Owning Your Leadership Presence

Written by Barbara Higgins Posted in Blog

Owning is such a positive word.  It conveys the simple message of a child…it’s mine.  Look a little deeper into the meaning and we think about the work to procure something of value and taking responsibility to care for that something.


In leadership training, there is similar effort and care that goes into owning your leadership presence.  “To own” conveys an understanding of what we commit to as leaders.  Consider the nuance of owning your leadership role:

·   What is our accountability to accomplish the short-term and long-term goals of the team?

·    What value do we bring to enable the success of others on our team?

·    How do we gain better understanding of our impact and collaboration with others?

I recently talked with a leader who has a wonderful collaborative approach to leadership.  Her knowledge and leadership skills bring any team to depend on her as the de facto head of many projects.  However, as confident as she is when working as a member of the team, when the focus turns to her to recommend a decision she sometimes stumbles and fears that she will be seen as too dominant an influence on the group.  When the attention is on her, her confidence wavers and she can be seen as indecisive. A team can be confused by her seeming indecision. 

I know this feeling all too well from my own experience.  My coach helped me to realize that to be a leader, we need to know when to stand on confidence.  I am now confident to express my leadership opinion in order to move a discussion forward.  This gift allows the team to respond to a proposed solution and encourages a collaborative discussion, even if a better solution later trumps my initial opinion.  

As leaders, we need to develop a higher awareness of our impact and ability to inspire action.  Taking a personal stand can feel vulnerable and conspicuous. True leadership, however, needs to be nourished with confidence and the willingness to take a leap of faith.  We are expected to own our vision for the future, to have an opinion, and to go on record.  Taking a stand does not convey inflexibility but rather the willingness to take the risk, to stand out, and to voice a direction for change. Ownership.

Consider your role as a leader and bring your leadership courage. Own your leadership presence.  

"Whenever you see a successful business, someone once made a courageous decision." Peter F. Drucker
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About the Author

Barbara Higgins

Barbara Higgins

Barbara served as the Chief Planning Officer for CFA Institute for 7 years, responsible for the development of two long-term strategic plans and directing the annual planning, goal-setting, and reporting for this global organization. Her rich career at CFA Institute included twenty years in management positions in educational products, international conferences, customer service, and operations management. She led her many teams in training for employee empowerment, customer service, change management and leadership development. read more

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