Every now and then I think of a topic and then think, ‘I must have already written a newsletter about this! It’s so important!’. Well, it happened again this week with Executive Presence.
How have I not already written a newsletter about executive presence? Crazy.
So today we’re going to demystify executive presence and talk about what it is, why you need it, and how you can develop it.
Let’s jump in.
First of all, if you’ve heard how important executive presence is, or even been told you need to work on it, but are a little confused about what exactly it is and how to develop it, you’re not alone.
Many of the women I work with struggle to wrap their heads around what exactly this is. And it’s not surprising why, because 1. it’s a relatively new term and 2. there aren’t universal frameworks around what defines it specifically and how to develop it. The result is that it feels vague and evasive for many people.
But the truth is, it doesn’t have to be some mysterious characteristic and it IS totally learnable.
So what is executive presence anyways?
Executive presence is the culmination of verbal and non-verbal behaviours that create the perception of a great leader. It’s that ‘wow’ factor that makes people want to follow you and trust your judgement.
I like to refer to executive presence as your personal leadership brand and let me tell you, it’s well worth investing in.
If you know me, you know something I talk about a lot is crossing the chasm between middle management and senior leadership. This chasm may be between Manager and Director, or Director and VP, depending on a whole host of factors.
Want to know one thing that makes it a heck of a lot easier to cross that chasm? Executive Presence.
Why is executive presence important?
The answer is simple: executive presence = opportunity.
Once you master executive presence you’ll notice:
- Leaders are taking you more seriously
- Your team looks up to you and wants to follow you
- Your ideas are heard and implemented
- You’re seen as the no-brainer choice for that next promotion
The opportunities you’ll gain to move into leadership will increase massively as you increase your executive presence.
Sounds worth it right? Which brings me to the final question:
How do you develop executive presence?
This is where most people get stuck. Executive presence isn’t just one thing. And there aren’t any universal frameworks out there that describe exactly how to develop executive presence, but there are some traits and characteristics that most will agree make up executive presence. When you work on these, you’re going to strengthen your executive presence.
The good news is, these are interconnected and many of them reinforce each other. So when you work on these traits, you’re getting good bang for your buck, because you’re also going to strengthen others.
These traits also happen to all start with C. Here’s the list of the 9 Cs of executive presence:
This may feel like a lot of traits! But when you really break it down, they fall into 4 broad categories. The categories are:
- Communication Style
- Professional Image
And Brittany, all of these traits are things you can learn and develop. Although some may come more naturally to you than others, they are all skills and not inherent characteristics you’re either born with or not.
So where to start? The first thing you can do is go down this list and assess where you’re at today, and then come up with some next steps to start strengthening the areas you struggle with most.
If you can strengthen each of these, you will 100% impact people’s perception of you. And you can go from being seen as ‘not ready yet’ to that no brainer choice for a leadership role.
Until next time friends… ✌️💜