Ep #53: Leadership Presence: Who Are You as a Female Leader?

 In Podcast


What is your leadership presence and what is the wake you leave behind? How do others experience you?  Do you even know? When you understand yourself and how you affect others, you can be so much more impactful as a leader. It doesn’t mean you have to change, but making conscious choices about how you make decisions and interact with others can be a superpower.

What you’ll find in this episode:

  1. Do you know what people think about when they think about you?
  2. We all have habits, behaviors or expressions that are not helping our presence. Are you keeping those parts about you around out of spite – or out of fear because you don’t know how to change it?
  3. Power of voice. Power of presence. Power of appearance.
  4. Spend some time this week paying attention to yourself.
  5. Your presence is a silent asset.
  6. Don’t contrive or fake it. Be conscious and tap into your superpowers.

Featured on the Show and Other Notes:

  • Own the Room: Discover Your Signature Voice to Master Your Leadership Presence by Amy Jen Su and Muriel Maignan Wilkins
  • Team management strategy days are coming this year in select locations where you can schedule a day to spend with me. If that interests you, email hello@krisplachy.com, and say, “I would like to be on the short list for a strategy day.” Please put in the body of your email where in the world you are.
  • Follow me on Instagram here @KrisPlachyCoach.
  • I read reviews on the show! If you like this podcast, please leave a review. Go to your podcast app and find the reviews section. Thank you!
  • The Founder’s Lab is my private coaching program for female founders who are generating more than 7-figures in their revenue. It’s a complement to the Entrepreneurial Management program (with Brooke Castillo) and is a part of the work you get as a client of mine. This isn’t a “class.” I don’t give you copious tons of things to do. I give you the ones that matter and then we keep talking about them. We apply them. That’s why it’s called the Founder’s Lab.
  • Go here to book an appointment with me.


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Podcast Transcript

Hello, how are you? Welcome to the podcast. I hope you’re having an amazing day, and I hope you have had a fabulous second month here to 2020. Holy moly. How is it happening so quickly? I think it’s going by very fast. Is anybody else feeling that way? I certainly am.

So today I’m going to talk to you about your presence, which again is part of this month’s series on you as the boss. You was a founder, you was an entrepreneur. Presence is such a powerful asset that we have as leaders that I don’t know how well many people cultivate it. Some people I think are naturally good at this and other people really have to give it attention and think about it. So that is my goal on the podcast today is to help you think about your presence and how that impacts your success.

I wanted to acknowledge, I’m one of my clients was recently featured in Forbes. She’s so amazing, has a beautiful business, and is just a beautiful woman. And I wanted to share with you one of the things that she said. She’s very successful. She’s built a very successful business after being a teacher for many years, and I love her perspective here. This is a direct quote from the article. She said, “That I had to acknowledge that the person who was crafting and selling single lessons isn’t the same person who was running the business today. The biggest shift was internal, moving away from the entrepreneur who did everything to the CEO who builds a team. Believe me when I say this, I never imagined four years ago that I would have a team of teachers design the lessons and curriculums for the membership that their talents have surpassed what I could have ever done. My role is not ‘in the doing’ anymore but leading the team and finding opportunities for growth.”

Now, I love this because this is true for so many, every one of my clients who extend their success beyond their ability, and there is a shift that has to happen for you to do that and it’s not easy and it’s not for everyone to be frank. That’s why I spent so much time on the work I share with you all because I know this isn’t meant to feel simple and like peace and love. It’s hard work and but it’s required. Otherwise what I watch is this shift happens for most of my clients, somewhere around the 1.2 to the 3.1-ish mark revenue-wise, and it’s not because of the money. It’s because of the size of the business, what’s what happens to the business when we get there.

And it’s either when we really make the conscious choice like, “Oh wait, this is not what I want. I need to go back to having a smaller deal,” which is fine. Or, “Oh wait, I can see what I want. It’s much bigger, but I have to totally become and change who I am. I have to become different. I have to change who I am as a business owner and as a leader. I have to learn new skills to get the business to the next level.” That’s just normal and it’s not fun. I know that you don’t want to do it, but I promise you it’s worth it on the other side because the love that these women have now of their businesses is so exciting. What they’re able to create and produce and how many more people they’re able to support, whatever the product is that they do.

So I thought that was such a lovely testament to very valuable insight. Also, for all of us to remember that the woman who started the business will not be the woman who runs it as it gets bigger and bigger and bigger. You have to do the work. In order to grow the business, you have to grow the woman running it. That’s what we launch Entrepreneurial Management talking about in the Entrepreneurial Management Program that I co-created with Brooke Castillo that you can still find by the way, on her website at thelifecoachschool.com. And if you join me in the Founders Lab, you will get that program as a part of the curriculum that you do with me.

So thank you. Thank you. If you liked this series this month, I really want to invite you to go to krisplachy.com/join. Schedule some time to meet so that we can talk about you joining us in next month series. Next month we’re going to be doing and focusing on the team, all about the team, the hiring the team, the firing the team, the managing the team, the talking to the team. All the elements that are essential for your success if you’re going to expand your business and become better at how you lead your team. So if that appeals to you, now is the time to book a call and get going. So you could join us as we talk about all those topics.

So let’s talk about you and your presence. So what do I mean? We talk a lot about brand. There’s a lot of great books. The one that’s probably my favorite is called Own the Room. It’s written by two women and it’s an exceptional book about how to think about yourself as a leader in the room. And I would love to invite you to take a look at that on Amazon. We’re going to make sure we put the link in the show notes, but it’s I think one of the better books as it relates to branding and understanding yourself.

And so I do believe as you cultivate your business, I know your head has been down, you’ve been really focused on building the business, getting the clients, making the money, figuring out all those things. Brilliant. But now we need to think about who are you and what is your place in the world and how do people experience you as a leader? I’m using the word presence in the title, but I also like the word essence. I like for you to think about the wake you leave behind or the flavor you leave behind. What is it that people think about when they think about you and is it intentional? Is it purposeful? Are you thoughtful about it? Do you know what it is?

I’ve coached a lot of people who genuinely do not have a sense of how other people experience them. And this can be very limiting to your long-term success. Because here’s the truth you guys, we all have blind spots. We all do stuff that may or may not be well-received. We all have habits, behaviors, expressions that are not helping our presence. Now I can hear some of you in like as you’re putting on your lipstick, yelling at me saying, “Well, that’s just how I am. If they don’t like it, it’s my way or the highway.” So I don’t disagree in the way that we all… Yes, we have to sort of understand like, this is who I am and this part of me isn’t going anywhere. I’m keeping it. I don’t want to get rid of it. But I want to know that you’re doing that consciously and not out of spite or out of fear because you don’t know how to change it.

I’ve had a lot of women as an example, a lot… I don’t know if this will resonate for you, but I’ve had a lot of women tell me that other women don’t like them. A lot of entrepreneurial women especially, and I’ve had this conversation for years. I was that way in high school. I would totally have been the person who told you I much prefer hanging out with the boys than the girls. I always had more guy friends than I did girlfriends. The girlfriends I did have and still do have, by the way, are deep and meaningful and rich and everlasting. But I always found the dudes way easier except for my really close girlfriends who are the best ever.

Now I had to really evaluate that because then when I got into a leadership position and I was mostly managing women, I was in a very male or female dominated space. All of that came up for me and I had to really do the work on like, “Am I a likable person?” And I had to get conscious about my presence, my leadership presence, because these aren’t friends, your employees. These are team members and you are leading them. You’re not their mom. You’re not their girlfriend. You can be friendly and thoughtful and loving. These are not your family members. And so there is a difference in that presence.

So even before you walk in the room, people vibe on you. I was at an event; this was a long time ago and I just come back from my honeymoon. So this is 1996, and I was a new ER manager, I just been promoted about a year prior. I managed two locations. I had about 14 direct reports at the time, and I went to one of those Fred Pryor kind of things where it’s like a one day, $99. I don’t even know the name of it, but nonetheless I was there. And there were probably about 50, 60 people in the room. And there was a point where they broke us into groups of like four or five people. And there was one woman in my group who had on a black turtleneck with a red blazer and jet-black hair, super short, like kind of spiky short. And she wasn’t very tall, but she was red jacket, black turtleneck, spiky hair. And then I don’t remember who the other people were. And then I was wearing literally a white tee shirt and jeans and I think like Kent’s right. This was 1996. And I had just come back from my honeymoon in Tahiti with my husband. So I was very tan and I’m blonde, for those of you who don’t follow me and know what color my hair is.

Anyway, so our job was to stand in a circle and all of us had to point to each other and say what we thought the person did for a living. And this gal pointed at me and said, “I think you’re a waitress.” And no disrespect to waitresses at all. Like it’s all good, but I’m not a waitress. I’d be terrible waitress. Here I was, I was managing a lot of people. I had a lot of responsibility, and she thought I looked like a waitress, which is really good feedback. Maybe I don’t look like a manager. Maybe you don’t look like someone who has a position of authority.

So then it got to be my turn. And, of course, I was feeling relatively snarky, and I had this expression I learned from my history teacher in high school. And so I just said that she looked like a benevolent dictator, which is very snarky. But I felt like doing it.

But here’s what’s super interesting. Then we all got out of our breakout groups and the guy who was facilitating actually went up to her and was talking about your presence and how you enter a room and what people think of you without even opening your mouth. And he put his hand on her shoulder, which I thought was super interesting and he said, “Like take you for example.” He said, “You already have very powerful presence just by what you look like and you now wearing a red blazer. It’s like you’re yelling at me.” And I thought, “Wow, what?” Because I felt that way with her. That’s why I called her a benevolent dictator. I just was like, “Oh, I would never want to work with her.” Now, of course, based on the way she thought of me, she wouldn’t either.

But that’s all just happened just because of how we showed up and looked in a room. That’s before we even spoke. So do you understand that about yourself? Because that’s work I’ve done. Like I’ve really thought about… I professionaled up after that. Now I’ve never gone all the way to a suit and pumps. I’m not that girl. Never going to be, but I do understand more now power of voice, power of presence, power of appearance. Do you look like a leader?

I have a lot of clients who might show up for other people, but they don’t show up for themselves. I, with very limited exception, get ready and dressed every day like I’m going to meet with clients, whether I do or not. I put my makeup on, I do my hair. I put a nice outfit on. A lot of my clients, not a lot, several of my clients will do that for others, but then when they meet with me, they don’t look like they tried. And I don’t take that personally. I just think, why don’t you show up for yourself? You’re beautiful. This affects your presence. I think it affects how you talk, even if nobody sees you.

So I know I’m covering the gamut of presence, but there is your appearance, which I don’t have judgment around at all what you look like. It’s more like what are you conscious about it? Is it intentional? And then there’s the words you use. Do you speak positively? Do you speak negatively? Do you speak in a way that makes people excited to work for you? Or are you Debbie downer? Do you know what is people’s experience of you? So there’s, when I’m with you and then there’s, when I’m not in the room anymore, what gets left behind? Do they want more of you, or are they glad you’re going? Do they think you’re approachable or difficult? Do they think you’re intimidating or open? What is your presence? What is the essence of you as a leader? And again, do you know?

So this is not easy work, especially if you’ve never considered it. There’s a lot of people on the planet who are so externally focused, they just don’t even see themselves in their interactions. So to start to invite this like wait, what? I thought it was everybody else. Maybe it is, maybe it’s not.

Who do you keep attracting? That speaks to essence. We talked about patterns. What are some of the consistent issues you have with team that does speak to you?

So I want you to spend some time this week paying attention to yourself and sitting next to yourself as a watcher and evaluating without judgment, how you interact with others, how you show up for yourself, what is the essence that you leave others with and then how would we define your presence? It is a silent asset. It’s one of those elements of who you are that we don’t give a lot of attention to. And yet when it’s well utilized, it is such a powerful asset. And it doesn’t mean contriving it; it doesn’t mean faking it. It means being conscious and really tapping your superpowers versus just sort of unconsciously and in an unsupervised way kind of bumbling through.

So this is heady but powerful work to do as a woman who leads her own business. And this would be work if we ended up doing a Strategy Day together that I would also love to spend some time with you on. Because of course, if I haven’t met you, I’m so well positioned to give you that feedback.

So thank you so much for tuning in. As a reminder, if you’re interested in a Strategy Day, just send an email to hello@krisplachy.com and say in the body of the email, “I’m interested in being on the short list for one of Kris’ select Strategy Days this year.” Thank you to those who’ve already inquired, and we’ll get back to you shortly. Have a wonderful, wonderful, wonderful week.

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