5 Ways to Influence with Leadership Presence

Stand Out As A Leader

Why do some people stand out as a leader?

Why do THEY have the ability to influence and persuade others in almost any context – while others don’t?

Those that do, have what I call the X Factor or leadership presence.

Think about this example from pop culture: when Prince William married Princess Kate, there were 3.6 million Google searches. Even pictures of their children went viral.

On the flip side of the royal coin is William’s father, Prince Charles. When searched, only 700,000 results popped up. Even The Daily Beast called Charles “the monarch nobody wants.” (Ouch.)

Even though both men are of nobility and are in line for the throne, the English people and the world have seen both royals in a specific context from their lives over the years. What’s the difference between them? Why do they resonate differently with the masses?

Take William: he is handsome and has mastered leadership presence. Charles is a phenomenal dignitary but doesn’t have the same presence. Both William and Kate are the epitome of presence. When they speak with someone, they make that person feel like they matter.  In short, they leave a lasting impression on everyone they encounter.

You can do this too!

Through all my years of research, I’ve narrowed the idea of leadership presence into five central concepts, which I’m sharing with you today. You can learn more in my book Lead Advanced.

The Central Concepts


People can spot BS. You have to know your area of expertise and back it up with a track record of success. Use this to build your reputation throughout your industry and beyond. Think of it this way…people may not have agreed with the late Steve Job’s leadership style, but they didn’t question his level of expertise.

Relational Authenticity:

People want to feel like they matter. Have you ever spoken with someone, famous or not, who made you feel like you were the only person of importance at that moment? Just about any biography on Bill Clinton indicates he excelled at this.


Yes, it is crucial how you show up. Apply the acronym ACE to help: Appearance, Confidence, and Energy. How you look (a.k.a. appearance) matters. Dress for your role and show up pulled together, not unkempt.

Confidence comes from your substance and your body language. I love how Amy Cuddy put it in her Ted Talk when she said, “Your body language shapes who you are.”

Finally, how you focus your Energy matters. It should be on your audience, not you. It’s a waltz with your audience. Each step exchanges energy as needed. One of the world’s leading voice coaches, Patsy Rodenburg, call it focusing in on the “Second Circle of Energy.”


Few businesses communicate well, and that lack of communication shows up on the negative side of the company review ledgers often because of frequently shifting priorities. For me, communication is an intersection of three points:

  • Right way
  • Right time
  • Right people

Trying to interface the same way with every person using a cookie cutter approach gets you nowhere. You need to reach people where they are at by slowing down and determining the outcome you want. Clarify the message you need to convey. Determine the best method to reach out (phone, in-person, social media) to create awareness and adoption or action from your audience.

Situational Agility:

Remember everyone is different. Each situation is different. You will work with those that want nothing but cold, hard facts. Others wish to trust their instincts or their gut. Choices in software will vary. There are email lovers and phone lovers. A present leader will be aware of these nuances and respond in the preferred way of each and respecting their needs and how they like to work. Leaders who are less effective try to push people through the same keyhole that fits their way of communication.

Boost your X Factor by building your relational authenticity. Start with making someone feel like they matter.

Take the time to visit a co-worker. It doesn’t matter if they are beside, below, or above you on the corporate ladder. Ask them about their workload, how you can help, and what else may be going on in their life. Avoid office gossip. Just an unscheduled conversation, not associated with deliverables, and doesn’t mention KPIs, or anything else.

Go. Be human. Interact.

Do this over a couple of weeks with a few colleagues. In less than a month, you should see the shifts in your relationships and perceptions of you.

Such small and simple steps will make a world of difference in your leadership growth.

About Lisa Martin

I help high achievers – people like you – Lead + Live Better™. I support new and seasoned leaders to gain the clarity and confidence to work more effectively and have more impact. And I equip organizations with leadership development programs which cultivate amazing leaders at every level.

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