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Book Review: Leadership Presence Related Resources
Review of Leadership Presence
by Belle Linda Halpern and Kathy Lubar
Review by C.S. Clarke, Ph.D.

There are many thousands of books and articles on leadership. Ditto for those that mention leadership presence. I know how many thousands because before I wrote this review, I took the time to search for lists of titles that contain "leadership," "leader" and "leadership presence." (I searched separately for each). I also searched the web -- including Looksmart's FindArticles service -- for the same terms found in available articles. Then I ran a Google search for "leadership presence." Millions. A search for websites that offer leadership training. Millions. So why is this book special?

This book adds something very important to the literature on leadership. It explains clearly and simply what is "presence" and how to develop it in yourself. Whether you call it "stage presence," "command presence," "charisma," or one of the several other names we've give to the concept, it is a concept that has generally been difficult to convey to someone who doesn't already possess the talent. We know it when we see it. But how does a person become someone that is so intensely "there" that you can't miss them? What can you do to inspire attention and respect just by walking into a room? Doesn't every leader want his followers to believe him, trust him and do what he asks willingly and enthusiastically, just because it's him that is asking? Is there really a way to get that special something for ourselves? I've read dozens of books that are written by people who are highly qualified to teach and coach on leadership skills and leadership presence. I've scanned many others. Almost every author on leadership tries to pin down the elusive nature of presence and hold it still long enough to observe how to incorporate it into a skills package.

What the authors of Leadership Presence have done that's better than most is make it reasonably easy to understand and acquire. That is important because leadership presence is key to effectively running a successful organization of any size or kind. Much of what they say isn't new. Even the idea of using actor's techniques has been used before. It's how they put the package together that makes it more accessible to the average person.

Belle Linda Halpern and Kathy Lubar have been running workshops in leadership for over ten years, applying the principles and techniques they learned and developed in theater arts to the realm of business. Reading their book is like mentally participating in a workshop. Their stories, examples, explanations and instructional material are presented in the same format I have experienced in a number of seminars I've attended. Also, they've included exercise pages for the self-development techniques they teach, so when you've finished the book you'll probably have experienced many of the benefits of attending a workshop, without the travel or the cost.

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