Today’s post was written by Amy Fenollosa, Director of Learning at The Latimer Group.
By now you have probably seen the hilarious BBC news clip of the Political Science Professor being interrupted during a live television interview. His children barged into his office—the smiling toddler in yellow, followed by an enthusiastic baby in a walker. He tried to maintain his composure and continue with the interview while his wife wrangled the children out of the room. After the clip went viral, he was interviewed again:
“My real life punched through the fake cover I had created on television,” he said.
It was a classic working from home scenario, but unlike the dog barking during a conference call or the doorbell ringing while you’re on a webcast, this one unspooled live in front of our eyes. We cringed because we can all relate. Just like out-takes at the end of movies, we laugh because we recognize the actors as human.
Like the professor, we all have a public persona. In today’s world of social media, we carefully curate the image we present to the world whether through photographic filters or the things we choose to share. But we’re all human, and the viral clip of the professor and his children is a reminder of the fine line between professional persona and our authentic selves.
In the office, do you strive for powerful presence? As we work with our clients on Executive Presence, we help them to improve the three pillars that support executive presence. The first two pillars are communication and connection. The third pillar is confidence. We help people project confidence through authenticity and passion. Think about the way you act at work. Are you wearing your public mask? Always striving to be the consummate professional? Now consider the role models you look up to—how are they behaving in the work environment? We appreciate the touches of humanity our leaders portray. We recognize them as fallible. As natural, as real.
People who demonstrate powerful executive presence allow their authentic selves to emerge both in their formal speaking engagements and in their everyday interactions. We’re all human and we respond to the small insights into another’s humanity. Think about your authentic self—would your family recognize you in the workplace? How can you establish powerful presence by revealing just a bit of who you are? We found the professor endearing because he was real. Are you?