23 Aug

Prepare Your Team to Step into the Leadership Spotlight

IStock_000010594159XSmall I recently read an article in the Wall Street Journal titled Leadership Training Gains Urgency Amid Stronger Economy. The write-up discussed how companies fear a shortage of qualified managers to step forward and lead projects when the time comes to shift gears into growth mode. 

I found this article especially enlightening because I offer corporate image development programs specifically tailored to “leaders and high achievers.” During the recent downturn we saw many organizations begin to panic and reduce professional leadership training for their trailblazers and top leaders. But those are the same people that these organizations want at the helm of the ship, and it does not make much sense to put them under even more pressure and stress by withdrawing valuable resources in the middle of a stormy sea.

When organizations go through the succession-planning process and identify the professional growth that key people need in order to reach their maximum performance potential, executive presence is definitely at the top of the list. So if you work in the HR department of a large organization, go through that list of high-potential leaders and high-achieving candidates. Then ask yourself these questions about each of them:

  1. Do they dress in a manner that represents an unprofessional personal brand and/or reflects negatively on the corporate brand? 
  2. Does their overall appearance set the example and provide the right role model for everyone else in the organization? 
  3. Is their behavior ever questionable? Do employees highly respect how they treat other individuals in the organization? Or do they sometimes publically reprimand others or show inappropriate disgust or disapproval through their facial expressions?  
  4. In meetings or during one-on-one consultations do they signal a lack of trustworthiness through body language? Do they have difficulty building and nurturing long-term business relationships? 
  5. Does their overall image convey that they understand business etiquette and protocol in today’s multi-cultural world? Or do they make embarrassing remarks or blunders that cost your organization new business?
  6. Do they understand how to convey a polished image while collaborating with teams from the four generational workforces? Or are they a bit biased or old fashioned when it comes to tapping into the attributes of a diverse multi-generational workforce in order to build high performance teams?
  7. When they speak do they talk with sincerity from the heart and build interest through engaging gestures? Do they interact with their audience or are they too hurried to take the time to gauge the mood of others, listen to their valuable feedback, and make a memorable connection that continues to resonate?

All of those questions relate to critical facets of professional presence and the silent put powerful messages that top leaders are communicating within their organizations each and every day.  If you can’t answer all of them with resounding confidence in your leaders then they are hindering the growth of your company and will cost it even more once the economy rebounds.

Many Fortune 500 companies and other organizations where I provide leadership programs don’t even realize that professional consultants like myself can create customized programs and executive image coaching programs. But we can ensure that your leaders learn what no one else will teach them – how to project influential executive presence for success in today’s complex and fiercely competitive business world.

Just recently I worked with two top leaders in Fortune 100 companies. Each one was amazed how much they learned about executive presence that was nowhere to be found within their MBA curriculum, corporate training agenda, or upbringing. 

You want your leaders to step into the spotlight with confidence, grace, and ease – so start preparing them now and their polished executive presence will ensure that they are “celebrities of credibility” within the industry! 

We provide a variety of corporate seminars, customized executive image coaching programs, and individual consultations focused on the Leadership Presence ABC’s (appearance, behavior/etiquette, communication skills). To learn how to leverage those to your advantage please contact us at [email protected] or call Sarah at 678-528-1239. 

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Sarah Hathorn is a professional image consultant, certified personal brand strategist, speaker, and author. 


Her company, Illustra Image Consulting, works with high-achieving future leaders and large businesses by enhancing their corporate and personal brand image to take their businesses and careers to the next level.

Blog, Ezine & Website: www.illustraimageconsulting.com


Copyright © 2010, Sarah Hathorn, AICI CIP, CPBS

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Sarah Hathorn
Sarah Hathorn, CEO of Hathorn Consulting Group, is the go-to-expert in working with leaders and companies to create successful corporate DNA. As an executive coach, consultant and speaker she collaborates globally with clients and brands such as Kimberly-Clark, Sherwin-Williams, Home Depot and other leading organizations.
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3 thoughts on “Prepare Your Team to Step into the Leadership Spotlight

  1. Orene - August 24, 2010 at 1:32 pm

    This is a great article for everyone in business. Sarah takes the long view and focuses on what companies should be doing to prepare for the future.

  2. Chi Chi Okezie - August 26, 2010 at 8:13 am

    Excellent article, Sarah!
    I was intrigued with the 7-point questions. This is definitely an article of great value and useful for several industries.
    Keep up the dynamic work!

  3. Sarah Hathorn - August 26, 2010 at 10:02 am

    Chi Chi,
    Thanks for the kind words. I really appreciate hearing great feedback from a trusted colleague!
    Sarah