Early in my career, long before I was an executive, someone gave me the advice to focus on my executive presence. Their advice was to come across as an executive before I was an executive.
Do you have executive presence? If not, why? If so, where can you improve upon what you're already doing?
This post will give you all you need to up your game in the executive presence department.
Why is executive presence important?
What are the traits that embody executive presence?
The 3 steps to demonstrate executive presence
First, what is executive presence?
It can refer to so many different approaches.
In short, it's the level of self-confidence that inspires others into action:
According to research by John Beeson with HBR, executive presence is the ability to
- project mature self-confidence, a sense that you can take control of difficult, unpredictable situations;
- make tough decisions in a timely way and
- hold your own with other talented and strong-willed members of the executive team.
Executive presence is critical for anyone who wants to:
In short, if you want to have influence and impact over an organization, and ultimately the title that reflects this value you add, it's key to show up as an executive, with executive presence.
These 7 traits from the article 7 Traits of Executive Presence clearly explain what executive presence is:
What does it feel like to be an executive?
What % of your day do you feel like an executive?
If it's less than 100%, ask yourself why?
What feelings do you have instead? You might be feeling emotions like:
After you notice the non-executive feelings that are creeping in, the next step is to identify the root cause of those feelings.
For many people,
For the times of your day where you don't feel like you're an executive, ask yourself
Step #2 is to clearly define for yourself what you would be thinking and feeling if you already achieved the executive status that you desire. Keep in mind, this might not even be a title for you, it's the influence and credibility that comes with thinking, feeling and acting in a way that shows your executive presence.
Now that you know exactly what you want to be feeling and thinking as an executive, the last step is to determine the actions that you will take from that powerful frame of mind.
Design your own version of executive presence by answering the following questions and putting them into practice:
Now that you've got a clear definition of your executive self, what he/she is doing and thinking (and not doing and not thinking), give this new executive version of yourself a name.
This is the name that you call upon in situations where you want your executive presence to shine.
This is your alter ego.
Mine is London. This is where I felt so powerful, fearless and adventurous in my career. I love calling up those feelings when I know I want to demonstrate executive presence.
Be the person who already has what you want. Be the person who has executive presence. Don't wait for someone to give you a title or a label.
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