Executive Presence is the best way to make sure the culture is present and consistent throughout the company. You can’t hide behind the curtain and expect the intended culture to thrive without strong leadership.
–Cindy Borrelli, HR Consultant, Keystone HR
But first, what is Executive Presence, anyway?
We’re talking about presence, not pretense.
People in recruiting and hiring for the executive suite talk about “executive presence” A LOT. It definitely impacts earnings, promotions and the types of projects you get.
The state of presence (not pretense) occurs when we stop worrying about impressing others. As research shows, we don’t need to spend a year in an Ashram or complete some inner transformation to harness the power of presence. Instead, through small changes, by tweaking our body language, behavior, and mind-set we can have a more compelling presence without fear of pretension.
When it comes to clarifying executive presence, it’s helpful to get clear on what it’s NOT.
Executive Presence is not….
It’s certainly not lording it over everyone and dominating the meeting.
It’s not isolating yourself at the table immersed in your screen.
It’s not being loud or even chatty.
People with Executive Presence often are the last ones to speak. But when they do, others listen.
Jill Abramson was shot down as Editor of the New York Times. She was criticized for being abrasive. She did not have presence.
Executive Presence is NOT about performance but it affects performance. It’s what you signal about your performance.
Executive presence has a purpose. Once you understand and internalize that, other details fall into place.
Here’s the bottom line about Executive Presence.
The purpose of Executive Presence is to inspire confidence and trust.
That makes it a defining leadership quality. Think about it, if you want your team, your company, to take a specific direction, the whole change or project goes far better if everyone has confidence in and trusts the leader.
Your Challenge for today: The WHY
Before continuing, take a minute to stretch, breathe deeply and relax. Getting into the habit of grounding yourself in this way will already enhance your executive presence.
In numerous surveys, Nelson Mandela is thought to be the “complete package” in executive presence. He is known for extraordinary integrity, the ways he had earned leadership, his amazing understanding and leverage of the power of symbolism. He made it on the international stage when he hugged members of the all-white SpringBok rugby team. That was the beginning of the end of apartheid. That’s the power of executive presence (plus other factors of course.)
As a 2012 presidential candidate, Mitt Romney lacked presence because he showed little empathy or understanding for how others lived and worked. That doesn’t mean he didn’t have that understanding, just that if he did, that empathy did not communicate.
we move forward with this challenge, it’s essential to get clear on why you are
interested in this topic in the first place.
Your challenge for today is to share WHY you want to have more presence.
What would having a stronger Executive Presence help you achieve?
If you’re pretty clear on your why, just write it down in the box below in two or three sentences. If you’d like some structure to help you, use the following template. Write it down somewhere.
Here’s your template:
Right now in my career I’m really focused on _____________.
I want more visibility in my organization/community so I can ______________ more easily.
I’m convinced having more Executive Presence will help me ______________, which will help the organization/community _____________.
In addition, I’m setting an example for ___________ and want them to learn how to inspire confidence and trust in others.