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Leadership Presence Paperback – October 14, 2004

4.6 out of 5 stars 35 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

What can leaders learn from actors? Stage presence, say Halpern and Lubar, former entertainers themselves and cofounders of the Ariel Group, a corporate training and coaching firm. In this first book, they translate stage presence into the PRES model. PRES, an acronym for being Present, Reaching out, Expressiveness and Self-knowing, represents the four qualities that make up leadership presence "the ability to connect authentically with the thoughts and feelings of others, in order to motivate and inspire them toward a desired outcome." Although the content is aimed at so-called soft leadership skills, the book follows a highly practical model. Each of the four characteristics is discussed in a tightly organized section that boils down to three rules and three guidelines for understanding and applying the quality. Each chapter is supported by a series of useful practice exercises, including some solid advice for dealing with stage fright. Most of the examples used in the book are drawn from either acting or business; the business examples are derived from common situations (how to handle a presentation, connect with the workforce in a new job, relate to co-workers and subordinates). As the book progresses, the "acting as leadership" metaphor gets a bit strained, but the techniques and tactics remain appropriate for the business audience. Using the craft of acting as the delivery medium is an entertaining twist on the typical interpersonal skills book, even if thoughtful readers may be hard-pressed to accept the intimate connection between acting and business leadership claimed by the authors.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"As a leader, you are always in the spotlight. Leadership Presence teaches how to be masterful under that bright light...connecting more profoundly to those you lead and to yourself. A thought-provoking and highly practical guide to realizing your leadership potential."
—Jay Conger, Professor, London Business School, Author, Building Leaders

"Based on years teaching senior executives at the Columbia Business School I can say that the ideas in this book are easy to apply and make a dramatic difference in leadership effectiveness. Infused with the magic of theater and illustrated with compelling stories, Leadership Presence is a fantastic resource for executives and executive educators!"
—Professor Michael J. Fenlon, Associate Dean for Executive MBA Programs, Columbia Business School

"In Leadership Presence, Halpern and Lubar reveal what great leaders have always known: that the secret to having a commanding presence isn't about personal power, but about empowering others. Its inspiring stories will speak to anyone who interacts with others. It will be especially useful for experienced leaders who feel they aren't coming across as powerfully as they'd like."
—Kenneth H. Blanchard, Co-author of The One Minute Manager and Full Steam Ahead!

"The foundation of success in business (and in life) is the ability to authentically engage and connect with others. Using the profession of acting as the perfect metaphor, this book is a masterful guide for achieving true leadership success. I loved the mix of personal stories from clients and well-known actors and found Leadership Presence to be a powerful teaching tool. This book isn't just for business leaders, it's for anyone who wants to bring more passion, empathy and presence to all their relationships. I highly recommend it!"
—Cheryl Richardson, author of Take Time for Your Life and Stand Up for Your Life

"The ability to inspire and move others is difficult to define, yet impossible to ignore. Leadership Presence unlocks the secrets of one of the most decisive and powerful aspects of human communication. If you want to better understand and develop leadership presence in yourself and others, read this book. Like its subject, this book is compelling – and impossible to ignore."
—James E. Copeland, Jr., Former Chief Executive Officer, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu

"Finally there is a book where the insights of theatre, transformation and organizational learning have been brought together. Leaders of organizations have much to learn from those who have spent their lives understanding the nature of performance, keeping the beat going, and the power of truly showing up. In the end, productive and humane institutions depend on the integration of art and commerce. This book is a great beginning."
—Peter Block, Author, The Answer to How Is Yes, Stewardship, Flawless Consulting, and Empowered Manager

"It is relatively easy to describe what makes a leader, it's teaching people how to communicate the qualities of leadership that is difficult. Leadership Presence does just that. It doesn't just tell you what to do, it tells you how to do it."
—Mark C. Mazzarella, Co-author of Reading People and Put Your Best Foot Forward

"Using the craft of acting as the delivery medium is an entertaining twist on the typical interpersonal skills book."
Publishers Weekly

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Avery; Reprint edition (October 14, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1592400868
  • ISBN-13: 978-1592400867
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #118,135 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Greg L. Thomas on February 16, 2004
Format: Hardcover
At weLEAD we naturally receive hundreds of books on the subject of leadership from virtually every perspective and approach. We will give Leadership Presence credit for a truly novel and effective approach. Unlike most leadership authors Belle Linda Halpren and Kathy Lubar do not come from a strictly business school, military or academic background. It may be the very reason why this book is so enjoyable to read! The authors are highly skilled actresses and taught acting skills in Repertory Theater. Many of the students they had were various professionals including teachers, doctors, businesspeople and others. Because these individuals were able to use the theatre skills they acquired effectively in the workplace, the authors founded the Ariel Group in 1992. Since that time the Ariel Group has presented workshops to over 30,000 executives. This book is a result of that effort and the results achieved.

The main theme of Leadership Presence is simple yet profound. The authors define Leadership Presence as the "ability to connect authentically with the thoughts and feelings of others in order to motivate and inspire them to achieve a desired outcome". Throughout the book you will find a special emphasis on the word "authentic". This is not a book about motivating or manipulating others by using acting skills or pretence. It is a book that focuses on learning to authentically connect with the minds and hearts of others to effectively lead. Far too many business leaders conduct themselves in ways they think their executive roles require, rather than being themselves based on their heartfelt values. The result is that they come across as inauthentic and this breeds a lack of trust.
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Format: Hardcover
Why is it when some actors take the stage they automatically command the attention of the audience? It doesn't matter if they are not the most important part of the scene - they still command the audience's attention even when in the background. These people have a sense of presence; their very being and bearing demands respect. That ability to command respect is what this book is about. How does a real leader create this sense of presence such that he or she automatically has the attention and respect of those they lead?
The authors define presence as "the ability to connect authentically with the thoughts and feelings of others". While business has generally ignored this sense of presence and assumed that people will be led simply because they are employees, the acting profession lives or dies by this sense of presence. Business is now struggling to create loyal employees who think for theirselves and have a sense of being a part of a larger community. Business is looking for great leaders.
To help find or create these great leaders there has been a plethora of books about the attributes of great leaders; they communicate well, they treat others as important, etc. The difference between most management or leadership books and this one can best be illustrated by the art of dance. A good dancer can be mechanically perfect. Every twist, every turn, every leap is exactly as it should be, but still the dance is boring. On the other hand a dancer who truly feels and moves to the music as it were a part of their self creates a thing of beauty to see. That is where this book differentiates itself from the other books on leadership. The others are typically descriptions of what makes good leaders - the mechanics of the perfect dance.
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Format: Hardcover
I found the highly readable Leadership Presence to be satisfying on many levels. It is enjoyable to read, with many grippping stories that support the authors' discussion of what makes an effective leader. It feels useable, as it has practical applications listed at the end of each chapter, written clearly as exercizes that anyone could do. The authors have a great deal of experience working with a wide variety of buisnesses, large and small,and they draw from this wealth of experience in presenting their innovative approach to the art of leadership.
This book outlines the principles of acting and applies them to what it takes to be an effective leader; even more, on what it takes to be an effective person in any realm in communicating with others. I related strongly to the ideas in this book -- as a drama teacher, as one who works with middle schoolers and a community of teachers and parents, and even as a mother of two daughters. Even though I was familiar with many of the ideas that related to acting, I saw these ideas presented in a different context, and I believe the book will be a great reference for me in work and in the rest of my life. I plan to give a copy to my middle school principal, and to my rabbi--as I was reading, I thought of many people who would enjoy and benefit from this book. I highly recommend it!
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Format: Hardcover
The first few paragraphs of the Foreword by Warren Bennis tip you off that Leadership Presence is an unusual and heady business leadership book.
Authors Halpern and Lubar are convincing and clear. Their anecdote-filled guide is profound without being heavy or treacly. Leadership Presence offers meaty chapters and practical exercises that are fun and helpful to readers, suggestive of the benefits to corporate groups who take Ariel Group seminars - and often keep coming back for more.
Halpern and Lubar are classy and serious with just enough humor to make this different self-improvement book an exhilarating read. Inspiring, almost like a novel with characters you care about, Leadership Presence is amazing. You won't be able to put it down.
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