Focus on Exuding Competence::Warmth

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Connecting with the people in meaningful ways has been a challenge over the past two years and with talk of “hybrid work” on the rise, it looks like it’s not going away anytime soon. Whether you work virtually, are settling back into an office environment, or doing a mix of both, navigating the polarity of Exude Competence::Exude Warmth is vital to connecting with your team and organization.

According to Amy Cuddy and her colleagues, there are two main things people look for when connecting with leaders—do they have the ability, skills, and strength to lead me where we’re going, and will they care about and support me as a person while we get there? Machiavelli claimed uniting both in a single person is difficult so it’s “safer to be feared than loved.” We’re not sure we agree, and would side with Cuddy and her colleagues that it’s better to be in a Third Way that reaps the benefits of being both loving (warm), and strong (competent).

Showing up strong and competent is crucial. Leaders need to be confident with their expertise and ideas. But without warmth, care, and connection, confidence becomes arrogance and limits leadership effectiveness. Exude Competence::Exude Warmth is about showing up strong and assured while also having humility and empathy. It’s the combination that leads to connection—no matter what environment you’re working in.

Questions to Consider:

  • In what ways can you ensure you are demonstrating both warmth and competence in a virtual or hybrid work world?
  • Can you identify instances where you experienced someone using either of these poles in the virtual world? What does it look like to effectively Exude Competence (or Warmth) when not in the same room as someone?
  • Are you able to see a preference for one of the poles in your behavior? What can you do to expand your style to get the benefits of the other pole without losing the benefits of your current style?
Exude Competence::Warmth

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