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Leadership Presence

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For more than a decade, Belle Linda Halpern and Kathy Lubar have applied the lessons and expertise they have learned as performing artists to the work of their company, The Ariel Group. Halpern and Lubar have helped tens of thousands of executives at major companies around the country and the globe, including General Electric, Mobil Oil, Capital One, and Deloitte. In Leadership Presence, they make their time-tested strategies available to everyone, from high-profile CEOs to young professionals seeking promotion. Their practical, proven approach will enable you to develop the skills necessary to inspire confidence, command respect, build credibility, and motivate others.

Halpern and Lubar teach you:

* How to handle tough situations with heightened confidence and flexibility
* How to build your relationships to enhance collaboration and business development
* How to express yourself dramatically and motivate others
* How to integrate your personal values into communication to inspire others and become a more effective leader

Learning the skills of the true performance experts, readers will understand why Leadership Presence is the key to dynamic and authentic leadership.

304 pages, Paperback

First published October 13, 2003

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Belle Linda Halpern

3 books2 followers

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 35 reviews
Profile Image for Sarah Mladenka.
14 reviews6 followers
March 31, 2016
Amazing! I absolutely loved this book- I loved all the scenarios they used to get their ideas across. They really hit home!
81 reviews
April 4, 2023
ISBN – 978 1 59240086 7 Belle Halpern and kathy Lubar

I received this book as a bit of an assignment for our High performance training at my job. The book is full of examples of actors and performers stating axioms and advice on how to be genuine, get control of your emotions, conquer fear and really relating to and connecting to others. While I have seen much of the material in various places before I must say that I liked the approach of using actors as a manner to impart the knowledge and techniques on how to relate to others. Actors and performers have to be able to make this connection so I thought the example was a good one. I liked it because it caused me to realize this, since I am not a performer.

The book starts off talking about presence. That is, a leader must be present. It is more than just being there, it really refers to making a connection with others. Further, one of the purposes of the book is to emphasize that presence can be taught and learned. It is not a skill that you have or do not have. The authors give a lot of hints on how to be aware of your effect on others and how this may change the organization. The authors address anxiety or fear and state that everyone has it in various amounts. The authors make the point that great performers do not run from fear but “invite it into” their performance. This is interesting because it suggests that we can manage fear and even use it to our advantage. Halpern and Lubar make the point that we are adaptable and can change. It seems that that must be or their would not be much of a point on a book on how to actualize change in an organization. One point that I feel that really deserved a lot of attention was the idea of the individuals in the organization needing to rely on improvisation. This reminded me of a strategy class that I took in graduate school. Basically, actors and organizations need to be able to rely on their team to adapt and improvise. They need to be taught to cooperate and work together. The authors give the example of the “Fog of War” which comes from the Clausewitz book “On War.”The truth is that you never fight the war you plan for so your organization must learn to improvise. Great example and excellent book. The authors go on to state examples of where failure = success. They cover the famous 3M example of how a chemist trying to develop a strong glue found a weak glue. He later realized that this was perfect for another purpose and the “post it note” was born. This became a huge moneymaker for 3M. The authors state that allowing employees to have the freedom to do this type of thing is important and that leaders need to ensure there is no “judgement” or “bad” talk of employees that think differently. Further, everything should be written down and recorded so that it may be reviewed, revisited and rethought.

The authors describe 4 leadership styles: 1) Captain – rigorous with a can do attitude, 2) Conceiver – Inspired and creative, 3) Coach – empathetic to others and 4) Collaborator – Cooperator with extreme social skills. This sort of fits into the description of improvisation stated earlier. The authors do not go into great detail here but it is clear that some leaders have virtues from multiple categories. The authors talk about the need of the leader to be approachable and to see what people need and be able to adapt to manage people like they want to be managed. The leader needs to be genuine and make an honest attempt to be empathetic to others. Halpern and Lubar make the point that employees leave “managers” not “organizations.” I thought that this was well said. After all many employees that left places I have worked seemed to be more upset at an individual than the organization. The leader is often a problem solver and the authors state that the leader needs to turn off the problem solving from time to time and listen. Getting close to people is important for all people in an organization. However, this can be done in phases or stages and does not need to be done all at once. Leaders need to pay attention to feedback and respond when employees make an effort to approach them.

Another part of the book I enjoyed centered around speaking. The authors cover lots of material here and speak of great speakers such as MLK. The authors state to avoid the monotone, get help to overcome anxiety, be expressive, use powerful words, use posture, make eye contact, change your pitch and practice! The discussion on values is made and the use of stories in encouraged so that people can make a connection in their own lives. The book finishes up with self knowing and being authentic. While some of this was covered earlier I felt the idea of knowing one self is also important and this idea appears in many other books such as those written by Jack Welch. The authors make the point that it is management’s fault when good or bad things happen. I like the “buck stops here” implication here and many leaders need to learn to take responsibility. It is the job of the leader to find the “heroism” and determine the tone.

In general I liked the book. I felt that it had a direction with the acting references that I had not yet seen before. I also liked the sections after each chapter (I worked in some of this material above) that gave practical advice on how to achieve the points that the book made. For example, in the chapter on emotions it give lots of reasons why emotions help to make connections with others. At the end of the chapter it give a few pages of advice on how you might achieve this. It says, read to a child, review a list of emotions (provided for the reader) to see how your situation or presentation fits into them. I really thought that this “applied” perspective was good. I think it set this book apart from others because while much of the material may be found elsewhere the "acting” perspective and the “practices” part at the ends of the chapters made it easy to apply the material.

Mark D
Profile Image for David Steyer.
79 reviews2 followers
August 16, 2020
I first got this book back in 2015 when I was at Capital One. I had taken a class on leadership that involved storytelling. How to create a parable of something that had happened to me and was very personal and then relate it to the current situation. I never had a chance to really apply it as I felt that the Capital One - Chicago was a far cry from the Capital One that hosted the 9/11 telethon. That being said this is about the book.

The book prepares leaders by using the same techniques actors use to prepare for a scene, either in a play or TV show or movie. They use the PRES method of Present, Reaching Out, Expressing themselves, and being Self-Knowing. At the end of each major lesson, or ACT, they present lessons for you to try on your own. I am glad I finally read the book and recommend anyone pursuing leadership to read.
Profile Image for Vanessa.
42 reviews1 follower
August 28, 2017
I'm torn about this book. It started out with a bunch of platitudes and loose connections between acting and leadership in a business setting. I was about to set it down, which I rarely do with books. But I moved forward, and after about the halfway point it really started to get to the heart of leadership - inspiring people, connecting with them, and finding meaning in the work that you do. It touches on how to motivate your team and bring meaning into their lives, and how to be a visionary leader.

That being said, a lot of it is still fairly obvious. I'd say, overall, this would be a good read if you need to be reminded of why you do what you do. But there isn't anything mind-bending or new to come away with.
Profile Image for Spartos Cristyan.
2 reviews10 followers
June 20, 2020
Great book for those who would love discover themselves and learn how to grow as an authentic leader.
There's slot of ways you can evaluate yourself to figure out your weaknesses and turn them into strength. And for those who have encountered employees not communicating or resigning this book helps you know how to handle people I'm the most humane way possible.
I learnt that life can be limitless if you set your mind to it.
Profile Image for Karla.
654 reviews20 followers
January 27, 2022
Read as part of my employer's Women's Business Council. The authors, both actors, liken some of the characteristics of their trade to the qualities of inspiring leaders, and teach the reader how to improve their "presence." The book was an easy read and contained many helpful hints for connecting with and inspiring your team. Many of these hints can also be translated into personal life as well.
Profile Image for Hakim.
45 reviews1 follower
May 20, 2019
Good if you're into the whole self-help thing.
6 reviews
March 6, 2021
Easy read with lots of exercises, good reminders and some new lessons.

I took a lot of notes with this one.
Profile Image for Anshuman Tiwari.
12 reviews1 follower
August 10, 2017
Very interesting point of view on Executive/Leadership presence. Both authors are actors as well and share lessons and tips on how to use acting skills to improve Leadership Presence. I loved the fact that the authors kept reminding the reader that leadership is not all about presence only. It is only one facet, albeit an important one.

I received this book as course material in a training last year. The training included a one day workshop with accomplished actors and remains one of the best corporate learning sessions of my carer.
Profile Image for Marcelo Bahia.
86 reviews51 followers
November 16, 2019
This is just too bland to me, which is a pity. I was a client of The Ariel Group some years ago and both enjoyed the experience and took out some insights for life after a full day of work. I picked up this book to rehash the material in my head and in my day-to-day life. But as their engaging and well-crafted group exercises are substituted for these paper pages full of superficial and predictable anecdotes, the experience gets boring and I’m just not able to take much out of it. As you read this you just want it to end, while in their actual consulting the day is over much quicker than you wished. There are a few important and useful concepts in here - and the core one of the unexpected parallel between acting and leadership is one of them - but you’re probably better off hiring them directly.
9 reviews
March 16, 2013
More than anything, this book helped me understand better how to be a true leader and what a leader is. It's not about yourself! Most people aspire to leadership positions and advancements in their status because they want power, glory, and fame. This book nails it right on the spot. You will never become an effective leader unless you are generous to others. It's about what you can give to others. How you can help someone else. It is selfless, not selfish.

I love the approach they take on using the timeless lessons of acting to effectively lead in a business world. This book will help you widen your comfort zone if you do the activities they suggest.
Profile Image for Ko Matsuo.
541 reviews2 followers
October 14, 2015
Great book with a fresh approach to leadership focusing on lessons learned from professional actors. Their approach to leadership focuses on learning how to be Present, learning how to Reach Out to others, and learning how to be Authentic. I found the discussion around being Present and being Authentic to be most useful. An insight that I found useful is that great actors do not pretend, but apply their life experiences to bring out the truth of the moment in them. They are convincing because of their authenticity in revealing who they really are. Leaders can connect with people applying the same concept.
Profile Image for Chu Qiao.
191 reviews
January 4, 2016
a good book. It talks about how to be expressive. Your emotion drive your expressiveness. your genuineness make you connected with others. walk your talk. Close your gap there is always a gap, your congruity fill the gap, how to be congruent with your words, body, voice, and expression. read aloud children's books often to practice your voice, and twisted your pitches.

I think it is a great book , worth revisit sometime in the future. acting is not about actor, is to build connections with audience using values, emotions, and feelings. which all bring sensations about life and .
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Janine.
125 reviews10 followers
September 15, 2011
Very good guide for leaders drawing on insights gained from theater and acting. There is a heathly balance of lessons from actors, stories from big corporations and individual executives as well as as plain lessons for you and me. I recommend it to everyone who wants to bring some passion, empathy and authenticy to their work and personal life. It will help you connect more deeply with the ones you lead and with yourself.
Profile Image for Mark.
Author 1 book16 followers
December 2, 2013
In basic terms, this is a creative and pragmatic book about how to use tips and insights from acting and the stage to improve presentations skills. But at a deeper level, it offers great advice for developing confidence and "boardroom presence" by asking the reader to think about how he/she wants to come across as a leader, manager, or executive. A good and useful book for any executive's library, and one you'll likely return to later.
Profile Image for Legacy Dad.
89 reviews16 followers
November 28, 2009
thought this book had some admirable points but I also thought it was more geared for the Pre-90's Leadership Crowd. It touches on communication, empathy, active listening and inspiring subordinates by example. Most modern leadership books and courses preach these same points but it was still refreshing do revisit these concepts. Definitely some good nuggets of wisdom in here.
Profile Image for Michael Thimsen.
173 reviews5 followers
April 18, 2014
This was a remarkable book. With so many business/leadership books spouting the same boring pablum these days, this one took a different direction and related leadership to acting and stage presence. I can definitely say that applying some of the techniques in this book to some of my leadership activities made an immediate difference.
Profile Image for Valerie.
214 reviews2 followers
August 19, 2012
This book is a great read for actors who have day jobs. It helped me both with my daily interactions in the office, as well as in auditions. So many great anecdotes and lots of amazing advice. strong recommend.
Profile Image for David Ferreira Alves.
283 reviews4 followers
August 5, 2015
O melhor livro sobre liderança que li. Muito claro e intenso. Cada página exige reflexão e auto análise para incorporar a aprendizagem.
Quatro princípios de liderança e de vida. Fáceis de relembrar e que tentamos aplicar.
Profile Image for Jules.
688 reviews12 followers
June 23, 2017
Had to read this for a course I took at work, and it was reasonably worth it -- somewhat repetitive of material I'd covered in person (no fault of the authors, of course), but full of actionable tips for leading authentically and bringing an audience closer to you and your message.
Profile Image for Kasey.
25 reviews3 followers
January 29, 2008
The book details how to use skills from acting to be a better leader. I found it fascinating and helped me think about public speaking differently and becoming more comfortable meeting new people.
Profile Image for John Hibbs.
114 reviews5 followers
February 5, 2009
One of the best leadership books I have ever read. Uses acting as a allegorical background for developing yourself into a leader. Definitely worth your time.
2 reviews
October 6, 2015
If you have worked in the corporate world more than five years you already know most everything in this book. Not recommended.
Profile Image for Kevin Preston.
88 reviews
June 6, 2015
This was a great book about how to exhibit more leadership presence. I loved the tips and the relationship to acting skills.
Profile Image for Renee Rubin Ross.
80 reviews15 followers
October 5, 2015
Really liked this. As others have said, good information about using theories from acting to be a more expressive leader. I'd like to buy a copy to have for reference in the future.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 35 reviews

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