“You have an outstanding executive presence,” is one of the most mysterious and perplexing pieces of feedback one can get.
What exactly does that imply? And what was it that is defining? It’s a fantastic goal to focus on, but it’s also ambiguous and complicated, so it needs to be mapped out.
What Is Executive Presence, and What Does It Mean?
In its most basic form, executive presence is about the ability to inspire confidence in others, in your subordinates that you’re the leader they want to obey, in your colleagues that you’re competent and trustworthy, and, most importantly, you have the capacity to do great things.
What Are the Benefits of Executive Presence?
Whether or not you are given access to opportunities is determined by your executive presence. “All the important decisions regarding you will be made while you’re not in the room,” says a leadership maxim. That is right.
You won’t be in the room when a key decision is made, whether it’s a promotion to a key position or a project with a lot of exposure. The resources you gain access to are determined by the decision-makers’ confidence in you.
How to Improve Your Executive Presence?
Executive presence is an ability that some people are inherently better at than others. However, with emphasis and practice, everyone can strengthen their executive presence.
Here are some main steps to help you create and improve your own:
- Have a clear vision and be able to express it effectively- Getting a clear vision, a well-conceived idea of what you’re trying to achieve—is one of the most important aspects of inspiring confidence. If it’s a three-minute elevator ride with a senior executive, an offsite with your staff, or a dinner with key stakeholders, you should be able to express your vision flawlessly in every situation.
- Recognize how people see you- Employees with strong executive presence are acutely aware of how others view them. Learn how people see you and what they think of you. Seek advice from colleagues and seek suggestions from managers, colleagues, and subordinates. Include people who have seen you in a number of settings.
- Improve your communications skills- Communication is at the heart of good leadership, and individuals with strong executive presence are outstanding communicators. Obtain feedback on your communication and devote time to improving your communication abilities. You must be an exceptional communicator in all situations and across all mediums, including in-person, written, and interactive communication.
- Develop your listening skills– one of the most essential communication abilities is the ability to listen. People who have a strong executive presence are better listeners. They pay full attention, ask excellent questions, and listen to engage others and explore important ideas. The willingness to efficiently listen reflects self-confidence, which is another important aspect of executive presence.
- Make sure your presence doesn’t draw attention away from the task at hand– The way you look makes a first impression, and first impressions are strong, whether conscious or subconscious. You want to make sure that your first impression leaves a positive impression and your appearance is suitable for the environment and company culture, as well as comparable to those in your role.