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Xenonex asks – does your leadership image matter?

As a leader, whether it's of a large team in FTSE 100 or a small team in a SME, image matters. Regularly visiting colleges and working with further education leaders across the UK I’m pleased to say that the majority of people I meet understand how important image is.


Most leaders are aware of  the impact their image can have (both positive and negative) in their success, whether that’s working with colleagues at the same level, your team, stakeholders or learners within the college.

So how do you develop a strong leadership 'brand' and what kinds of traits should you be projecting to be seen as an effective and impressive leader?

Here are some top tips from PR & image expert Richard Hillgrove


“The entire process of resonating, shining bright and unlocking charisma is about stripping back the layers of false selves and working only with your true self.  It all starts with your face”

Leaders may have a distorted view of how they come across – which can form a disconnect with the people they are trying to influence or sell to and, ultimately, lead. Instead, you should embrace who you are based on what your face says about you. “What emotion does your face signify on a spectrum between extreme pessimism and extreme optimism? It’s like a Mr. Men chart: Are you Mrs. Quizzical, Mr. Puzzled or Mr Happy? Once you see where you inherently sit you can fit everything else around that.”


Understanding your persona – or cartoon Mr. Men stereotype – can, Hillgrove believes, help any manager or leader.

So how can you ascertain which stereotype you are? You have to ask yourself what your purpose is – what you stand for and what makes you tick. Are you, for example, ‘fighting for fairness’ or more easily recognised as a quiet sort. “When your image is simplified down to these core basics, it allows you to seamlessly utilise internal communication and external communication to great effect,” says Hillgrove.


Communication skills are also, of course, vital, regardless of your image stereotype.  Speaking in a calm and controlled manner, breathing properly and having a good posture all help convey the right image.

We’ll help you develop a strong, confident & effective leadership team able to successfully manage the challenges colleges face.
Advance – City & Guilds’ further education consultancy service provides in-house leadership and management programmes for middle managers and senior leaders in partnership with expert FE management & leadership consultants and trainers from Xenonex and KPMG.

The Leadership & Management development - senior leader’ programme includes a module ‘Impact, profile & presence’ that will support leaders in developing a strong leadership brand. The programme also covers seven other modules that will support your leaders in operating at the highest levels.

This article first appeared in inspire, ILM's publication for HRDs and L&D professionals

For more information call 01423 876371 or email jo.watson@xenonex.co.uk


Suzanna Prout