Do you have a commanding presence?

Do you have a commanding presence?

I have a commanding presence. I am calm and rational and good at determining what needs to be done and getting it done. People do what I tell them. In a crisis, people look to me for guidance and courage. Several people in a number of different crises have said that being in my presence is soothing and my strength comforting. I have noticed that even the most independent, professionally effective, assertive men and women have become submissive to me in crisis situations. When I have asked them about this, they have said that I make them feel safe and more serene, that when they stay close to me, they feel that everything will be okay, and in one case, that she had found herself wanting to do as I tell her.

The first time someone told me I have a commanding presence, I felt mildly insulted. I am not a controlling person and I do not seek to get my own way at the expense of others. I may be quietly confident but I have no military aspirations, and I have never wanted to join the police force or any other organisation with a hierarchical command structure.

Recently, a friend of mine told me that he wants to be more assertive with his girlfriend but that he simply doesn't know how. He asked me how to be more dominant, how to have a commanding presence, and why he doesn't. It's true: he doesn't; but why? He doesn't seem to have authority and something about him is such that he does not command respect, let alone obedience.

He seems full of confidence, which is supposed to be one of the main things that determines whether or not you have a commanding presence. Perhaps his confidence is just a little too brash and loud, a little too overt, a little too showy to feel solid. Sometimes quieter confidence can feel more real, more reliable, more calm, more controlled.

When I was at school, one of my teachers had complete control of the class at all times. He never raised his voice; he always spoke respectfully; he never punished anyone. He had a commanding presence. Another teacher was always punishing us, always shouting and always used sharp tones, ordering us about as though we were in the military. He had no control of the class at all.

If you are a man who wants to step into a more dominant role in your relationship, instead of using sharp, military order style commands, think quiet confidence, and keep your tone respectful. You should not need to shout. Your woman should be able to sense your control without you having to make a big show of it. Slow down. Think before you speak. Consider how you move. Videotape yourself. Do you move slowly and confidently like a lion, or do you flutter about like a nervous bird? Relax. Slow down.

How's your temper? A bad temper indicates weakness, a lack of self-control, a lack of confidence. You can't have a commanding presence if you have a bad temper, you can only be a domineering bully. Learn some self-control. Stop being defensive. Feeling threatened by dissent is a weakness, not a sign of strength. Face the fact that you are a fallible human being who sometimes makes mistakes. Do not fear to admit that you have been wrong: that is a sign of weakness. You cannot maintain a healthy dominant position in the face of these weaknesses, so if they apply to you, start working on yourself now. Create goals for yourself and move forward step-by-step.

As well as being quietly confident, respectful, and having enough self-control not to lose your temper, you need to be honest and trustworthy. Without that, you will never have a good relationship, and you will certainly never be worthy of the respect and submission you might desire.

As you develop your dominance, you need to bend over backwards to be fair and consistent. As the person in charge, you have a lot of responsibility for the happiness of your partner and for the health of your relationship. Take your responsibility seriously. Arbitrary punishment feels unfair and will lose you respect.

Take things slowly. Be prepared to back-track in the event that something you try turns out to be problematic. Expect to make mistakes. Expect to have to make changes. Keep your ego out of it. Treat it as an exciting and fun adventure rather than a test of your manhood. Accept yourself as you are, and move forward from where you are. Until you accept yourself, no one else will, and you will not have the control you want. You can't fake a commanding presence, you can only move towards having that, and you can only do so through thought and effort and with the time and the will and the creativity to improve.

One more thing: keep talking to the woman you love. She most likely has more belief in you than you do, and if she is reading Taken In Hand, she is undoubtedly behind you all the way, wanting this to work, wanting to please you. Look into her eyes and see the love for you reflected there. Look into her heart and see how willing she is to submit, despite your imperfections. Bask in her admiration and appreciation. Notice how happy and peaceful even the smallest sign of your dominance makes her. Notice how it increases her libido and heats up your sex life. You don't have to be perfect, you don't have to stressfully boss her about, you don't have to bellow: just be yourself, and allow her to feel your authority in small ways.

the boss

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Comments

Fascinating, though I have a slightly different view

A lovely article (as ever). However, I have a different perpsective on people having a commanding presence than you do.

At the risk of rehashing the old "Nature Vs Nurture" argument, I believe that a commanding presence is simply there, or it is not (classic "Charisma"). People who do not have that presence can learn to *emulate* it, and that is what a lot of military training schools try to inculcate into their students. However, I am suggesting that there is a "natural" command presence and a "learned" command presence. Though they may both have the same effect on their partner(s) during the easy days, the ability of the learned response in times of stress to maintain that effectiveness is far far harder than for the "natural leader". In times of stress, we tend to revert to type—our natural, rather than learned, behavior takes over. As such, in a relationship where there are stresses to be overcome (and lets face it—*everyone* (except Gary and Blush ;-)) have stresses in their relationship),

and what may seem to be a strong dominant partner may "crash and burn" when things get difficult.

Despite the above points, I *do* agree with the boss on a number of issues. The above is excellent advice for someone who is already dominant, but has difficulty expressing that—the classic "Stamp on the roses whilst trying to reach the cat who has been digging up the garden" scenario. Where I differ is to say that whilst a dominant personality can learn more effective ways to express that dominance, you cannot turn a lamb into a lion by following a set of rules (at least not for very long—the other sheep start to notice after a while, and whilst they may accept a genuine lion, for some reason they feel contempt for someone who *tries* to be a lion but fails).

Hmmm—I may write an article (from a male perspective) about dominance vs bullying (the core of such would be that one operates from a position of strength, the other from a position of weakness). One day!

Random

A Command Presence can be Taught

A command presence can be taught. I've been teaching it for 13 years and could teach anybody with the motivation can learn the essentials and get enough practice to get so it comes naturally.

HDT

You have command presence.... but you want to be taken in hand??

the boss --

I was expecting that the author of this article would be a man, from the way you wrote it. I'm surprised it's a woman and even more surprised it's a woman who by her own admission wants to be 'taken in hand'. What's with that? You have command presence but you're not controlling? How does that work?

It is not my intention to offend, I'm just surprised and wondering if you're a dominant in denial.

Bill P.

My Commanding Presence

I also have a commanding presence through absolutely no fault of my own.LOL People are often intimidated by me--especially other women. My fiance calls it my "big personality". People are either drawn to it and want to respond to it positively by following my lead or they are jealous and want to attack me.

I am definitely an "in control" person who rarely has ever met with failure. But I have learned not to try and control the man in my life. I think many people who think they know me and who suspect I must wear the pants in the family given my big personality as compared to my fiance's laidback demeanor would be shocked as all hell to know that he has the power to conquer the negative consequences of that big personality with a few well placed smacks on my behind as he sees fit.

I don't think my commanding presence translates into a desire to be a dominant person as most of the times I have found myself in the position of a leader because I was just the most capable or knowledgeable of the choices, or the most brave, or the only one stupid enough to beleive a difference could be acheived through action. It's less of a choice on my part to lead and more a fact that others choose to follow.

In my private life my fiance chooses to lead me and I choose to follow.

Peace,
Daisy

There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.--Edith Wharton

My Commanding Presence

I have a commanding presence and have many of the same reactions from women and men, i.e., some love and some DO NOT. Because of this aspect of me, I am, as well, asked to take the lead, which is fine, but I don't want it in my male.-female relationship. I want a man who is secure enough to let me have this commanding presence and be me but not in the personal relationship. How to cut through all these levels to find that?

Appearances can be deceiving

I've been lurking for a while and would like to respond to Bill. I empathise with the boss, I am probably perceived in a similar manner. I come accross as highly composed, dependable and have excellent organizational skills. I have climbed the corporate ladder swiftly and am a respected executive. I have a lot of people who answer to me, both men and women, most of whom are older than me.

I have always been an exceptionally responsible person, from an early age much responsibility has been awarded to me. I was raised to be an independant woman who could do anything a man could do and exceed anything they could accomplish. When my husband and I were married (almost a decade ago) I insisted the "obey" part be removed from our wedding vows.

I experience such quite a substantial amount of personal conflict; on the one hand I try and live up to the above expectations, on the other hand I am intrigued by the notion of submission. I crave having someone to take the responsibility away from me, someone who will allow me to be vulnerable in their presence and protect me. The question is who do I need protection from and I've asked myself this a million times, the answer I have finally come to, is that I am probably my own worst enemy.

My relationship with my husband has grown and evolved over the years and we toy somewhat with head of the household, DD and it has helped me feel more balanced, more comfortable in my own skin, so to speak.

The point I am trying to make is that appearances can be deceiving. A lot of the times I tend to wear a mask, my gift to my husband is allowing him to recognise the "me" behind the mask and his gift to me is helping me to peel the mask away in his presence. What greater intimacy can there be?

commanding, but wants to be taken in hand?

Two things came to mind: One is that a woman can be commanding outside in the world, but deliberately leave that persona at the door when she comes home to her man. Another is that perhaps the boss needs someone super-commanding to overcome her natural dominance. I don't think so, though. I think that when "take-me-in-hand" women fall in love, even if we are naturally strong and dominant, something just MELTS in the presence of the loved man. He doesn't dominate us by main force (not all the time, anyway); it's more that we feel an irresistable desire to submit to this particular man.

Melanie

Reply to Bill P. and Melanie

Bill, I am 100 per cent with Melanie when she replied to you as follows:

I think that when "take-me-in-hand" women fall in love, even if we are naturally strong and dominant, something just MELTS in the presence of the loved man. He doesn't dominate us by main force (not all the time, anyway); it's more that we feel an irresistable desire to submit to this particular man.

I think it is quite common for strong individuals (whether men or women) to be drawn to dominant partners. If a man has strength, quiet authority and a commanding presence, I can relax and be myself without fear that I might inadvertently overpower him. Of course, as I know myself, submissiveness need not mean weakness, and many men who consider themselves dominant are weak, but still, there is something relaxing about a man who has what Random might call natural authority. Unfortunately, as we see from some of the comments on Taken In Hand, there seem to be very few such men around.

Refreshing

It is very refreshing to see in this modern age that some women ebrace the idea of willing submission. Although I don't have a problem with women of any variety, this is still a welcome treat. Thanks ladies.

Intuit

The great paradox

Bill,

although I was also a little surprised to learn at the end that the article was written by the boss, once I'd gotten over my initial double-take, it made perfect sense. Many (not all, certainly, but quite a few) of the spankophile women I've met are naturally quite dominant in the outside world. They take charge easily, achieve great things and are naturally respected by those around them. They enjoy being able to do this and it is a very real part of who they are, but at the end of the day they can also feel quite tired by always being in charge. Being a leader can be quite a lonely affair, and while it is in their nature for these women to take charge in many situations, it is also in their nature to want to be able to be let down their guard at home with a trusted and loved partner, to be vulnerable, taken care of and, of course, taken in hand when needed.

It's an interesting and very human paradox, and also a very loveable one in my opinion. I think it's very much the same dynamic that drives the most successful CEO's and other leaders to want to be able to submit, in a safe environment, to a bare bottom spanking from a sexual nurturer. In the end, everyone needs balance.

the boss, these are just my observations—I'd be very interested to know how you feel on this fascinating paradox. (And by the way, I love this piece—it rings utterly true for me. In many ways, I find that as I become more and more comfortable with myself I become simultaneously more relaxed and more naturally dominant).

All the best,

Max Maximovich.

Reply to Max Maximovich

Max, you wrote:

They enjoy being able to do this and it is a very real part of who they are, but at the end of the day they can also feel quite tired by always being in charge. Being a leader can be quite a lonely affair, and while it is in their nature for these women to take charge in many situations, it is also in their nature to want to be able to be let down their guard at home with a trusted and loved partner, to be vulnerable, taken care of and, of course, taken in hand when needed.

Apart from the fact that it does not really feel like having my guard up when out in the world, I agree very much with this. It sounds like bliss to me. I must admit that I enjoy feeling “like a woman” and tend not to experience non-dominant men as being masculine. Nor do I tend to feel feminine and vulnerable with such men. Not that I don't enjoy my strength—I do—but for whatever reason, in an intimate relationship, I want the man to be the head of the household/relationship, not me.

Max, I had to laugh at your last sentence, because I think the same has been true for me—as I have become more comfortable and confident in myself, I have become more relaxed and more naturally dominant, but simultaneously I have also become more able to face the awful truth that what I'd really like is to be brought to submission or taken in hand by a strong, loving man. D'oh!

So the question is: do you too have submissive tendencies, and if not, given what you said about balance (which sounds eminently reasonable to me) why not?

Broad strokes

This excellent article seems to have struck few people diffently by raising new questions about dominance and its various aspects and flavours.

Some folks were surprised that the boss (or any *submissive* woman) could present a non-submissive (which is not the same as neutral) persona to the world or be perceived as having a commanding presence. FWIW I would think that it's more likely that someone with strong leanings one way would also have it within them to understand the POV of the other and to assume the characteristics they associate with their ideal of the other to some degree; my view of the ying/yang aspect of D/s or whatever term you ascribe to it.

Random, please write that article-I'd like to read it.

Hey Melanie...you sound like you *know* what you're talking about, so you're probably right about the boss ;-)

Max, your last line summed it up perfectly for me as well.

Regards,
Howard Frank

Reply to Howard Frank

Howard, you wrote:

I would think that it's more likely that someone with strong leanings one way would also have it within them to understand the POV of the other

It is certainly true that if I had to choose between being in a conventional “equal” relationship or being in a relationship in which the other person wanted to be taken in hand, then, other things being equal, I'd choose the latter. But I'd probably be hoping that the worm would turn.

Random, please write that article-I'd like to read it.

Yes, please do, Random! I agree with Howard.

Hey Melanie...you sound like you *know* what you're talking about, so you're probably right about the boss ;-)

Yes, again, I agree.

Reply to Random

Random, you wrote:

I believe that a commanding presence is simply there, or it is not (classic "Charisma"). People who do not have that presence can learn to *emulate* it, and that is what a lot of military training schools try to inculcate into their students. However, I am suggesting that there is a "natural" command presence and a "learned" command presence. Though they may both have the same effect on their partner(s) during the easy days, the ability of the learned response in times of stress to maintain that effectiveness is far far harder than for the "natural leader". In times of stress, we tend to revert to type—our natural, rather than learned, behavior takes over.

I am pretty sure that I did not have a commanding presence as a child or as an adolescent, but it does seem as though I do have now. This is not something I have intended to learn, and I certainly do have it in crisis situations when others are running around like headless chickens, so I am not sure where this fits in to your statement that it is either there or not there and can't be learnt. Perhaps I have learnt it naturally during the course of my life. That is how it seems to me, at any rate.

Commanding presence

Hi the boss,

Thank you for the reply. I would respond as follows......

People change and develop; personalities mature and shift as our experiences in life change. I did not mean to suggest that people either have presence or do not, and are then fixed for life; rather that people's attitudes result from their experiences. As a person gains more and more experiences (i.e. age), their attitudes become more and more "stable" (or fixed), with a far wider ranging trigger required to shift those attitudes. I would suggest that it is similar to a ball rolling down a hill—a minor shift at the top of the hill (i.e. when a child) can have dramatic impacts near the bottom (adulthood). Conversely, if you apply the same event near the bottom of the hill as was applied at the top, the impact is minimal. (applying physics to psychology is never a pleasant sight ;-))

Thus, I feel that giving people guidance on how to be dominant would not work unless they are either dominant already and need advice on how to control and display that dominance, or they are relatively young and add the experience of applying the above rules to their baseline experience, that they then use to base their future actions on.

I appreciate that this appears to change my original argument away from the "nature" side, back to the "nurture" issue (your note forced me to re evaluate what I was trying to say),

but at the same time I stand by the argument that someone is either dominant (i.e. as a result of their life experience) or they are not. Note that I do not have any empirical data to prove this—this is just how it feels to me, so it is quite possible I am wrong....

One more thing:- I LOVE this web site! It allows me (in fact, forces me) to examine the way I feel about things, along with the motivations I have. I have only recently moved into a relationship where I am explicitly the dominant partner; previously the dominance was implicit rather than explicit. The key lesson I have already learned is that true consent must exist, else the relationship is abusive (fortunately, my partner and I can discuss such elements openly—the benefits of an explicit dominance vs implicit where things may be kept "buttoned up"). Keep up the good work!

Random

Thanks, Random

Random, you wrote:

I LOVE this web site! It allows me (in fact, forces me) to examine the way I feel about things, along with the motivations I have. I have only recently moved into a relationship where I am explicitly the dominant partner; previously the dominance was implicit rather than explicit. The key lesson I have already learned is that true consent must exist, else the relationship is abusive (fortunately, my partner and I can discuss such elements openly—the benefits of an explicit dominance vs implicit where things may be kept "buttoned up"). Keep up the good work!

Thanks! And many thanks for submitting the article! That was quick! I am glad to hear that you have found happiness. :-)

balancing the personality

Shortly after I revealed my desire to be taken in hand, my husband proposed the theory that people's "kinks" may be the result of a personality seeking balance.
"So you're saying I'm a domineering bitch?" I said.
"Well, that's not exactly how I was going to put it," he said.
This exchange has become one of our little in-jokes.

But seriously, I was pretty much the head of the household for most of our relationship, and it is not at all easy to let go of this. Part of me wants to, and part of me doesn't at all. At the beginning of our relationship, I would say that Paul was not a dominant guy. But over the years, he has found his niche, and developed into a charismatic leader. I don't think I could have asked him to take me in hand back then. Now I can. So I think it's partly nature, and partly opportunity to develop traits that may be latent.

Random—I love this site, too! So much thinking goes on here! And I frequently begin to write a post, and then change my opinion before I get to the end. It's pretty irritating!

Melanie

Question to Max Maximovich

I love what I've read so far on this site, it does make me think! I'm thinking on the commanding presense thread that I'm out of my depth. What is the paradox you are talking about Max? I'm not getting your point.

Cara

How do you maintain the energy behind the commanding presence?

I feel as if there is a "well" within me that is the source of my strength and ability to command. There are more demands on my commanding presence than there is strength to maintain it.

How do men sustain it and summon it from within themselves when they need it? In my case, I'm the CEO of a small company. I have two employees and several contractors. I have customers and prospects and vendors, all of whom need leading and all of whom tap into the strength I need in order to lead.

At the end of the day or week, I often don't have anything left for my wife.

Does anyone else have this problem? How do you deal with it?

Nothing left for wife

Carl, how are things going with your wife? My concern is that if you don't ensure that you have a good strong marriage the rest of your life—your business etc—is in danger. Your marriage—your relationship with your wife—should give you the strength for other things, it shouldn't suck strength from you but by the same token, it's something you can't ignore. Feed and water it like a delicate plant and it will end up giving you strength not taking it. Good luck Carl.

--Jasmine

You have described my boyfriend!!

On both fronts, that is. He already had a commanding, gentle-but-firm presence that I could see. That's why I opened up to him with all these deeply-bured desires. He is the first man I've been with who seemed up to the task, and who I also trusted not to abuse my devotion. It's all new to him as well, but we are learning together.

I believe we understand that Taken In Hand means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. To us, it does not mean corporal punishment. That idea simply does not seem arousing or productive to either of us. I have been spanked once, and it was by my request. I felt guilty and contrite enough simply from the disapproving look he gave me. I knew I needed to be spanked, without him ever saying so.

I believe that the submission/devotion that I give him--as well as the dominance/guidance that he shows me--are firmly rooted in trust, love, and respect. I desire for him to be in control, while also retaining respect for my feelings. And so far he seems to be doing a wonderful job. A simple disapproving look or a guiding hand speak volumes when coming from him. And whether his request is verbal or non-verbal, it is a rare day when he has to ask me twice.

However there is an exception that last statement. I have had a tendency to keep attempting conversation with him in bed when he is truly too tired to continue. In the past, I was even quite insolent about it. I would push, whine, and pout. He has been teaching me though, to respect all that he gives to and does for me. First it was through explanation. Then I would be good sometimes, but not others.

He finally said, "You say you want to obey me. You want to respect what I say. Usually you're so good to me, but how can I make you behave when you're not?" To some of you, it may seem like a silly thing for him to ask me that. But we are both very new to this. Add to that his genuine respect for my thoughts, and his question is entirely legitimate.

I said to him, "You know how sometimes I tie a scarf around my mouth when we play in bed?" He said yes. Then I told him, "When I really will not be quiet in bed--will not behave, respect you, and let you sleep--you should tie one of those scarves around my mouth so that I can't speak properly. I may squirm a bit in your arms; but just hold me and I'll quiet down soon enough."

So that's what he did. And it worked! Anyhow, thank you for the article which explored deeper and alternative ways to carrying out dominance in a male-led relationship. Spanking has its place; but I think that what most on this site are trying to accomplish runs more pervasively into the relationship than spanking alone could ever accomodate. ~HollyCakes

Finding My Dominant Self

I have never considered myself a dominant person, though I wonder if somehow I manifest this "Commanding presence" you describe. When I go places, I am frequently approached and asked if I am the manager. People regularly come to me and ask for advice. Once, a co-worker spontaneously asked if I wanted a secretary, implying that she would be happy to have that position.

I always thought it was simply because I was "approachable", but now that I have done some research, it could be that I've been a "natural" alpha and never realized it. Another example, at a prior job, when I go out to lunch or dinner with a bunch of co-workers, it seemed to be my rising that was the herd "time to go back" trigger. After I left that company, some months later I went back to visit, and went out with the same group, but it was someone else that everyone looked to for signals, and I was the "outsider".