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The Impact of Visible Leadership on Your Business and Team
Showing up and standing out
How visible are you as a leader in your business?
And more importantly, what would people right across your business say?
If you’re a leader who prides themselves on getting things done, taking the time to put yourself front and centre might not always take priority.
But people in your business want to hear from you, and see you for the leader you are.
Connecting with leaders, being engaged with the strategic direction of the business, and feeling respected are key drivers of satisfaction and motivation at work.
If your goal is to cultivate a culture of openness, accountability, and collaboration in your company, it is your role to lead the way.
Boosting your visibility as a leader doesn’t mean being an extrovert or putting yourself on show.
And it isn’t all about being seen.
It is also about having your presence be felt; and for those around you to feel and trust that they have a leader who they want to follow.
But it takes investment to maintain a ‘public’ leadership image.
And for those who prioritise business results, it often takes intentional effort.
You’ll find seven tools below to give you a kickstart.
Reflect: What does being a visible leader mean to you? Look at the spectrum of visibility below. Think of a leader who you’ve encountered during your career who might sit well at each end of the spectrum.
What did they do and how did they do it? Write both down.
Where would you place yourself on this spectrum? Why?
What action could you take in the next hour to move more in the direction you want?
Strategise: Stepping from a functional role that is focussed on delivery, into a cross-business leadership role means who you need to be visible to will change.
Map your stakeholders (roles, departments or key people) and key relationships using the map below, to help you think strategically about where you invest your time and boost your visibility across the business.
Because being visible isn’t just important to those you have direct reporting line responsibility for.
What do you notice when you map your stakeholders across the business?
What correlation is there to how you currently invest your time and effort?
What tweaks could you make to enhance your engagement with key stakeholders?
Flex: Think about the presence that you want to exude when you meet those you lead. There are three core strands to what is commonly accepted as ‘executive presence’; your gravitas (67%), your communication (28%), and how you look (5%).
Putting it simply, leadership presence comes from how you talk, think, and act.
Regardless of whether you are an introvert or an extrovert, you will likely need to flex your leadership style to suit the given scenario.
Think about how you carry yourself, how you want to be perceived, and how you want people to feel as a result of their interaction with you.
How do you enter the office and greet your team when you’re together?
How deeply do you listen to what they say?
What two things do your team need from you different from your natural leadership style?
Revisit: You’ll find 7 tools including a quick video and podcast to help you build a more leadership-like presence here:
Share: It’s not uncommon for teams to say “I’m not entirely sure what my boss does all the time”.
But for busy leaders, sharing what you do, what your role looks like, and helping people understand the wider business doesn’t always make it to the top of your list. It’s nice to do, not a need to do.
But genuinely sharing what you are taking the lead in, and stories about your role will help build trust and understanding between you and your team. It will encourage them to open up with you more too.
How much does your team know about what you do?
What opportunities could there be in sharing more?
What two things could I share that would help them build a greater understanding of leadership in the business?
Story: Becoming more visible provides you with an opportunity to share your leadership story and inspire others. Remind yourself about what makes you the authentic leader you are by reading this:
Communicate: Communication is central to great leadership. But it’s not simply the need to communicate regularly, but also how you communicate.
Research shows that the most frequently cited cause of communication challenges in work is a fundamentally human one: different communication styles. Sarah Fenson has some useful practical tips for how to improve your communication style here: