5 Best Ways to Develop Executive Presence

Executive Presence is increasingly talked about in the business world. It’s meant to describe those employees who have the “right stuff” for promotion into leadership roles and positions. While you might believe you possess the proper leadership competencies and personality traits to move up, your boss and peers might not have the same perspective.

What is Executive Presence?

First, you need to understand exactly what Executive Presence means. Executive Presence is the ability to project your leadership, technical, communication and behavioral skills combined with confidence, cool under pressure, poise, assertiveness and appearance. It’s not just having the right professional job experience; it’s exuding your abilities through your demeanor, influence, and business results. You’re sending the “right” signals to others so they perceive you as a leader.

5 Ways to Develop Executive Presence

  1. Assess Your Current Status. Do you create a positive impression? Are you able to engage and influence others? Does your appearance and communication reflect your commitment to being remarkable? Be honest with yourself. They only way to get better is to look at your executive presence and realistically rate yourself to see what areas you need to improve. Use this free short assessment to get you started.
  2. Develop Your Vision of Career Success.Where do you want to take your career? You’ll never get there if you don’t have a destination or goal. Learn how to develop your vision with GROW.
    1. Goal: Begin with a destination. What job title or role do you aspire to? What would you feel if you achieved it?
    2. Reality Check: Take stock of the situation. Is this role realistic? How has your past job experience prepared you for this new vision?
    3. Options: Brainstorm possibilities. Brainstorm as many ideas as you can that would support your advancement to this role. What actions can you take to move forward?
    4. What’s Next? Move the action forward. What is one specific action you can take immediately to be ready for your new role? How committed are you to making this a priority?
  3. Assess Your Leadership Brand.  Think of the top 6 to 8 words that best describe you. Are you known for being kind, direct, creative, focused, calm or passionate? How are you misperceived or misunderstood? Which one brand characteristic could you focus on to improve?
  4. Build Your Confidence by Seeking FeedForward. Confidence is built through greater self-awareness and truth talk. Unfortunately many people view feedback as “bad” and fear hearing what they are doing “wrong”. Learn to seek FeedForward by picking one behavior you want to change or improve. Describe this behavior to a colleague and ask him/her for two suggestions for the future that will help you improve it. Listen to their suggestions and thank them for the ideas. Refrain from commenting on what they said or getting defensive about their suggestions.
  5. Develop Your Integrity. Do you value honesty, directness, ambition, creativity, courage, facts, or a supportive atmosphere? Rank your top 10 values in order of importance from 1 to 10. Think of a time your values were tested. Did you deviate from your values under pressure? What would you do differently if you could do it over again?

Once you begin to focus on developing your Executive Presence, you’ll find your voice as a leader. Your boss and peers will stand up and take notice when you do.