Building atop-rankingbusiness leader’s external presence is probably easier than building his or her internal presence.
Leaders rarely invest enough time to
build their reputation among their own
employees, yet how they are perceived
and presented makes a difference in the
way employees engage with the organization overall.
Internal communicators can play a
pivotal role in coaching and guiding
these senior executives to be self-aware,
communicate effectively and be at the
forefront of change. Here are some
ways that you can help them build
their internal presence.
Identify your objectives for raising the
leader’s profile. Is there a perception of
the leader you are attempting to overcome? Do you want him or her to
become more engaged with employees? Ultimately, the objectives of these
efforts are greater trust among employees and improved connection. This
can be measured by annual surveys of
how much trust employees have in
leaders and their messages. People who
believe in their company’s leaders are
more likely to contribute positively to
Remember that each leader’s personality is unique. Going against the grain
by coaching the executive to behave
out of character (for example, coaching an introvert to be more of an extrovert) can cause stress for the leader,
and employees will notice if it doesn’t
blend with the leader’s style.
Find out how the leader is perceived.
You can’t build a leader’s presence if you
are in the dark about his or her current
reputation. What do employees know
about this person? What actions has he
or she taken that employees remember, good or bad? Is he or she perceived
as humble, brash, loud, charismatic,
tough, approachable, etc.?
You can find out what people think
through informal polls or focus groups.
Create a questionnaire and ask employees what words come to mind when
they think of this person. How does he
or she come across to employees? Is the
leader articulate and able to communicate goals and expectations in a way
they will understand?
You can also take a look at the leader’s internal social media profile (if
your organization has an internal network). How active is it? When was the
last post? Which post got the most
comments or views? Is there a photo
of him or her? What does the photo
of the leader reflect? Is it a headshot or
a picture of the leader engaging with
employees, say, on the shop floor or in
Clarify the agenda. How will the leader
divide his or her time in order to raise
his or her profile internally? What will
be handled directly, and what can be
delegated? What are the near-term and
long-term goals? What activities must
the leader be personally involved in?
Presence isn’t about the amount of
time spent with employees, but about
the quality of the interactions. The
each leader’s person
ality is unique. Going
against the grain by
coaching the executive
to behave out of char
acter can cause stress,
and employees will
how well is your leader communicating?
In a study of 30,000 workers by Leadership IQ, only 34 percent said they could
articulate their company’s strategic goals. And when that 34 percent were
asked to do so, 51 percent of them got it wrong. The results, note the research
ers, suggest that “too many leaders don’t communicate effectively, and too
many leaders aren’t sharing all the necessary facts.” Find out more here.