Leadership – What Qualities Do You Want to Linger?


When it comes to your leadership, what qualities do you want to linger after someone has an encounter with you?

If you are a leader, professional, or entrepreneur this is worth considering. And if you don’t happen to fit into those categories – that question is still a helpful one.

The impression or feelings people have after engaging with you colors perception of you in future interactions. Of course, you don’t want to stray from being authentic, but what if you were more intentional about how you are showing up? What qualities would you want to linger?

Lingering Scents!

Scents reconnect us to memories, both positive and negative, evoking powerful emotions. The smell of baking cookies or bread might trigger happy memories of baking with grandma, while the sterile hospital smell might bring back memories of a time you’d prefer to forget.

And of course, there are those downright offensive odors – think skunk, sweaty humans, or your house after baking fish – that we naturally find distasteful!

The way something smells naturally lingers! Even though our sense of smell pales in comparison to an animal’s, humans are able to detect one trillion different scents. Did you know that women tend to have a better sense of smell than men? And you might be surprised to learn that it’s possible to smell fear and disgust and that your scent cells regenerate every 30 to 60 days!

Beneficial Scents

Whatever ails you – there’s an essential oil for that. While essential oils are incredibly popular right now, they aren’t new. In fact, the Chinese, Egyptians, Indians, Greeks, and Romans all used various forms of aromatherapy thousands of years ago.

Essential oils are touted to improve depression, anxiety, stress, infections, circulation, mood, sleep, migraines, immunity, and so much more!

Even more surprising, scents like lemon, jasmine, or lavender can increase productivity, concentration, and help you make fewer mistakes! And they smell good too! Some of my favorite essential oils are vanilla, tangerine, and eucalyptus because they are fragrances that make me happy!

Essential oils are super concentrated scents. It takes a whole lot to produce a small amount, which is one reason they are a bit pricey. Did you know it takes…

  • 50 pounds of eucalyptus leaves to produce 1 pound of eucalyptus oil
  • 150 pounds of lavender to produce 1 pound of lavender oil
  • 250 pounds of peppermint leaves to produce 1 pound of peppermint oil
  • 500 pounds of rosemary leaves to produce 1 pound of rosemary oil
  • 1000 pounds of jasmine flowers to produce 1 pound of jasmine oil
  • 4000 pounds of Bulgarian roses to produce 1 pound of Bulgarian rose oil
  • 75 lemons to fill a 15 ml bottle with lemon oil

Because essential oils are so concentrated, their scent truly lingers!

Lingering Leadership

Leaders tend to be highly focused goal minded individuals – you could even say concentrated.  And because of that concentration, the likelihood of their scent lingering is greater. In the same way that scents trigger powerful memories, leaders often tap into the memories of those they lead by reminding them of someone in their past in a positive or negative way.

That begs the question: as a leader, how are the people you lead experiencing you? How is the aroma you leave behind enhancing or hampering your leadership? It doesn’t matter if you lead at home, work, or in ministry, your character, what you stand for, and how you make others feel in your presence matters.

Over the years, I’ve worked with some amazing leaders who enthusiastically conveyed vision, believed in me, and allowed me the freedom to explore innovative ways of accomplishing my work. Moments with them left me inspired and excited about the possibilities. Their scent was pleasant!

I’ve also worked under the leadership of those who successfully conveyed vision, even believed in me, and yet working with them was confusing, frustrating, and discouraging. Moments with them left me pretty unmotivated! A not so pleasant scent!

A Powerful Example of Leadership

When I was just starting out my journey as a coach some eleven years ago, I had the opportunity to hear Michael Hyatt speak while attending a conference in North Carolina. If you are unfamiliar with Michael, he was the former chairman and CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers. I first connected with him through his blog, however he’s also a New York Times best-selling author, and speaker. His credentials were impressive back then and he’s gone on to accomplish even more!


Leading up to the conference, I looked forward to hearing Michael speak. Still, there were questions in the back of my mind. How would this noteworthy man reflect his faith? Would I still appreciate his leadership and expertise in the same way after meeting him? The answer: a resounding YES!

I was impressed by what lingered after meeting Michael and I want to share that with you!

1. He Makes God A Priority

To lead well, you must consistently take time alone with God and be in His Word. In order to do what God has called you to do, it’s essential to diligently seek Him for direction, courage, help, and wisdom. When you don’t, the scent left behind is less enjoyable.

2. He Treasures His Family

Leaders often devote more time and energy to their work than they do to the treasured people in their lives. As Michael talked about his wife and five daughters, it was clear this was not the case for him.

Michael’s wife Gail was with him at the conference. It was obvious by their interaction that they adore each other, are committed to each other, and support each other. He described how over the years when they faced difficult times, they were in it together – even if they had to “live in a cardboard box.”

One of the ways he demonstrates how much he values his family is how he intentionally schedules time with them on his calendar first and then schedules his business around it. Here are some ways that shows up…

      • He schedules a one-month sabbatical with his wife every year.
      • Once a week he schedules lunch with one of his five adult daughters on a rotating basis so he stays connected with them. His priority is listening!
      • When his grandchildren turn thirteen, he and Gail take them on a one-week vacation to a destination of their choosing. Quality time and more listening!

While you may not have the luxury of extended sabbaticals or trips with your grandchildren, there are creative ways to invest in those you love that require less time and/or money. The point is that when you are connected to the ones you love, it makes a difference in how YOU show up!

3. He Owned His Failures

Leaders make mistakes, but it takes a confident leader to admit them and take responsibility for them. Two things he shared about failure:

1. You must fail your way to success.

2. Accepting responsibility for failure allows you to see the possibilities for a different outcome.

4. He Was Generous

He strongly encourages others to start with “wow” and to over-deliver. That’s just what he did. He was fully present and generous with both his time and his content.

5. He Was Humble

Michael took the time to mingle with the those attending the conference during breakfast, signed books, graciously answered questions, and shared vulnerably as he spoke. He did not shy away from sharing how slow the path to success was with his blog or other ventures.

6. He Believes in Coaching!

Over the years, coaches have played a significant role in Michael’s leadership and success. In his words, “if you want to go further faster you need a coach!” That was music to my ears!

I’ve witnessed firsthand the powerful changes leaders have made in how they show up as a result of coaching. In fact, recently one client’s transformation was so significant that others began asking what led to all the changes. His emphatic response: “Coaching with Marvae!

Leadership – A Pleasing Aroma

What lingers after time spent with a great leader? Hopefully you will be…

  • Encouraged to grow and exceed even your own expectations.
  • Challenged to see new possibilities.
  • Cared for, supported, and more confident.
  • Willing to stretch and make mistakes.

After meeting Michael, the scent that lingers is still an energizing and inspiring one for me! A little like a blend of some of my favorite essential oils – that’s the kind of lingering aroma I’d like to leave as well!

When it comes to your leadership, what lingers, even if you just lead you? How do people feel after spending time with you?

© Can Stock Photo / Olyina

Marvae Eikanas

Marvae Eikanas is an author, entrepreneur, ICF certified coach, Career Direct Consultant, DISC consultant, and HBDI practitioner. She helps her coaching clients sharpen their skills, face their fears, eliminate funky mindsets, hone their habits, and cultivate clarity so they can THRIVE personally and professionally. Schedule a consultation with Marvae here.

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