What is Executive Presence – personal presence or leadership presence or what? I keep asking myself, but there is no dictionary meaning to it, you know it when you see it. It’s the X factor or the WoW factor that makes someone stand apart from the crowd. Consider, why is the lion king of the jungle? The reasons are his “impressive mane” and “even more impressive roar.” Though other creatures may be smarter or even bigger, the lion has a special blend of true power and “an image and behavior that convey that power. In today’s business jungle, not only image matters but the ability to earn it, too. If you want to rise to the top of your firm, whether you are a lion or a lioness, you must craft and maintain an “executive presence”.
Executive Presence is all about conviction and beliefs – and how one applies them through their actions and interactions with others. The WOW factor that we experience and see in leaders is all about confidence and credibility. It’s about how they battle the odds and don’t get steered by difficult situations. Their enthusiasms, optimism and passion are infectious. They create an experience that ignites others to want to know more about them, their personal brand and their business. Executive presence is not about showcasing your skills or knowledge; it’s about creating your ‘BRAND’. Most of the time its considered to be the outward appearance – how you dress n look, your grooming habits — I would say this is just the cover of the book, but executive presence is more than the cover – it’s the core – your heart, values, beliefs – that’s what creates your Brand and differentiates you from the crowd.
Why is Executive Presence Important?
At the workplace today, we are always judged by our managers, peers or team on not only “What” we do, but “How” we do it also. In this digital world, with lot of noise and so many mediums of communications – whatsapp, facebook, instagram, etc, it’s all the more important to manage our image and executive presence to ensure that we are building the brand that we would like people to know us as. It all starts by managing the perceptions of those whose opinions counts as well as becoming self aware of your core beliefs and values. It’s important to build your credibility while being authentic — what you want to be known for – what you believe it. We have no choice but to work on our brand, otherwise we are left with confused mix of our behavior and perceptions which are of no use to our presence.
If you are a leader or aspiring to be one, you don’t make it to the top neither you stay at the top if you don’t have people following you. The only reason why someone will follow you is if you ‘walk the talk’. It’s a vital leadership characteristic. It’s the differentiator when organizations need to choose a few for special opportunities and promotions among a competitive field of many other smart managers who also get results. According to a study by the Center for Talent Innovation, Executive Presence counted for 26% of what it takes to get promoted to leadership positions. That’s huge when you think of the dozens of other leadership qualities. This single factor 26% is a differentiator.
What does it take to create this ‘X’ factor? What style, what behaviors combine to signal that level of self-confidence to others?
Are you ready to re-invent yourself? Have you used any strategies to build your presence? Share your experience with us.
Look out for our next blog on how to build your executive presence.