Many experts agree that Executive Presence is the #1 thing setting successful leaders apart from struggling leaders.
Have you ever been told that “you need to be more charismatic”? or that “you need to project more authority” for people to take you seriously?
Or that you didn’t get a promotion because “you don’t demonstrate gravitas necessary for the position”?
What these comments usually mean, but people saying them don’t articulate well, is that you are expected to have a strong Executive Presence, but you don’t.
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Executive Presence Meaning
Executive Presence has been considered for a long time as the “Factor X” – an elusive, innate ability that people either have or don’t.
Today, backed by long-term research we know that Executive Presence is not something people are born with, but rather a skill set that can be developed.
Better still: today we know exactly what attributes and skills belong to this skill set and how to develop them.
Here are the main building blocks:
- Mindset: The beliefs you hold about yourself, people and the world.
- Soft Skills: Communication skills, social competence, emotional intelligence.
- Gravitas: Personal and professional integrity and substance (character, appearance and behavior).
- Charisma: A strong personal quality that makes people like you and be attracted to you. This is a category of its own, at the intercession of all the others.
Having Executive Presence Puts You In The League Of Your Own:
- You have ability to project unstoppable self-confidence.
- People trust you and believe in you.
- You are respected and admired for your integrity.
- You can take control of difficult, unpredictable situations, make tough decisions in a timely way, and hold your own with other talented and strong-willed members of the executive team.
- This opens doors for you to accelerate your career and get the roles and the opportunities you deserve.
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People see you as a natural authority:
- You find it easy to get the best people to work for you because you are likable and respected.
- You can self-promote effectively without provoking jealousy or judgement.
- You are composed and in control in crisis situations. This makes people naturally gravitate towards you and look for your leadership, especially in tough moments.
- Your excellent communication skills help you influence people easily, making you a very effective leader.
- You inspire your teams to deliver excellence as standard.
Your team and bosses take you seriously and listen to you:
- You get attention when you need it.
- Your words carry weight.
- Your confidence and competence project a strong, professional image.
- You are given prestigious projects which open doors to higher levels of influence and financial and material benefits.
- Your teams have higher motivation and performance because your soft skills allow you to build strong social bonds and help you to create psychological safety and openness necessary to build trust.
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People respect your time and energy, allowing you to have good work-life balance:
- You set and keep healthy boundaries.
- You have strong social assertiveness, and you don’t waste your precious time and energy on people pleasing.
- You know your rights and you are not afraid to stand up for your needs & values. You also stand up for other people, and they appreciate it and respect you for it.
- You have enough time for work and a fulfilling personal life.
You have a personal brand that people are attracted to:
- You define your authentic brand, increase your visibility and make a powerful impact.
- You communicate with credibility and confidence, and get your voice respected across different media.
- You can represent your team and organization in the best possible way, adding to your reputation as a leader with class and charisma.
Low Executive Presence, however, can effectively block your career path if you:
- can’t present your ideas well to individuals and larger groups.
- can’t influence and convince people.
- are poor at giving and receiving feedback.
- can’t make alliances.
- if your ego takes over.
- if you can’t keep composure in a crisis.
All these things will result in the label: “NOT LEADERSHIP MATERIAL”, putting you firmly in the category of a follower, “second best”, “not worth investing in”.
Having such a label might relegate you to the second league, where your potential will get squandered without the necessary support and investment.
Playing in the second league has a tangible cost of the lost opportunities, but it also takes its toll on your self-confidence and self-esteem, making you trust yourself less, diminishing your ambition and motivation to try to do your best. It’s a sad, vicious cycle.
In today’s work environment, it’s not enough to rely on a title or expertise alone to be respected or even to be noticed.
What’s required is a strong leadership brand and the ability to communicate effectively, build meaningful relationships, and use your influence to galvanize people around the common purpose and goals
What’s required from you today is a strong Executive Presence. Do you have it? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section.