Executive presence is the je ne sais quoi of the business world. If you do have executive presence, it will be obvious to everyone around you. If you don’t have it, it is just as obvious. What exactly is executive presence?
It has been described as the ability to establish yourself as a leader among others, even when there is no formal hierarchy. Those that have executive presence are often the leader of the pack. It is the natural leadership and way of relating to others that makes these individuals whom everyone wants to follow. For many, executive presence can be hard to cultivate. If you have ever been told that you lack leadership or executive presence, it can be hard to know how to gain it or how to improve so that you can increase your value as a leader. However, have no doubt--having executive presence will increase your value as a leader. It will set the stage for you to become the leader that everyone wants and values.
What does executive presence look like
Executive presence boils down to how you carry yourself, and how other people perceive you. It is more than having great presentation skills or commanding the room. Do you come across as someone who’s in charge or should be? Do you inspire confidence in others? Do people view you as someone who is both capable and competent? Your character, attitude, communication skills and even how you get things done are certainly all part of the qualities that make up executive presence, but true executive presence is the X-factor that sets you apart from others. Executive presence looks different on each of us because it aligns with a person’s style, personality, and values.
Why it matters
Better Career Opportunities
Executive presence is the key to being a dynamic leader who people want to listen to and follow. Executive presence opens up better career opportunities because you become a valuable asset. You exude competence and discipline and become the go-to person for getting things done. If you want to climb the ladder, you need to start working on your executive presence. Just remember that important decisions about you are made when you’re not even in the room. This is why it is important to consistently exude executive presence—you want the decision makers to remember you when it is time to assign high profile projects, give recommendations, or promotions. The opportunities you have depend on how much you’ve inspired key decision makers that you’re the person who can get it done.
Higher Levels of Trust
There have been lots of articles written on executive presence. While some feel that it is hard to define, people who have a strong executive presence typically build solid relationships based on trust. If you are an authentic person, who shows humility, that builds trust with others, as does your integrity and your genuine concern for others. Do you act by your values? Do you have confidence and composure? Are you impeccable with your word?
People Want You on Their Team
Everyone wants you on their team because you embody the qualities of executive presence. This means you work well with others, make sound long and short-term decisions, you have both vision as well as practical wisdom, you can persuasively present your case to stakeholders, and can get things done through others. Organizations align themselves with people who get things done, and if you own your own business, clients will want to build relationships with people who makes things happen and get results in a way that works for all.
Stabilizer in Times of Uncertainty
A strong presence is especially beneficial in times of uncertainty and change. Given the dynamic world that we live it, this is a highly regarded trait. It’s easy for companies and their employees to get off track when the future is unknown. The idea of change is unsettling for many to say the least. It’s an asset for any organization to have a person who can help navigate the winding road of uncertainty and change. When you possess this quality, it serves as a stabilizing influence to your team members, both individually and collectively. All the other qualities of executive presence usually kick into high gear during stressful times.
After reading this, you are likely more able to assess whether you have executive presence or whether you don’t. The good news is that executive presence is a skill rather than a trait, so it is something you can build and perfect over time. As with any other skill you are trying to build, it takes continual focus, good and consistent habits and lots of practice. Click here to jumpstart executive presence.
Go forth and conquer!
About the Author: Michele Thompson Rosario, CEO of Bright Effects, helping entrepreneurs get clients, get traffic, and get results.