Thursday, 12 May 2016

Who Shows Up?

I spent time with a former colleague recently and was reminded of a film that I watched a number of years ago called ‘Polar Express’. In it was a phrase that resonated with me – the ‘mood hoover’.

Well, let’s just say my former colleague is one of those. A ‘mood hoover’ sucks the energy, will to live, positivity out of the air and casts gloom and doom wherever they are. In the presence of a mood hoover, no matter what might be going well, they will always find a way to bring the conversation down. Creativity is stifled, optimism dwindles and negativity prevails…it got me thinking.

Having ‘Executive Presence’ means having that ‘I’ll follow you anywhere’ impact on other people when you walk in a room; whether it’s the most junior or senior person in the company. Being able to inspire others, ignite their interests, talents, passion and creativity at work all sits at odds with being a ‘mood hoover’. As professionals, as leaders and as people – we are in a relationship business – no matter our industry, geography or role. I travel a lot and the vagaries of public transport mean that I am invariably delayed, distracted and demented getting to clients via trains, buses, tubes and planes. There are times when I could simply scream with pure frustration. So my point is simply this: part of how we convey presence means asking ourselves – every day – in every meeting, conference call or 1:1, who shows up? What’s our energy that we bring to each conversation or interaction? What’s our intention? What’s our mind-set? What are we communicating to the rest of the world, beyond the words which come out of our mouth? How do we ‘shake off’ the ‘mood hoover’ mentality – even when we’re emotionally over wrought and it would just feel better to let off steam?

Here are some suggestions:
  • Know your triggers, and plan to create something positive from the negative. For example, I’m very productive when travelling and so get a lot of work done. It's this I choose to focus on when stuck in such situations.
  • Identify what else you need to build resilience – is it more sleep, exercise, making the weekends less frenetic, doing something just for you or something else? These resources are essential to emotional well-being and stability.
  • Find things that make you laugh and make time to do just that. Laughter is good for the soul and replenishes even the most frazzled traveller….
  • Challenge yourself – is this your best self? Even when you feel like Michael Douglas in ‘Falling Down’, do you really think others deserve to experience this from you?
Know that your energy, purpose and intention is an essential part of Executive Presence and one that you communicate exquisitely – be it good or bad - every day to those around you. Do you have a brand – like my former colleague – of this unrelenting mood hoover? Or are you someone whose presence, purpose, intention and energy inspires and delights those around you?

As we build our impact, influence and relationships at work, always remember to ask yourself: who shows up?

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