becomes more culturally diverse and business becomes more global, managers will need to become even better at reading interactions and more flexible in adjusting their own styles to the people with whom they interact.”

Deborah Tannen is University Professor and a professor of Linguistics at Georgetown University and the author of 15 books. Here is a direct link to the complete HBR article.

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From Too Much Charisma Can Make Some Leaders Less Effective. “In sum, we found support for the idea that a leader can be too charismatic. Our findings suggest that highly charismatic leaders are perceived to be less effective, not for interpersonal reasons like self-centeredness but for business-related reasons that specifically relate to a lack of operational leader behavior.

“We do want to point out that we didn’t include situational factors in our study, which could influence the strength and shape of the relationship between leader charisma and effectiveness. Under certain conditions, such as in low-stress situations, this relationship may be strictly linear (“the more charisma the better”). However, we believe that high-stress and high-pressure situations are rather typical for a “normal” leadership context, enhancing the likelihood of finding a too-much-of-a-good-thing effect. Additional studies will be important to further investigate the specific conditions under which charisma is desirable or not.”

Jasmine Vergauwe is a PhD candidate at the Department of Developmental, Personality, and Social Psychology at Ghent University. Here is a direct link to complete HBR article.

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This collection of HBR articles is a “must read” for any executive who wishes to accelerate their personal growth and professional development.


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