When a great leader walks into a room, chances are you can feel it instantly. There is something intangible that they exude that compels everyone to pay attention, give respect, and listen to what they have to say. That is what leadership presence is. It’s the way you carry yourself, command the attention of everyone, and make an impact with everything you say and even with what you don’t say. How do you cultivate that as part of your personal brand as a leader? Joining us on this forum is Natalie Jobity, an author, speaker, and Personal Brand Strategist at TheUnveiledWay.com. Natalie explains the key elements to leadership presence – Command, Communication, Confidence, and Clothing – and how each one can be optimized to cultivate the leader’s brand that you want to convey. She also talks about her book, It’s Your Time to Shine Girl, and what it has to offer, especially to emerging women leaders who struggle with leaning into their brilliance and showing up as themselves. Tune in and be empowered by Natalie’s powerful and practical message to every aspiring leader!
It’s great to have you all here. If you’re here for the very first time, welcome, and if you’re coming back for the 50th time or 100th time, we’ve been doing this a while, so we’re always grateful. We’re grateful that you give us your time. A little bit about the People Strategy Forum, we are discussing Cultivating Your Leadership Presence with Natalie Jobity.
Our main mission is to help engage, energize, and elevate your employees and your company. We do that by having a panel of hosts. They show up each and every week and they have expertise and backgrounds in different industries and different skillsets. We also add in a guest speaker. Things are always different here. There are lots of values and things that you can take away. I’ll introduce our panel here.
We have Char, who is a former HR professional turned entrepreneur living in different parts of the world. She is based in Mexico now. She has also been a career coach, and she has so much experience in starting and running successful businesses. We also have Sumit, who is a People Strategist and excels in many areas of human resources. He consults for many different companies. He’s helped with diversity and inclusion with mergers and so much more.
We also have Howard who is part of the CompTeam. He specializes in giving modern-day solutions to companies in the areas of compensation. He helps with their strategy, helps them get away from the old way of doing compensation, and gives them newer software so that they can run more efficiently. That brings me to the lovely guest speaker that we have. We have Natalie Jobity, and she is such an accomplished woman. I’m so excited to have her here.
She is a Transformational Leadership Coach. She is an author, a speaker, and a Personal Brand Strategist. She has many years of experience working in image consulting, marketing, and entrepreneurship. Her website is TheUnveiledWay.com and she is overall awesome. I love her energy. She’s from Trinidad and Tobago. We’re discussing where it is on the map. As I said, we’re an international group, but she’s in Maryland. That’s where she’s based out of.
We’re very excited to dive in. She has been so generous. I encourage you to stay until the end of the forum because she has six different things that we’re giving away. There are many goodies, like links. A lot of it’s free. Hang on to the end so that you can continue your journey with Natalie. Let’s head it over to Natalie and Sam. Thank you so much for being here, Natalie. I’m so excited to see what we come up with here on the forum.
It’s great to be here. Thank you so much.
Natalie, I know that you’ve done so much and we are so busy. I know you have so many programs to tell us about here at the end of our discussion, but can you tell us where it all started? What gave you this passion to help leaders in the way you develop their presence and so forth?
It’s been a journey. All of us know we evolve into the roles we are in at different phases in our lives. I don’t think I saw myself doing this. I start off my career with three degrees and end up in marketing research. I was very good at my job and my role, but I knew that it was not my purpose. I was so good at it that I rose through the ranks and spent my career there for over fifteen years. Somewhere along the way, I was like, “I need to figure out what I’m supposed to be doing.”
It’s interesting because I have a creative side of me and a very strategic brain. With the clients I work with now, I get it. We always think we have to choose one or the other. I was using my strategic brain and all those things in my career, but I wanted to see what my creative side would blossom into. The image consultant popped into my radar, and I was like, “I have to do this thing.” I love fashion, style, empowering people, dressing for success, and all that stuff. It spoke to my spirit.
I left my very lucrative career at the time and jumped into entrepreneurship totally on a passion and energy or whatever. It brought so many interesting fruits that I would’ve never imagined. I was on TV doing interviews. I wrote a bestselling book on style. The biggest part is working with so many women and seeing how helping them with their visual presentation, how it boosted their confidence, and how it changed the game for some of them entirely.
Even reading my book, I would have reviewers say things like, “You changed my life.” I knew I was trying to make an impact, but making that impact was so humbling. In the journey of me being an image consultant, at some point, my strategic brain was like, “I need some more input. I need to be using leverage more.” It started to get a little bit too rote for me. I needed some more challenges and more things to think about. I went on another journey of, “What am I supposed to do now? I thought this was my thing.” That took a while to figure out what it would be.
The coaching seed was planted, and when I started to get into that, I realized I had another gift entirely with my words, conviction, and insights to help people see what they’re meant to do, see their potential, and see how they could shine brilliantly, not from an output perspective, but coming from the inner-outer. That confidence that comes from inside coming out and the impact that we can have when we are in our brilliance, that is what literally lights me up and gets me so engaged and so excited. That’s the purpose of my work now. I’m helping women and a few good men to be in their brilliance, to operate from their finest, highest, best version of themselves that’s possible to make the greatest impact in their arenas.
I know when you’re mentioning making an impact, for yourself and for leaders, I find that that is so important. As we develop in our careers and become more accomplished, that seems to be what makes the difference and what matters the most. It’s almost like, “I’m successful now. Now it’s about how much value we can create for people and the people that work for us and so forth.” Do you agree with that?
Absolutely. One of the words I keep using now is legacy. It’s about what legacy am I leaving in this domain, this role, the planet, the world. What is my imprint? What is me being here? How is it going to matter at the end of the day? I don’t know if everybody feels this, but I certainly know that in the end, it doesn’t matter how much money I’ve made. It matters who remembers me, what I did for them, and what was life, perspective, or whatever was changed because of their interaction with me. Who did I make a difference for? At the end of the day, that’s what matters to me.
With the clients I work with, it comes from that place of impact. If the person doesn’t care about the impact and they care about money, then we are not a good fit because that is not the driver for to be aligned with the people that I help and the people who want to make an impact. That has to matter to them as much as it matters to me. Nothing’s wrong with money. Money is great. We all want to live nice, healthy, comfortable lives and that’s obviously important. To me, if it’s the driver, then I feel like one is missing the purpose or part of why we are here. We are all here for a reason. We’re all alive and doing the things we’re doing for a purpose, and to be walking that purpose and making that mark to me is the point.We are all here for a reason. We’re all alive and doing the things we’re doing for a purpose. Walking that purpose and making that mark is the point. Click To Tweet
Something that a lot of people have discovered here over the past several years is that there’s more to work and life that we need to be concerned about. That’s brought to the forefront. What have you experienced over the past several years in leadership in your coaching practice?
It’s my own evolution. This idea of leadership and being a leader can be intimidating for a lot of women especially. We think like, “Maybe I’m good at this so I do this, but am I really a leader?” For me, it is the clarification and the revelation that so many of us are leaders and we are walking like, “You don’t know we are leaders.” If we’re unaware and we’re not posturing as the leaders that we are, even for me personally, this notion of me coaching leaders meant that I also led. Even though I’d led in the past, I didn’t think I was leading as a coach. The revelation came to me that anything that has an impact where you are impacting lives and where you’re putting yourself out there, leadership is about people.
We all know it’s about people. It’s people first. When you’re engaged with people in any way that’s making a difference, to me, you’re in leadership. We don’t have to make the word this unattainable intimidating thing. For me, the revelation was I’m a leader and the people I work with are leaders or leaders in the making. It’s about showing, spotlighting, and guiding people along that journey to see how they can be the best version of the leader that they are designed to be. Leadership looks differently at different people. The old way of seeing things was a leader has to do this or be this, look like this, or act this. What I’m trying to put out here in the marketplace is that there’s no one style of leadership.
It’s all very unique and differentiated. If we can all lean into that, we’d have a world and a marketplace of leaders who are doing amazing things because we’re all doing the things where we are aligning, where we best shine, and where we best make the input. When we try to fit into the mold of the old way of doing things or the standard, then it’s some of us don’t fit those molds very well at all. We don’t get to thrive and do well because that’s not meant for us. Being authentic, I love that leadership.
One of the biggest issues that a lot of managers or leaders face is that, one day, they’re an individual contributor and then they’re made into a manager. Over time, there’s this metamorphosis into what’s called leadership. A lot of times, people feel they’re moving into that manager role and have that Imposter syndrome, “What do I know? I’m brand new. How do I lead these people? How do I help them out and be successful?” How do you help leaders overcome that Imposter syndrome?
Such a big thing. At the end of the day, it’s all about mindset and our inner game. Imposter syndrome, the stats have shown that more women suffer from that than men. Of course, men suffer and struggle with it too. I’ve quoted that Michelle Obama shared publicly that she still struggles with it sometimes on the stages. She’s like, “Why am I here? Do I deserve to be here?” It’s not about what you are able to do or what you’ve accomplished. Imposter syndrome is that whole notion of, “I don’t belong. I don’t fit in. I’m not deserving or qualified,” or whatever.
The path that I take to help my clients, so many of us, and they all struggle with things like that or insecurities and self-doubt is to go back to what you are bringing. What do you have to offer? What makes you exceptional? It is having them embrace their brilliance. Brilliance is a word that I use all the time, but it means all your expertise, all your super-secret sources, all your superpowers, all the things that you do so well that you don’t even see that you’re doing them so well, how can you embrace your brilliance and know that you bring this and this matters in this domain? There’s that part, and then there’s a part of when that imposter starts to chat, how can you talk back to that imposter? A lot of times, people say, “No, I don’t want to hear that voice. Shut up.”
There’s a gentler way to speak to that imposter. You can say, “Imposter, I see you criticize.” I used to say, “Give it a name.” Let’s say Sally. “Sally, I see you. I see what you’re doing. You’re trying to protect me, and I want to let you know that I appreciate that, but now I don’t need your protection. Buzz off,” in a nice, funny way. That approach to our imposter makes it less scary. It’s a gentler approach to managing that narrative. The imposter is birthed from those negative mindsets or old narratives that we were told or things where you have believed in that make the imposter come alive.
Usually, when we are on the cusp of doing something more visible or more influential, that’s when the imposter is loudest. It’s those transitional points when we are about to be even more in our brilliance, that we have to work with our mindset and our inner game, get our confidence in the place it needs to be, and quiet that voice and listen to the truth of who we are, what we bring, what we are about, and why we are here.
At the end of the day, remind ourselves that t’s not about us per se. It’s about our being in service to the people that we are meant to serve. Yes, we all have personal brands. I care about that and it matters, but it’s not about me as much as what my impact will be. If we can remind ourselves about that more often, the imposter will be quieter.
I want to say I wish I had met you earlier in my career because of that. I struggled with having a boss that said I had to have power due. He said that I needed to dye my hair darker and that I’m going to come across as some ditzy blonde. Needless to say, his boss promoted me to HR manager a month after he told me that and relocated me to Seattle. I was like, “I guess I don’t need to chop my hair off and make it black.” When I was in that position and I had that little voice in my head, I had that former HR manager telling me, “You don’t look the part of an HR manager. You don’t look like an HR person. You need to look different and act different. You need to stop twirling your hair,” which I have worked on.
No offense, gentlemen, but I was sitting in a room of older gentlemen at the time because I was only 26 years old as their HR manager, and it was very intimidating at times. It was very intimidating because I was standing up to the president and saying things about the culture and things that needed to change in the organization. I remember thinking, “I’m going to lose my job because I don’t belong here.”
To step into my own back then now as I matured, I started to learn that. Having someone like you as a coach, no matter what, if you’re an entrepreneur or if you’re in the corporate environment, everybody needs a coach. I’ve said this. You mentioned Michelle Obama, but even her husband, as president, needed a coach. Everyone needs a coach.
You’re speaking my language exactly because we all have back to who’s in our circle, who’s in our head, and whose voices we are hearing. Sometimes it’s our boss. Sometimes it could be our family. Those who dismiss or diminish our power and potential can get so loud. As women, so many of us thought, “We are not supposed to look this way or do this together.”
For my culture, the Caribbean culture, women were literally like, “Don’t speak out. Don’t stand out too much.” I’m six feet tall. I always bring this up because it was like, “I don’t want to be this tall,” but I am and I didn’t want people to notice me all the time, but they did. When I go back home now, people still look at me a certain way. I’m like, “Get over it. I’m six feet tall. It’s okay.” It is this whole notion that I couldn’t shine because I didn’t have what it takes. What you shared is so common, Char. Many people have bosses, colleagues, or people in their work professional environment who are literally tearing them down and then that voice becomes so loud that the person can’t believe in their own brilliance. Somebody has to say they’re wrong and they’re believing that person more than themself.
I always tell my clients this. “My objective perspective and I have no attachment to whatever outcome happens with you, I’m here for you, whatever you need. Having that reason, that foundation, that truth, that person who’s there to support, uplift, build you up, and also challenge you and give you a different way of seeing things, everybody needs that. I need that.” I love that you brought that up because I wouldn’t have said it, but it’s so true because even those of us who have accomplished like the Obamas and whoever, all the people, the Oprahs of the world, need mentors. Oprah had Maya Angelou as her mentor. We all need those mentors and people, our champions.The Oprahs of the world need mentors. We all need a mentor. Click To Tweet
What do you think, Sumit? We’re all, for instance, not experts in everything. There are areas that we want to excel in. Having a person come in and help us develop in some of those areas is quite critical. Also, there are plenty of things that we don’t see about ourselves because we have blinders on. Sumit, I know that you’ve spoken about that before. What are your thoughts there?
The second part of what you said makes a lot of sense, Sam, where we don’t see things. If you consider some of the top sportspersons in the world, whether it’s Michael Jordan or Rafael Nadal or whoever it is, there is at least one coach who may not be anywhere close to being an as accomplished a player as they are. The value of the coach is not in being a superior player. The value of the coach is in being able to identify those little gaps in performance and trying to knit together the story saying, “These are 2 or 3 of the areas that you would need to work on.”
It’s a different skill. The coach doesn’t have to be a champion of the game that they’re playing to be effective. That’s where the real coaches bring value. That’s why they’re so highly paid and so highly coveted for their services as well. It’s interesting that the same logic somehow doesn’t apply to a lot of companies. Leaders fail to see the value of coaches, whereas it’s incredibly strong as a technique to unlock value.
On top of that, I don’t get handsomely paid as the sports coach out there at all. I wish I did. What I would say is when people have a taste of what that experience is like, it is this container that a good coach like I do create to help that client bring their full self to that space so that the real things can be addressed and taken corrected when they have that experience. I have a client who literally we’ve been working for years. She’s got to from Director to VP, thinking about SVP. The work we do for ourselves to become the best leaders we can be and to bring our best presence as a leader never ends because it keeps building on what we have built.
It keeps growing from what we’ve already grown and developed. The challenges and the things in the landscapes and the places are changing too. There’s always that need to have that objective party who is for you, who knows you, and who knows what you bring to remind you, to challenge you, to champion you and to see the gaps and to see the way you’re missing or you’re not being your aligned self. There are so many things that a good coach brings. We’ve taken the commission to another place now, but I’m glad that we even got here because it’s something we don’t talk about enough.
One thing that goes back to what we discussed before about becoming a manager and becoming a leader, first of all, what is the difference between a manager and a leader, and then how do we start developing that presence that’s so important to become a leader and being influential?
There’s this thing that changes someone when they become leadership potential and leadership material. It has to do with when you are the one doing, producing, or executing, that’s not when you’re leading. That’s when you’re doing and that’s when you’re performing. That’s when you’re a high achiever, all those things. You are the subject matter expert and all those things. What makes you a leader? The manager does all those things. He could be managing people, but he or she is creating and doing all those things. To get to leadership, it’s about being. Who are you being?
It is not just authority agency but also this idea back to heart-centered authentic service to the people who you are managing and leading. Leadership is about people. When you’re able to engage and interact with the people that you lead in a way that inspires them, builds them up, motivates them, encourages them, all of those things, that’s when you are leading. Managing is about doing, and leading is about being. That’s how I see leadership. To me, it’s all about being and so less about doing anything. That’s the first part.Managing is about doing. Leading is about being. Click To Tweet
The second part is about the presence. This is the crux of the thing now. The presence is everything. If you come to a room as a leader and you’re not evoking a presence that makes people think, “I need to listen to what this person has to say,” then you’ve totally missed the mark in your leadership because you’re not going to get the respect, the engagement, the buy-in, and all the things that you want as the leader.
The presence part matters because for you to attract, engage, and interact in a way that changes the game and what you’re doing as a leader, you have to bring that command. The command is about so many things. The word command is such a vague word. We all know what it’s because we’ve all experienced someone walking into a room, and it’s like, “This person has presence,” and we don’t even know why we are saying what we’re saying.
One of the people that we all know that had it so strong was Barack Obama. Whether he was in a room, whether he was talking, he had a certain way he would posture himself, very calm, in control, managed, and empathetic. These words alone will pat presence. His words alone had gravitas. He had an air about him that always made you feel like he was somebody important.
He would say all those things. This idea of command, it’s about energetics, vibe, authority, agency, and ourselves. It comes from how who we feel we are in ourselves first to even evoke that outward. It’s about how we communicate. Barack Obama had the gift of the gab, and many good leaders are very good communicators. It’s not about speaking. It’s also about listening. Are they able to listen to what people are saying so that they can respond from a place that I heard where they were coming from and I can respond versus talking? It’s not about the talking. It’s about listening and then responding from that place.
In terms of communication, it’s about the nonverbal. There is so much of our presence, the things that we don’t even realize we’re doing with our hands, with our posture, with the different things that, and our antics. When I was an image consultant, I’ve always shown this slide when I gave a dress to success seminar. It was based on this social linguist. His name is Albert Mehrabian. He had this statistic about first impressions. The bigger part was about the visual. The 40% or less was about the communication, the voice, and only 7% was about what the person said. I use that slide to show that you can be saying all the great things, but if your vibe, visual, and communication don’t give off the good things, nobody’s going to listen to you.
It’s all back to why presence matters. I spent so many years helping more men and men look their part to convey that leadership and that aura of who they were and their best self outward, but it’s so much more than that visual look. It’s all about what I’m saying before, the command, the communication, the nonverbal, and the confidence. Confidence is a huge part of what we bring to our presence. When you lack confidence, you’re not going to be getting people’s attention. You’re not going to be able to hold the room with what you’re seeing. You’re not going to be able to capture an audience. That confidence is an inner game. To lead with presence, it’s about your Command, Communication, Confidence, and Clothing. I’m about alliteration, the Cs here. It’s how you look and express your particular brand of leadership.To lead with presence is about your Command, Communication, Confidence, and Clothing. Click To Tweet
Howard, I know that you’ve been around a lot of great leaders and large organizations and so forth and seen different levels of management across those organizations. Have you been able to put a pin on what distinguishes presence in that environment? What are your thoughts there?
One of the key things, and you touched on it, is communication. It’s able to bring people on board. It’s not enough to win their minds. You have to win their hearts as well. That’s a special skill. The most successful leaders that I’ve seen get people excited and energized in their hearts. That is so important in terms of being a good leader. Also, being a good leader means admitting that you don’t have all the answers. You can marshal the resources that you need to work up viable solutions. Not to expect that come to me and I can solve all the world’s problems. Those are the critical things that I’ve seen.
I would chime in on that, Howard, the part about not being the knower and having to have all the answers. When one is confident, one doesn’t feel the need to know everything. That’s back to confidence. At the end of the day, you have that confidence, “I don’t know the answer, but I’ll get back to you and we’ll get an answer. We’ll solve this problem.” A leader who is confident just doesn’t have all the answers and doesn’t feel they have to have them because they know it’s not about them. At the end of the day, it’s about what they’re doing and the impact they’re having so they can find the people who have those answers and bring those people forward. What you said about the energizing, when we think of the great leaders in our time, it’s capturing hearts.
This whole idea of heart-centered leadership is one I embrace and promote because I believe to get people to make their impact as a leader, you have to capture their hearts. They’ll be ignited to do the things that they have to do to make the vision come to being. To do it for them to be at that point where they’re able to give their all to make the vision that you have as a leader in a company, to bring it into being, their hearts have to be stirred. They have to be engaged. Their values have to be aligned with the values of the company. There’s so much that goes into that. I love everything you said, Howard.
I have a question for you. What do you do if someone is introverted or shy? How do you work with them to help them develop their leadership skills?
Can I confess that I’m a high introvert myself?
I never would’ve guessed that.
I would totally relate. I’ll be like, “Here I am. This is me.” I’m such an introvert. This is what I say to the introverts who say, “I’m an introvert.” That can be an excuse that you’re leaning on that is necessarily true. Just because you are an introvert doesn’t mean you don’t have the capacity to engage and interact with people in a very strong, compelling way. When I’m in a room, even though I’m visible, I’m not the person that necessarily gets all the attention. When I am in small circles and one-on-one, I am powerful. I know that about myself. I know I lead best in smaller groups, in smaller engagements, or one-on-one. That’s where my leadership is at its finest.
To answer that question, I’ll tell that introvert, “When do you feel most confident in yourself and what you’re bringing, and what environment sets you up to thrive so that you can keep bringing that consistently?” As an introvert, I did it too. I told myself, “I’m not supposed to be out there. I’m not supposed to be visible.” I never thought I’d be on TV. The things I’ve done blow my own mind. I’m such an introvert. However, because I do things, and I say this often now because it’s so true for me, when I know something will help me in service to my mission as a transformational leadership coach, I will do the hard thing.
If it means going on TV and I don’t like that and it’s uncomfortable for me, I will do it in service to my mission. For anyone who cares about the impact that they’re making in the arena, if you do the hard things, the visible things, the being out there and networking, all the things that we introverted are like, “Please, no more,” you do it in service to your mission and vision.
Let’s go back to what we were talking about earlier as far as taking the first tactical steps to become a leader and getting that presence that we were talking about. I know that you have a piece here, a background in the fashion area, and so forth. One of the things that I’ve dealt with earlier in my career is that you have to wear suits a lot. Now that’s changed to be more casual and approachable. How’s that changed and how should leaders be thinking about that now?
It is even back when I was interested, and that was years ago when more business casual was already a thing. With my image consult training, we were taught certain things by the time I was doing my own thing. I’m like, “Everybody doesn’t have to wear a suit to be a leader or to give off that vibe of success or leadership.” Suits work for certain people and certain professions. Back then, I would say, “Where are you located? What part of the country? What is your field? How are the people around you in your company?” All those things matter in terms of you can show up in a way that goes with where you are, the geography, and the company you work for.
That was then. COVID changed that whole thing about dressing a certain way. We had people showing up like talk show hosts with their hair grown out gray. Everything went totally upside down with COVID but in a good way because now women are showing up like women who thought they had to come with straight hair, even Black women. My hairs are in braids. When I was in Corporate America, would I have worn braids like this? Probably not. Now we all feel we have permission to show up the way we feel most aligned men and women. Whether it’s curly hair, braids, or wearing maxi dresses, the whole fashion style game in terms of how we show up in a professional environment has changed because of what COVID did for us.
I’m so for this. It’s given people the freedom to be and express who they are from a style fashion perspective. It gives the people who are still doing image consulting work so much more room to flourish and be like, “I have all these options for you now because now we have a bigger plate to work with.” Whereas before, even before COVID, things were starting to loosen up for sure. With companies like the Googles and the Amazons of the world, even with the open airspace, all that having to wear a tie and all this stuff was all out the door anyway.
Now, going forward, people are going to show up with pink hair. You may not be so like, “That person has pink hair. They’re not professional.” Do we care if they have pink hair anymore as much? It’s back to their presence and their brand. The short answer is if your leadership presence, which is part of your personal brand, is expressing the way that it’s aligned with your brilliance, then you’re doing the right thing.If your leadership presence is expressed in a way that it’s aligned with your brilliance, then you’re doing the right thing. Click To Tweet
That reminds me of a funny story when a client I was starting to work with after a long time calls me at random. The first thing he said on the call is, “Are you open to getting a haircut and having short hair?” Before I could respond, then he says, “Are you open to being clean-shaven and getting rid of your beard as well?” In my head, I’m thinking, “I don’t like the way this conversation’s going. Maybe I should walk away from the business.” I don’t want people dictating the extent of my facial hair or having my hair long or short. I said, “No, not really, but why do you ask?” He was playing a joke on me. He said, “The only picture I have of you is about five years old and I don’t want to put this on the company materials. In case you’re planning a change in look, good. Otherwise, send me an updated picture.”
As you said, Natalie, these conversations have become less frequent. People are becoming more open not only because of COVID but also because of the fact that we are now in a global workforce and people are about to have different appearances. People could be working in different time zones. If you are based in the US and it’s morning time for you, I’m sitting here very late in the evening. Expecting me to a suit and tie could be a roadblock in getting good output. People should be comfortable with what they’re wearing as long as they’re able to decide what’s professional and what’s not rather than it being written in company policies, books, and documents.
Looking at us now, we’re all dressed differently. This is a point. We all dress in different ways to suit where we are, who we are, and what we are doing. In the old way, it would’ve been we’d all show up looking professional with a jacket or whatever. I like the red color so I’m wearing colorful stuff. That’s part of my brand. This notion of what looks professional is outdated, even the question. It’s more about who is professional, not about what they look like. What are they doing and what are they creating and building and whatever? That’s more the question than what they look like or how they show up.
I have to share my perspective on this. I’ve shared this story before, particularly in healthcare. I would come in at night or during the evening shift and meet with the employees. One of the few HR people that did, they always call me HR with a heart. That’s probably because I was so compassionate about the employees that I worked with and my leaders. I was trying to do sexual harassment training with the night shift of the ER people. That was fascinating. At any rate, they’re like, “You don’t do what we do. You don’t see what we see.”
Anyway, their point was that they were so annoyed by the executives walking through in their power suits and they referred to all the executives as the suits, including me because I also had my little suit. I had to be thinking about that when I was rounding, as we used to call it, and getting away from my computer because, sadly, a lot of leaders are constantly on their computers. That’s how they communicate.
We don’t get out and roundabout. We don’t get out and see our people. Also, to be sensitive that my suit might be negative from the perspective of who I represent. I’m not going to go out because I shouldn’t be wearing a doctor’s jacket, obviously. There are laws against that. I remember when I was out to see how I dressed and perceived and interacting.
That’s back to the whole presence part. That’s one of the things I would say in my seminars back in the day. How do you want to come across? If you want to come across as a heart-centered, empathetic, compassionate person, you’re not going to be wearing suits. Suits are hard. Suits are lines, rigid, and structured. It gives off the opposite of soft, compassionate, and all those things.
If you want to come across as those things, wear the types of clothing with the colors, lines, and structure that convey that not just your clothes but your whole presence reflect the thing that you’re trying to convey to the people that matter. That’s an excellent point back to the presence. At the end of the day, the suit and jacket aren’t necessarily serving us in our roles. Yes, maybe a banker still needs to have a suit and jacket on because they’re a banker, but in most fields, it doesn’t serve and it can hurt and diminish our presence. That’s a great example.
I’ll give you an example. I was in Trinidad for two weeks and I had a TV interview via Zoom. It was so hot where I was doing that interview, 90 degrees. I’m like, “I am not wearing anything with sleeves. I don’t care.” My mother’s there. “Why are you wearing a sleeveless?” I’m like, “I’m sorry I’m going to be me here and it doesn’t matter.” Old me would’ve felt the need to have a jacket on even though I’m hot, uncomfortable, and doesn’t make sense in a TV interview. The new me said, “I’ll go with what works right now. This is what I have, and I’m putting it on.”
Particularly when you have all those hot lights on you when you’re on set, how miserable to be on set?
They turn off the AC because it makes too much noise. You feel the sweat coming down, and you’re like, “I need a little personal fan.” It’s the lights. You start melting.
When I’m with Sam, however, he’s planning big conferences in a big powerful conference room. You’re going to have it cold as heck, aren’t you? You’re going to have that air conditioning blasting.
It will be nice and comfortable. Natalie, when we’re thinking about this from the perspective of leadership, there are a lot of things that leaders need to prepare for the future. Having that presence is quite important, but one of the things I often run into is that there seems to be almost a double standard between leaders versus employees. We’re talking about, “For our employees, we want to create a flexible work environment. We want to ensure that they are always thinking about their people,” and so forth. Companies and the senior leadership don’t want their leaders to take time off or when it comes down to things taking care of their elders and so forth, they seem to be less flexible. How should leaders model that behavior?
The short answer to that would be you walk the talk. You don’t just talk the talk. You walk the talk. If the company that you’re in is all about a healthy environment where employees thrive and some of those things are flexible schedules and certain things like that and more pay time off and all of those things, remote work, all those practices, then the leadership has to be modeled from the top down.
If leaders are feeling they can’t walk the talk that they’re giving to the employees, then there’s a misalignment there to me. My whole posture perspective on things is it has to be in alignment, or else, it’s hypocritical. If it’s not, it’s not authentic. It’s not an integrity if it’s not. If you are trying to create a culture where employees can thrive and where they can bring their full selves and show up and do work in impactful ways, then you have to show them what that looks like. They’re going to look to you to guide how they behave. You, as the leader, have to model what you’re talking. That’s my perspective on that.
I know we’re coming toward the end. Jules, do we have any questions or anything we need to bring out?
Nothing’s popped up. It’s been very active. “I love this advice,” and it’s been very interactive. We’ve been so tuned in to Natalie. It’s been so great. Samia always comes through with great feedback. She said, “Another great session. Thank you so much.” I agree. It’s been so fun and uplifting. You made it fun, so it’s easier to remember a lot of the quotes. I’m going to be writing it somewhere and sticking it up where I can see it. I loved how you addressed Imposter syndrome because I struggle with that so much and the way you described how to gently tell her to go away and give her or him a name. I love it. This great session.
To that point, in my book, It’s Your Time to Shine Girl, I have a whole chapter on Imposter syndrome. It’s one of my favorite chapters because I have one in confidence and one on Imposter syndrome. I knew and understand how big a saboteur those things can be for women in being their best version of themselves. It’s in the first section of the book called No, It’s About Knowing Yourself. Part of knowing yourself is knowing how to counteract those voices, knowing how to build your confidence, and knowing what brilliance you bring. I want to chime in with my book there because I speak so strongly about Imposter syndrome because it comes up all the time and because I have written a whole chapter in my book about it.
I know that our readers may have more questions. How can they reach out to you, Natalie? Also, I know that you have several events happening. We’d like to hear more about that.
The best way to reach out to me is on my website, TheUnveiledWay.com. Everything’s on there, but follow me on LinkedIn and Instagram to keep up with all my happenings and shenanigans. I have a special coaching offer called Momentum AccelerateHER. That’s a 90-minute session. It’s meant to do the thing, get you the clarity, and give you a taste of what coaching with me is like, but also get you some results that are instantaneous if that’s what you’re looking for.
Also, I’m collaborating with Keshawn Hughes, who’s a neuro coach that will be streamed on LinkedIn and on YouTube called A New Leadership Playbook. It’s every other Tuesday, the next one’s May 9th at 1:00 PM Eastern. We are going to cover a whole lot of topics, especially things that recovering high achievers like her and I have dealt with, struggled with, and worked through. I’m coming from the perspective of coaches on how we can help people develop a new way to lead in a way that makes them truly shine.
That’s going to be a great session. I love Keshawn. She’s such a powerful speaker and you are too, Natalie, so it’s so wonderful having you on. Thank you so much.
It’s been such a pleasure. I love the comments, the conversation, and all the different things we touched on. This group is a wonderful group, and you guys are awesome.
Thank you very much. You’ve been a great pleasure.
When I said she was generous, I wasn’t joking. There are so many links here. There’s also a free leadership quiz and there’s a confidence guide. I’m downloading everything. Check it all out. There’s even a chapter from Natalie’s book too. If you’re on the fence about getting the book, I don’t know why you would be, but if you want to check out that chapter to see what it’s about and then run to the book link, then get the book. It’s all there for you. I love this. Thank you for being so generous with all your different ways of connecting and quizzes. You are awesome. Thank you.
Natalie, are you on Audible? Anything auditory?
This is a question I keep getting asked. It’s going to get there, but it’s not there yet. I know people don’t have time to read anymore. I get it.
They are on airplanes and stuff.
You’d have to narrate it. I’m reading Ashley Graham, the model. She does the introduction. I thought she was going to carry it through because I like her personality. Her voice is interesting to listen to. She got a narrator for the rest of it, and I was like, “No, it doesn’t carry the same.”
I’m totally narrating it myself because I have to. My accent, my way of talking, and everything has to be in there.
I look forward to that. I’ll look at your book prior to that, but I look forward to hearing your voice on that.
Thank you. Sam, thank you for this. This has been a great invitation. This is a great interaction and dialogue on things that we don’t talk about enough. This whole idea of presence and how to show up, how to lead authentically, all these things are topics we need more conversations on.
Thank you so much, Natalie. Take care, everyone, and see you on the next episode.
Natalie Jobity is a multi-hyphenated professional with a unique background that spans across different industries. With 15 years of experience as a market researcher and Vice President under her belt, Natalie left the corporate world to found her image consulting firm, Elan Image Management. Her expertise in helping women dress intentionally and authentically quickly garnered national recognition and built a successful brand.
Natalie’s passion for empowering women led her to write and self-publish her book Frumpy to Fabulous: Flaunting It. This book quickly became a #1 Amazon best-seller in the self-esteem and beauty categories. As the founder of her leadership coaching company, The Unveiled Way, Natalie brings a customized, intuitive approach to help purpose-driven women unveil their brilliance and lead unapologetically.
Known as the Brilliance Unveiler, Natalie is dedicated to helping women magnify their brilliance, their “Woo,” and their secret sauce. Her recently published second book, It’s Your Time to Shine, Girl: Own Your Brilliance, Step into Your Influence, & Lead Like a Trailblazer, inspires women worldwide to step firmly into their purpose while providing practical tips, tools, and techniques to succeed and thrive.
As a woman of faith who has faced her fair share of life trials, Natalie is passionate about empowering women to overcome the blocks to their impact. Her talks, books, and blogs authentically share her journey from an invisible, insecure woman to an impactful, inspirational leader who owns her brilliance. As your leadership coach and personal brand strategist, Natalie is dedicated to partnering with you to propel you forward so your impact, influence, and income can grow.