One factor can differentiate you from everyone else as a leader. It is called executive presence.
The definition of executive presence is elusive, as it can mean different things based upon whom you ask. If you ask several people what it is, you may get the response, “I’ll know it when I see it.” Look at the photo below; these are real-life leaders who most would say have executive presence. It seems to be not only about how others perceive you but how you perceive yourself. If you don’t have confidence in your abilities, self-doubt will be easy to see by others. It is possible to reframe the messages you tell your brain and drastically strengthen your executive presence.
Here are nine factors that define the meaning of the term executive presence. Here are a few characteristics that clarify the term.
1. What is your reputation from your roles, awards, or accomplishments? Does that reputation seem to impress others?
2. If you look at the people in the photo below, you might say they have “it.” A physical appearance, a sense of self-confidence, and a way they communicate non-verbally.
3. Those with executive presence have a sense of self-control, confidence, and poise in high-pressure situations. A sales manager might be asked by the CEO, “why are sales down this month?” A response to a pressure-filled question flows off the tongue of the manager without hesitation and with confidence.
4. They have strong speaking skills. A voice that speaks up to be heard and has mastered the art of communication.
5. Strong interpersonal skills indicate a sense of charm, openness, and friendly nature.
6. A sense of moral values and integrity is admired and trusted by those around them.
7. Intelligence and expertise are recognized as having great judgment and wisdom.
8. Results-driven and a self-starter who is committed to their passions.
9. They have the power to create a compliant atmosphere through persuasion and influence.
Change your focus in related leadership activities to improve your executive presence:
- Be clear about your purpose when you meet other people.
- Have clarity about your point of view.
- Listen and connect with others.
- Focus on your body language and appearance.
- Bring energy to conversations and discussions.
- Do you speak decisively? Don’t use tentative words. i.e., I think it could be; I’m not sure.
- Make your values explicit and help others know what you stand for.
- Keep your emotions in check when participating in challenging conversations.
- Do you look for opportunities to grow?
1. Focus on emotional intelligence. Building self-awareness, motivation, and interpersonal skills are all a part of emotional intelligence. Become more aware of others’ feelings. Check out my Wednesday Morning Memo on “Putting emotional Intelligence into Practice in Your Leadership.”
2. Seek Feedback. Pick five people you know well and ask for their input and constructive feedback. Work with a leadership coach to get clear about how you are perceived. You can take a 360-degree performance survey to evaluate your personal qualities, interpersonal skills, problem-solving skills, and leadership skills. Regular 360-degree feedback gives leaders the tools they need to be more effective change agents.
3. Reflect. Using a journal to capture your feelings, thoughts, and challenges can help improve new skills and knowledge. When looking at your strengths and weaknesses, take a balanced approach.
Executive presence can improve your career success by changing how others perceive you. If you need help with this process, schedule a complimentary discovery session with me on my website scheduling page.