Posted by: Viviana M. Rueda Image | March 25, 2009

The Image of Leadership

This past week I had the pleasure of hearing three very talented women speak at the City of West Hollywood’s Women in Leadership panel.  Cecilia Moreno, publisher and editorial director of GENLUX magazine, Marianne Lowenthal executive vice president of development for Combined Properties and Bonnie Niijst, president and CEO of Zeesman Communications, Inc. shared with the audience how confidence plays a role in their individual images and leadership plays a role in their lives.  This engaging panel inspired me to write about The Image of Leadership.

When I think of leadership, I think of the people whose images have inspired me, such as my Father, Pope John Paul II, and Viola Vaughn to name only a few.  All of these people have four attributes that scream leadership:

Faith – Without faith what do we have?  Faith helps us wake up in the morning, faith allows a true leader to see beyond the chaos and disaster and faith keeps a leader with her feet firmly on the ground. On the leadership panel Cecilia Moreno entertained the audience by recounting the story behind the movie 300 with a great deal of energy and humor.  She spoke about how there was no room for weakness of heart and in her retelling of the story of Leonidas and his 300 warriors, I was reminded of how important faith is for a leader.  In order for Leonidas to pit his army against Xerxes’ army (who reportedly outmanned him by more than 41 times)  he had to have faith – Faith in his leadership, faith in his men and faith in his belief that they could make a stand.

Work – Have you ever met a respected leader who didn’t work hard?   They don’t exist, because in order to be a good leader, it takes hard work and dedication.  In order for people to follow you, they have to believe that you walk the talk.  I think of Nike’s tag line, “just do it”, as you’ll notice, the tag line doesn’t say “just have someone else do it for you”.

Tenacity – What leader can say that they reached a point where it seems as if there is no way that they can continue?  Every single one of them I’m sure, and what makes them true leaders is that they process that thought and move on quickly presenting an image of tenacity and resilience to those they lead.  Can you imagine if your leader was wishy-washy and said things like “I’m not sure I can go on”?  How would that fly?  Check out the Celebrity Apprentice show where Claudia Jordan gets fired, as Joan Rivers said “she’s mushy” aka lacking in tenacity – That’s how it flies.

Humility – I recently lost my father, and as expected, one remembers the many wonderful qualities of the deceased loved one.  My father was an entertaining, fun-loving, wonderful husband, amazing father, stalwart brother and a good son.  These things I have always known about him, but I had forgotten how respected he was as a leader.  At his wake I was brought to tears time and time again when people with whom he worked with for over 30 years and youngsters whom he was just beginning to lead shared with me how he made an impact on their lives.  My father had a great deal of humility – It made him a great leader and a great man.

As you present your image and personal brand to the world every day, reflect on your leadership qualities and how they make an impact on others.


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