There are those people who are put in charge of companies and given the title of President or CEO. In an entrepreneur world, often the President and CEO is in a self appointed position, not earned in the school of hard knocks, which obviously may present a problem or two. This overreaching may be because the entrepreneur gave themselves the big ole title without knowing how to fulfill the important roll as the head of their company.
Unfortunately, very few business leaders have a genuine presence that everyone wants to follow willingly.
However, if leadership is thrust upon a person and they are willing to do the work it takes to be the type of presence that is needed in leading their company - and they want to develop a great team, here are eight ways that you can stand out:
1. Work on your conversation skills.
The way you talk and especially the way you listen to people can shape that presence. With a relaxed and inviting way to how you speak to people, the ability to smile and make eye contact while listening, and your body language, you will be able to put people at ease. This type of conversation style can also make the employee or customer feel better about themselves and also make them comfortable to open up and share more ideas or feedback that will help you as a leader to make decisions.
2. Stick to your word.
With the need for authenticity and trust building, it’s important to do what you say you will do. It’s easy to mean to do what you say and then be pulled away from all the crazy things that hit us all day where we get swamped and lost in the shuffle. However, by staying diligent with your word, rather than over promising, you can keep your word and be a real standout in a world where people talk the talk but don’t necessarily do the walk. Keeping a handle on your schedule also helps you have that presence of a leader who sticks to their word. So that you will not over promise - don't over schedule.
3. Develop character and strength.
Leaders stand out for their individual personalities or character - and this makes them memorable and interesting to others. Much of this character comes directly from your inner core - made up of values, beliefs, and what you stand for. Character really comes from the small decisions you make everyday. It’s not about what you wear but what you exude from the inside. This is not about being eccentric or strange either; it’s just being yourself and letting those individual qualities shine so people see who you really are.
4. Stay positive.
When so many leaders get called out for their rough leadership style and gain a reputation for yelling or frowning, you can be a real standout with a positive demeanor, including always smiling and taking the time to point out the good things that people are doing. Start watching all of the extra things your people are doing for their job - including how they encourage others. Take time to notice and thank these jewels on your team. You can also help build moral this way when your company may be experiencing challenging times by maintaining that positive vibe and helping others see the good things to focus on to get through it.
5. Exude warmth.
Beyond just being friendly, warmth is a presence that you give off that shows a sense of genuineness to the friendly words you deliver or the interest you take when someone on your team is talking to you. It’s also the idea that you can be more approachable and be able to engage with your staff in a way that has them happily doing what you ask of them. Part of warmth you can spread around your team takes asking about the other person, including questions about them or if they need help.
6. Use humor.
While staying within the realm of the professional, use humor to help make people comfortable around you and lighten the mood in the office. There’s too much stress nowadays in the work environment that eats away at creativity and productivity. Instead, keeping the energy and mood light-hearted helps the mood of the entire organization feel less like work and makes you a standout CEO for your ability to continue seeing the funnier side of things. It especially ties well with the need to stay positive.
7. Make yourself available.
You want to be present and available. If your employees and teams see you working hard, rolling up your sleeves and tackling the hard things, they will be motivated to do even more. They will admire that you want to be among them and see the company from their perspective. If an employee wants to talk to you, you don’t check your phone or email - but be present so they know what they are saying counts with you. There’s no easier way to win any persons loyalty than to be actively involved in what they are saying.
8. Elicit feedback. Employees are amazed when a leader comes and asks them what should change in the company or what could you as the CEO be doing better to make sure the employees have information, resources, and the training they need. No one looks down on a leader for asking for sincere feedback nor would an employee think the leader is incapable of leading. If anything, this contact will solidify more respect for you for taking the time to consider everyone’s opinion about how the company is doing and where improvements need to be made.
These traits, behaviors, and actions not only help you stand out as a leader, but they also provide a way to inspire, motivate, and bring out the best in your team.