Today, as organizations build talent for the future via the organizational talent pipeline, they need to ensure the development of executive presence. Why? Because as people move into higher-level positions as senior execs, they become the face of your organization. They shape your corporate DNA. They are also under extreme pressure like they’ve never before experienced. They are constantly scrutinized under the microscope…both internally and externally. Every word they say has influence.
If they don’t have a fully-developed presence their increasing influence will be negative, not positive. They need to inspire with their mindset, decision-making under duress, and their all-important soft skills. All of that has to come from a core confidence that’s both authentic and contagious. You don’t get those qualities overnight or off the shelf in some weekend seminar. But if you are willing to practice exuding a confident presence, yours will strengthen day by day. It can be the game-changer to propel your career forward into senior management…or even the C-Suite.
When companies reach out to me for coaching, I ask how they articulate executive presence. Nobody answers the same way because there is no real consensus. I then ask them how someone can command attention in a meeting without demanding attention. They say confidence. I ask what they believe is the secret to making a fantastic first impression. They again say it is confidence.
Confidence is essential to your executive presence. If your confidence is genuine, it is expressed as magnetic executive charisma. When you’re confident you’re comfortable in your own skin and you are decisive in your mind and actions. You welcome accountability and are not afraid of the risk and responsibility that comes with being a bold decision-maker.
1. Leadership Risk Vs. Reward
The word executive comes from the word execute. You must execute your ideas through real action. Leadership means making good, timely decisions. Influence is important, and so is group consensus. But you’re the leader. At times you must step-up and make the difficult decision to move your team forward. Most leaders tend to procrastinate. They don’t have a self-assured belief in themselves. They want more data. They want more time. They want to kick the can down the road. Meanwhile their team looks at them and sees a weak leader who does not inspire their confidence, either. It becomes a cycle of increasing weakness in your organizational DNA.If you are willing to practice exuding a confident presence, yours will strengthen day by day Click To Tweet
Question: Do you have sharp decision-making skills and a self-assured confidence? Or do you hesitate, especially when you are under duress and the stakes are high?
2. Captivate, Engage, and Convince
Another element of being confident is having a charismatic communication style. Do you have the ability to captivate your audience? Do you frame your message in specific language tailored to that particular audience? You have to be clear, concise, and use power words that resonate. That goes for emails, interviews, weekly team meetings, C-suite presentations, sales pitches, and keynotes.Drive the conversation knowing when to expand, when to pivot, and when to land.
Question: Can you successfully lead both formal and informal meetings? Can you rely on yourself to command the room in a collaborative communication style that lets everyone feel included and heard? Do you customize your words to fit your listeners, or fall back on a one-size-fits-all approach that isn’t working?
3. Share the “Real Truth”
Another key asset of executive presence is having the courage to share the “real truth” with your stakeholders, clients, vendors, and employees. Whether it’s a developmental conversation with an employee, advising a client they’re making a mistake, or admitting you missed investor expectations…you have to stand strong in your truth. Too many leaders shirk away from these difficult conversations, which only makes matter worse. But once you know how to approach the dialogue, ask the right questions, listen, and then advise, you can turn the situation around. You strengthen a trusted partnership.
Question: Do you proactively engage in brave conversations to share the “real truth” with others? Or do you wait until it is too late…and you confront a real crisis of credibility and loss of faith in your leadership?
To exude greater executive presence, you need to develop a mastery of confident communication. But remember that the components of genuine executive presence are all learnable skills. Few are born with that magnetism and influence. Learn it, practice it, and encourage it in those you lead. That will pave the way for your lifelong career advancement.