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What is Your Signature Leadership Presence?

Who is your harshest critic? I’m guessing it’s you. Like most highly effective people, you probably have high standards, big expectations, a keen eye… and are well practiced in self-criticism.

You were probably taught to internalize self-criticism by well-meaning parents, teachers and counselors who tried to improve your performance by pointing out what you were doing wrong. Unfortunately, they didn’t realize that a preoccupation with what is not working actually impairs self-improvement.

Now is the time to temper the unintended consequences of self-criticism (e.g., self-doubt, low confidence, and performance anxiety). This post is about making the shift from self-criticism to self-coaching to find and strengthen your Signature Presence, the unique suite of leadership assets that make you effective. Instead of focusing on your shortcomings, it is about growing your awareness of who you are when you are leading effectively. Knowing the particular positive qualities that underscore your leadership effectiveness is what allows them to shine through in all that you do.

Without overthinking it, fill in the blanks to the following with five different responses:

When I am at my best, I am a leader who is ____________.

Then, ask yourself:

If I were an even more effective leader, I would be _________.

This sentence-completion process uses the five-to-one principle to ensure your focus is on your assets, not deficits. When you can truthfully assess your talents, your confidence grows and you expand your capacity to improve.

My leadership assets are being relational, imaginative, enthusiastic, creative and articulate.

On the other hand, the one quality that I would like to tap into more is patience. Being patient will strengthen my ability to use my assets — for example, if I’m patient, I will almost assuredly be a more relational and enthusiastic leader. This insight strengthens my resolve to integrate this quality into my Signature Presence.

What are some of your leadership assets?

Dr. Kathy Cramer

Kathryn D. Cramer, PH.D.
Founder and Managing Partner, The Cramer Institute