“Here are 14 things every leader should consider if they want to make an unforgettable first impression. Read them carefully and ask yourself which ones you are doing and which ones you still need to introduce.
1_Warm greeting. Being nice, attentive and making good eye contact is what is expected. A leader’s ability to find areas of commonality with their employees by telling stories that humanize their persona increases their likeability factor.
2_Polished. Employees respect a leader that projects strong executive presence. Beyond presence, they want body language that is non-threatening and a polished demeanor (everything from manner of speaking and actions towards others to dress code and grooming). When you are respectful towards others, employees are proud to be associated with you – whether in front of clients or family and friends.
3_Friendly; engaging. Not every leader comes across as friendly. In fact, they may be so focused on work to the point of social awkwardness. Leaders that genuinely care about their employees and make an effort to engage with them —starting with a powerful first impression— will go a long way.
4_Represents their authentic self. Being authentic is about consistently representing who you are and what you stand for — in everything you do and how you do it. When leaders can be themselves, others feel free to do the same without the pretense of asking permission.
5_Good listeners. The best leaders listen to their employees because they want to learn about them and from them. Employees that genuinely believe that their opinions and points of view matter to their leaders are the ones that fully engage.
6_Are interested in what matters to employees. Beyond listening, leaders that encourage employees to ask them the tough questions will quickly begin to build camaraderie and trust with their employees. Open-minded leaders that are interested in what matters to employees and make them feel safe to express the truth are the ones that build loyalty with their workforce.
7_Embrace differences and acknowledge accomplishments. Leaders that embrace individuality and differences in thought and know how to strategically apply them to stimulate growth, innovation and new opportunities for the business are widely accepted by their employees.
8_Knowledgeable. This may seem obvious, but never assume that the leader knows the dynamics of the business as much as you might think. Respected leaders are students of the business, constantly studying and looking for ways to improve, adapt and course correct to market conditions.
9_Accessibility. Leaders that are accessible inspire their employees and cultivate an entrepreneurial attitude that helps the organization fuel its competitive advantage.
10_Sense of humor. A leader that brings a positive uplifting attitude fuels excitement in the workplace. When a leader has a sense of humor, it balances the intensity that exists in a high-performance organization.
11_Vulnerability. Leaders leave a positive first impression when they don’t flaunt their power and influence. Vulnerability is a powerful driver of employee engagement that most leaders are too proud to reveal. We must not forget that everyone has problems, they are just packaged differently.
12_Consistency. A leader with a consistent style and approach towards others and the business is a mature leader who knows how to work well with others and is effective under pressure and in the trenches. A consistent leader is also the one that knows herself well enough to invest in the development of her personal brand – and has grown confident enough to live it every day. Consistency is important in a leader’s ability to earn the trust and loyalty of others.
13_Lead by example. Too many leaders observe the game, rather than activate themselves into it. When you lead by example, you set the tone for the organization and employees will respect you more for your ability and the energy you bring – rather than just your job title.
14_Motivational. Leaders today must be motivational and inspire hope. With the uncertainty that seems to never go away, employees need a leader that will help get them past the finish line. Employees enjoy working with leaders that know how to activate the best in everyone and will go above the call of duty for them.
What will make these 14 unforgettable first impressions even more powerful is your ability to continue applying them – consistently and continuously.”
Glenn Llopis for Forbes