The Point: It’s not whether you are born with executive presence or not, it’s whether you’ve got it or you don’t! We have a lot of first-time leaders that work with us that state their number one goal is to increase their “Executive Presence” in our initial meeting. But what exactly is Executive Presence? In this post we take a look at 10 characteristics that comprise the topic so that you can enhance yours as well… Enjoy!
Understanding Executive Presence
In their 2014 published article titled “Understanding Executive Presence: Perspectives of Business Professionals” authors Gavin Dagley and Cadeyrn Gaskin initially admit that Executive Presence“is an unclear concept but one that reportedly has a substantial influence on successful leadership.” So it should go without saying that the concept, even as elusive as it is to define, can and does have a dramatic impact on the perception of ones ability to lead. In their study of nearly 400 CEOs, C-Suite Leaders and Professional Development Managers, they found that with such presence 89% reported such presence helps people get ahead, and conversely 78% reported that limited presence will be a major factor in them being held back.
10 Executive Presence Characteristics to Work On
So with such a loose definition, one can imagine that little more than the U.S. Supreme Court’s definition of pornography would ensue (We’ll know Executive Presence when we see it!) Well that’s not good enough for you if you’re a leader or a high potential candidate looking to increase your odds of leadership success. With that in mind, Dagley and Gaskin identified the following 10 Executive Presence Characteristics:
- Status and Reputation – Strong reputations, impressive networks, senior roles in organizations, and significant claimed achievements.
- Physical Appearance – Appearance, stature, and non-verbal body language.
- Projected Confidence – Confidence as expressed through calmness, composure, and a sense of self.
- Communication Ability – The ability to articulate messages in clear, convincing, and appealing forms. Also their ability to use their voice appropriately. Lastly, the ability to make themselves heard.
- Engagement Skills – The ease in which leaders engaged with others.
- Interpersonal Integrity – Leaders acknowledged others contributions, been inclusive, remembered their last conversation, and displayed a human touch.
- Values-in-Action – The leader acts in accordance with principled personal values.
- Intellect and Expertise – The leaders ability to perform task-focused thinking.
- Outcome Delivery Ability – The ability to deliver key outcomes, consistently.
- Coercive Power Use – The leader forces compliance through the use of coercive power (or perhaps their ability to get things done without it?)
Executive Presence: A ‘Developing’ Image
Such characteristics that make up Executive Presence are typically thought to either be present, or not (‘On’ or ‘Off’ when judging). However, interesting to note is that one’s Executive Presence is actually shaped over two time periods; Initial contacts seem to shape the first five (5) characteristics, while the second five (5) are shaped on an ongoing basis.
I hope you enjoyed the post. If so, don’t forget to click on the ‘Like’ and ‘Share’ buttons and tell others who may find it useful. Also, I would love it if you would take a minute to comment on this post (That’s the BEST encouragement for me to continue to write and share!)
PS – You may also enjoy some of the other recent posts I wrote:
- The Leadership Challenge: Happy New Year! Now What?
- Leadership Amnesia: Should You Forget the Past to Move Forward to a Better Future?
- The Leadership Challenge: Are Your SMART Goals DUMB?
- The Leadership Challenge: Are You Climbing the Leadership Mountain?
- The Leadership Challenge: They Want You To Fail! 8 Leadership Tips to Overcome Failure
- The Leadership Challenge: Do You Exercise Your Moral Muscle?
- The Leadership Challenge: Conducting Post-Mortem Reviews
Sam Palazzolo is the Managing Director at Tip of the Spear Ventures, an agile Venture Capital and Business Advisory Services firm specializing in Executive Coaching, Leadership Development, and Communication Skills Training for Leaders.