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  • Theatrics are Required in a Leader

    When things are not going well, you can: (1) show it, or (2) not show it. There is play pretend needed as an adult, just as you did as a child. When you were a kid, you acted out your dreams. You dressed and spoke like a cowboy, an actress, or a fireman. Similarly, as a leader, you need to act out being a leader.

    Talk yourself into it. Remind yourself. Say, “I’m going into this, and there’s how I have to behave.”

    A company video conference showed one manager who sloppily slouched throughout. A short time after the conference, he was demoted a pay grade and ultimately let go because people couldn’t forget and get past the mental picture of him. He should have acted more interested.

    People believe what you show them, not tell them. You need to “look” like what people have come to expect in a leader. It’s not in the clothes you wear (that’s only a small part of it) or an accoutrement of power around you, but it’s your bearing, manner, and comportment that cause people to have confidence in you and your decisions.

    The theatrics required (after you’ve talked yourself into it)?

    -slow down
    -stand tall
    -keep an open expression on your face (e.g. a slight smile) whether you are mad, sad, scared, tired, or happy

    CEOs are not thrilled every morning when they come to work. Sometimes, they’ve had a fight with the wife or the kid didn’t come home the night before, but they can’t be grumpy. One CEO told me, “The day I gave the best speech of my life, according to my staff, was the day after my life had started to fall apart, having been told I might have to file for bankruptcy. Regardless of how I felt, I couldn’t show it.”

    Everyone is insecure in some area. The difference in their effectiveness is in their acting ability to camouflage it.
    We’re all scared some of the time, but you have to hide it. It’s the price you pay to play the game.

    D.A. (Debra) Benton has been helping great individuals and organizations get even better for over 20 years. Just as exceptional athletes rely on excellent coaching to hone their skills, Debra's clients rely on her advice to advance their careers. She focuses on what is truly important to convert what you and your organization want to be from a vision into a reality. TopCEOCoaches.com ranks her in the World's Top 10 CEO Coaches noting she is the top female. And as conference keynote speaker she is routinely rated in the top 2%. Her client list reads like a “Who's Who” of executives in companies ranging from Microsoft, McDonald's, Kraft, American Express, Merrill Lynch, United Airlines, and PricewaterhouseCoopers to the Washington Beltway and U.S.Border Patrol. *She is the author of ten award-winning and best-selling business books including The Virtual Executive and CEO Material. She has written for the Harvard Business Review, Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg Businessweek, and Fast Company. She has been featured in USA Today, Fortune, The New York Times, and Time; she has appeared on Today Show, Good Morning America, CNN, and CBS with Diane Sawyer. To learn more Debra advising leaders, coaching, facilitating a workshop, or speaking: www.debrabenton.com

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