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Are You an Attractive Leader? Communication Strategies for Leaders

Updated: Dec 7, 2023

Do you consider yourself an attractive leader? No, we don't mean attractive as in how you look, but in how you behave. Attractive markers are related to expressions of being approachable, agreeable, and likable. If someone is too approachable, agreeable, and likable, attractiveness as a trait could be a weakness. Some might perceive the leader lacks confidence and conviction. As an example, when a manager says, “Kristin simply does not have a seat at the table with her peers,” that usually means she uses too many attractiveness markers. Perhaps she never states her views publicly, or she speaks so softly that people ask her to repeat what she said. Other examples include holding the door for someone and favoring questions over statements. People with attractive styles tend to view powerful colleagues as rude, direct, and abrasive.

by Stephanie Bickel

Communication strategies for leader

If your leadership style leans predominantly toward the attractive side, begin to experiment with markers to try to move toward a more-blended style. As a start, pick one verbal and one nonverbal marker and find a way to use both during an interaction. As you experiment, some markers will be easy to adopt, but others may feel contrived—and that’s OK. Emulating the style of others or flexing your own in new ways to create a broader range for yourself does not make you inauthentic; it means you’re growing as a leader.

Physical Markers:

  1. Chest out

  2. Toes out

  3. Piercing eye contact

  4. Gestures: Steeple, Karate Chop, or Key Point

  5. Hands on hips

Verbal Markers:

  1. No fillers

  2. Interrupting to get back on track

  3. Louder volume than others

  4. Low pitch

  5. Remove qualifiers: I think, maybe, might, possibly, sort of, kind of, a little bit

Successful leaders are true to who they are while continually making small adjustments in how they carry themselves, how they communicate, and how they interact depending on the circumstances. Consider in advance how you want to be seen in a given situation and then choose markers that reinforce that style. If you want to be seen as a trusted adviser, lean attractive. If you want to be seen as a respected adversary, use the most powerful markers.

In our coaching, we have seen that style is a significant differentiating factor in the reputation and career success of leaders. A true blended style enables leaders to become powerful enough to be heard and attractive enough to be followed.

"If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader."


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