Posted by: hannah.yaz | April 10, 2019

Leadership Presence

I found this article that I really like because it acknowledges various topics we have discussed throughout the semester and ties them together well.  It’s called “The Secrets of Leadership Presence for Every Woman Leader.”  They surveyed 25 rising women leaders, and 65% of them listed leadership presence as the skill they want to develop the most.  It explains that leadership presence is a crucial component for women who want to advance in their position or simply be heard and respected.  It then goes on to discuss what it means to have leadership presence, and I’d like to talk about a few of their main points. 

Every woman needs to have a strong sense of confidence.  Many women tend to think “I wasn’t good enough,” while men usually blame their failures on external factors totally unrelated to themselves.  We need to change our attitudes and stop being so hard on ourselves.  Become more self-aware and try to correct your negative thoughts about yourself.  Believe that you are capable and you are enough; you are in your position for a reason.  Do not doubt your abilities as others will be able to sense this doubt and question you.  Achieving small wins (tempered radicalism) in your company will build your confidence while also benefiting your credibility and reputation.  Others will respect you for your attempt to instill change in your company.

Establish a strong voice and be aware of your body language.  Pay attention to how many times you instinctively apologize when you speak; many women have a bad habit of saying “I’m sorry” a lot which can discount what they are saying.  Be comfortable in your own skin and embrace who you are.  Correct your posture if you find that you are making yourself appear smaller; hold your head high and bring your shoulders back to convey a sense of authority and confidence.  Look at people directly in the eye when you are speaking to them.  This will communicate your self-assurance to others.

What do you think of this whole idea of leadership presence?  Do you agree with everything this article suggested?  Do you think there are other key components they are missing?


  1. I agree with the different points that were mentioned. I think there is a lot of wisdom within those points. Women do need to be confident, have a strong voice, and be aware of their body language. However, I think this ties back to the first conversations we had in this course. While all of these are important, women are forced to balance the level of these because if a woman begins to show these in high levels then they are seen as too aggressive, too ambitious, and too confident, thus leading many individuals to not trust them as a leader. I believe these are important but I also think in order for women to be successful leaders then it has to be very balanced, which is the difficult double bind for women in leadership.

  2. I really like this article and agree with what it is implying. Women, in general, lack confidence when compared to men. This has been shown many times throughout the semester, where women are more afraid to speak out, ask for the promotion, negotiate their starting salary, and have full confidence in their ideas. Men typically think higher of themselves and are able to portray that with their attitudes in the workplace environment.

    I think the points in the article will definitely help women embrace who they are, be more confident, stop apologizing for things that are out of their control, and hold their heads higher. However, I think the most important first step is recognizing these characteristics. When more women are aware of the amount of times they apologize or how their body language affects those around them, they will be more likely to make a change. The word needs to be spread!

  3. This was a really interesting article and I like the points that it brings up. We have talked a lot in class about how women typically lack self confidence and how that is what holds them back from achieving higher leadership roles. I definitely agree that women leaders need to be more confident, have their own voice, and display a strong leadership presence by being aware of their body language. Similar to what Alexis said, I do think that this can be context specific, such as having their own voice. In certain roles, women may have to act more masculine in order to be successful and to have her followers respect her. This can still play into having her own voice because she can still make her leadership style her own, even if it may need to be more masculine.

  4. Thinking back to one of our classes, we wrote on the board the different characteristics that we felt a leader should have and demonstrate when leading, whether they were physical, personality, or verbal attributes. Many of the main points you discussed in your post were ones that were brought up in class and put on the board as qualities you look for in a leader. For women specifically, I think it has become evident that their level of self confidence in a bit lower compared to men. I do think that women need to be more sure of themselves and confident when they are leading. If they can achieve a strong confidence level, the body language, strong voice, eye contact, positive thoughts, pretty much everything else should naturally fall in place. Agreeing with Alexis and Maddie, I think these leadership presence skills are context based in which any leader should be able to adapt to different situations, using and demonstrating appropriate leadership abilities and characteristics in order to effectively lead. I think starting with these steps to improve self confidence will allow women to embrace and accept who they are as individuals and as leaders.

  5. I really liked this article too- I think it really shows how a big obstacle that women have to face and overcome is themselves. This article felt really empowering because it pointed out that we are probably more effective and successful than we think we are, and we need to recognize that in ourselves and start to believe in our abilities more. If we don’t believe those things about ourselves, how are we supposed to expect others to believe those things about us? I also like that they presented specific things that women can do to achieve a bigger leadership presence, through body language, speaking habits, etc. I think trying to work on those things will really show how much we disadvantage ourselves without even knowing it.

  6. Self-confidence seems to have always been a topic when discussing women in leadership. I feel like lots of what we have talked about can be linked back to self-confidence. For example, this article. The women interviewed wanted to increase their leadership presence and one of the biggest ways that it is says women can do this is by increasing their self-confidence. As a male I have never had to experience the self-confidence issues of women (obviously) but their are still times in my life that I have experienced low levels of self-confidence. One of those times was starting in a varsity lacrosse game as a sophomore. I was so nervous and scared because the guys that I would be playing against were so much bigger, faster, stronger, or so I thought. After playing for a bit I began to realize that they were not that much better than me, that I could play with them. This relates to what was mentioned, winning small victories. It will help self-confidence and belief that you can succeed. I think that companies need to start praising women for their accomplishments which will in turn boost their self-confidence and then their productivity for the company.

  7. I agree with this article on a personal level. I have always felt like I needed to apologize for adding something important to the conversation or felt unconfident with my work. If I’m only 75% sure about something, I do not feel confident enough to apply myself. I, as well as many other women, feel like if we aren’t 100% then it is not good enough. However, I think that we can combat this issue. By encouraging others and not criticizing others for being proud of their accomplishments, I think that we as women can have more self-confidence in our work.

  8. I can really relate to a lot of the points made in your blog post. I know as I am job searching and trying to look as different positions to apply for, I find myself not feeling qualified enough despite the fact I meet over half the requirements. I also was talking to my friend the other day who was given a job offer. She said they told her she is more than qualified for the job, yet she personally still feels she is not qualified for the job or fears she isn’t going to be successful. I think it is important for women to be confident going into the workplace in order to gain presence but also in order for them to be successful. Confidence is extremely important for people to have especially women because we are always role modeling for other women. I think it is important to emphasize presence but also still respect women who are more behind the scene leaders because not every person or woman is an up front type of leader.

  9. I think the concept of one’s presence is a very interesting topic and one that can be applied to both males and females! Additionally, I think it carries weight in both one’s personal and professional life. As I continue to apply for jobs and speak to potential employers, I am continuously aware of the presence that I convey because, in my opinion, one’s presence is a big factor in whether someone decides to follow you. Furthermore, I think presence is especially significant for women because I feel that people are more critical of a woman’s presence and more likely to abstain followership from women if there is something about their presence that they do not like.

    Body language and confidence are very big factors in the development of one’s presence. I think another important indicator of presence is one’s ability to communicate or articulate their beliefs and ideas. I am much more likely to gravitate towards someone that is eloquent, firm in their ideas, and able to communicate their positions in an effective and clear manner. In my opinion, this element plays the biggest role in presence. As such, it is one that I have worked especially hard to develop and refine.

  10. I really agree with this article and it kind of sums up some of my thoughts and take-aways from this class. I think it is important as a women leader to know and understand some of the common struggles women leaders often face, but also know some tips and tricks to help overcome them. Using examples from this article, it would be knowing that saying “sorry” before speaking is not making your statement convincing. After being aware and having a set of tools to help navigate as a women leader, confidence is most important. Confidence in knowing you are capable. Confidence in who you are. Confidence in yourself as a leader. I really do think that being confident is a game changer for women leaders.

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