Executive presence is less about how we show up, and more how others feel when we show up. Executive presence combines principles of inner beliefs and values with external competence and results. Whether we are in the boardroom or aspire for real leadership, executive level presence blends character, competence, and confidence to build a positive model of leadership and achievement.
Here are 6 Key Components of Executive Presence:
- Values: To really understand our values we should take an inventory of our beliefs and ideals. Our values are what motivate, inspire, and define us. If we don’t know what we stand for, someone else will define our beliefs through their influence on our actions.
- Humility: When our ego goes down, we expose our humility. In failure, humility is called vulnerability and opening ourselves to the reality that we are human. This is everything to those following us. We will more likely follow someone who shows their human side – prone to mistakes – than someone who claims to know it all.
- Posture and body language: One of the biggest drivers of confidence and executive presence is how we hold ourselves and the body language we present – even when no one is looking.I had a former leader tell me one time that even in the moments you are simply walking into a room, do so with the intent that you are walking to the stage to receive an award during a standing ovation.
- Listen to hear what is not spoken: Be attuned to the tone of voice being used and the body language is most of the message, less the actual words we hear. When our self-belief comes through in your choice of words, tone, and body language, our power increases. Notice that some people with confidence will carefully select their words and tend to avoid using 30 words when just 10 will do.
- Coach with passion: We struggle everyday to understand the gap between correcting and coaching. Leading with our heart, means comments and questions coming from a place of curiosity rather than the intent to challenge.
- Thinking and speaking: We believe business and our success is all about being efficient and effective. Those actions are lethal to our executive presence, as people and relationships require pull not push. As businessman and author, Steven Covey, once said, “Don’t be efficient with people.”
Executive presence means we are aware how powerful our words and actions can become, and we must step assuredly to build teams and lead people who are capable of winning. All appearances of executive presence – the handshake, tailored suit, posture and language – will be properly aligned if we build from the inner self out, and less from the outside in.