This past Sunday was Father’s Day, a uniquely bittersweet day for me, joyful in celebrating my husband and how great he is with our kids, but also a bit melancholy as it was the first one since my own father passed away last summer after a five-year battle with Alzheimer's Disease. Dad was a role model for me in so many ways, not the least of which is that he taught me my first explicit lesson in leadership.
Dad was a middle school music teacher for 40(!) years. As a kid, every year we would go to see his concerts, and as we walked into the band room “behind the scenes” after what was always an amazing show, he would introduce us to his students. “You're his daughter?” they'd ask. “Your dad is awesome!” Then they'd inevitably proceed to tell me why he was their favorite teacher.
After I finished college, my first job was teaching public school in south-central Los Angeles — I was excited, but also terrified. As I was getting ready to embark on my teaching career, I asked my father what has turned out to be the most important question of my professional life:
“Dad, how can I get my students to respect me the way yours respect you?”
“The thing is,” he wisely said, “You can't just DEMAND respect. You have to COMMAND it with your presence.”
Little did I know that this principle would become the foundation of my entire career.
Whether working with children, family members or adults alike, it's about leading by example, acting with integrity and authenticity, holding people (and oneself) accountable, and communicating clearly.
It's also about having the confidence to do what needs to be done even when it won't be a popular decision, being appropriately diplomatic, speaking with a voice of authority, and translating your message so others can understand it easily.
Speaking of translating your message, this week's podcast guest, Shani Boone, newly-appointed CFO of Human Resources for Worldwide Operations at Amazon, shares some of her own strategies for commanding respect in a new leadership role and corporate culture.
We discussed creative problem solving, telling the story behind the data, and earning people's trust. And since everything we do is virtual now, we also discussed the challenges of trying to humanize virtual meetings and establish rapport with people you may never have met in person, as video conferences can still feel awkward no matter how frequently we have them.
We all want to be respected, and of course we all deserve respect as individuals. But it's harder to take a good look in the mirror and ask yourself: “Does my presence truly command respect as a leader?”
To Shani's point, many of us feel like we have that commanding presence when we have the opportunity to meet people in person, but something about meeting via video conference seems to drain the leadership presence out of us as individuals, as it drains the life out of the meeting.
If you still feel like your on-camera presence just doesn't live up to what you know you're capable of doing in person, my final FREE masterclass on 4 Simple Steps to Command the Screen and Get the Results You Want is on Thursday, June 24th at 2:00pm EDT/11:00am PDT.
I'll show you how to let your natural confidence, authority and warmth, shine through on video, so your on-screen presence inherently commands the respect you deserve to maximize your success. Save your seat now.
And of course, a belated Happy Father’s Day to all fathers out there!