Leadership is about having confidence. Research shows confident individuals are seen to be more competent, credible and likable. It is difficult to put our trust in leaders that appear to lack confidence. Confidence is defined by the way you occupy the space around you. This is habitual and we may not think too much about it. However how we are occupying this space is a reflection of what we believe about ourselves.
If you walk into a room and take up as little space as possible, you are communicating that what you have to say isn’t important and you are not worthy as a leader.
Want others to take you seriously?
respect your opinion and value what you bring to the table?
Walk into that room owning the space around you.
This obviously is easier said than done. It can feel really uncomfortable behaving and moving in a different way than usual in front of others. The idea of taking up more space can feel quite daunting and "just not me".
I was thinking about this the other day when I got on a crowded train at rush hour. There was hardly anywhere to stand, let alone sit. I had the uncomfortable sensation of others in my personal space. In this moment I was very aware that the space around me was my space and that there were others in it.
Generally we can think of taking up more space as a way of conveying greater leadership confidence. But my experience on the train made me think of a more useful concept, and one that is easier to put into practice, is to simply take ownership of the space that already belongs to you.
If we were to think this way, if we were to claim the space around us as already belonging to us, how would this change the way that we stood, walked, entered a room or interacted with others?
Find out for yourself. Below are five helpful tips to get you owning your space and communicating that you have leadership confidence.
#1. Move with purpose
Think about moving with purpose. Focus on where you are going, how you are moving your body and why. Look ahead.
#2. Fully face others
Turn your entire body toward the person you are speaking to. Your feet, hips, chest and head should all be pointing to the person you are communicating with. Align your body and fully face others you approach.
#3. Embrace your height, width, depth
Think about embracing your full height, width and depth. Don't exaggerate it, just embrace it. Straighten your spine, incorporate the width of your arms and the depth of your body. Feel (and look) comfortable in your skin.
#4. Be solid
Stand solid with both feet placed firmly on the ground with your legs hip-width apart. This will keep you from slouching, swaying, or twisting up your body. Let your spine support you.
#5. Use your arms
Use your arms to take up more space. Use them, with purpose, in conversation. Allow them to simply hang down at your side. Do not cross them, fold them or hide them away.