There is no glamour in travel. It’s just plain exhausting, don’t you agree? Being held captive in a giant tube with minimal space, surrounded by strangers is not my cup of tea, but I’ve discovered a silver lining: seat 14A can be a great place to think.

As executive coaches, Liz and I crisscross the country, sharing our combined 60 years of broadcast experience with our clients. They seek our counsel on high level communications skills and the number one question we get from executives on the rise is: “What does leadership presence really mean and how can I get it?”

Last year, on a flight from Boston to Dallas, I was inspired by the lone star state and had an epiphany.

                     Leadership presence = Star Power

This big beautiful star you see here on your screen is there for a reason. Grab a pen and paper and draw your own star.

At the center of your star is competence. Let’s all agree that you can’t “fake it til you make it”. You are where you are in your career because you are exceptional at what you do. You get the job done. You are competent.

In the upper left hand part of your star, write trustworthiness. You say what you mean and you mean what you say. You tell the truth, even when it hurts. Your word is as good as gold. You are trustworthy.

In the lower left hand part of your star, write authenticity. You reveal yourself to others so that there is no mystery about who you are, what your values are, and what makes you tick. You are authentic.

Let’s move to the upper right side of your star and write the word inspiration.  A leader is a role model and a mentor. Your actions, your ideas inspire others to follow you. You are inspiring.

In the lower right hand side of your star, write the word passion. Without passion, it is impossible to accomplish great things. A leader must believe in the mission with energy and passion.

And finally, we have the empty spot, at the top of your star. This coveted spot belongs to the word vision. A leader is someone who knows where he or she is going. A leader sees possibility and seizes opportunity where others see nothing at all. He or she keeps an eye on the future. A leader has vision.

These six attributes create “Star Power” and that is the formula for leadership presence. Here’s an idea: keep your star in your desk drawer and pull it out from time to time to see how you are doing.  

In our next newsletter, I’ll reveal the one attribute that can trump competence. But, that’s another plane ride!

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