What is Executive Presence

What is Executive Presence?

No man or woman attains a top job, lands an extraordinary deal, or develops a significant following without this heady combination of confidence, poise, and authenticity. – Sylvia Ann Hewlett (Best Selling Author of Executive Presence: The Missing Link between Merit and Success)

A CXO with a powerful Executive Presence are in state of being which exude confidence, poise, and authenticity that not only makes everyone trust them but also inspires a lot of people around them.

In today’s world, organizations need leaders who have the same confidence, poise, authenticity to lead them towards higher success and growth despite all challenges. They need a leader with a powerful Executive Presence.

So before we understand what Executive Presence is, let’s beclear about what is not an executive presence.

What is not an Executive Presence?

A lot of times, we misunderstand certain behaviours or traits as a powerful executive presence. Unconsciously we start imbibing those traits in our day to day interactions. Executive Presence is not –

  • Being aggressive
  • Being Loud
  • Showing off
  • Being dominating
  • Being in the limelight just for the sake of it
  • Opposing things only to show a different perspective
  • Looking down on people
  • Demanding respect.

So on and so forth. I am sure you have seen a lot of people displaying the above behaviours and many more. They think that by doing so they are displaying a powerful executive presence, however unfortunately that is a myth.

So what is Executive Presence? 

Executive Presence is a quality that makes others believe in your potential. It makes others see you as a leader. It also makes others perceive that you are ready to take on CXO roles and responsibilities.

All senior corporate leaders, business executives, and entrepreneurs need to cultivate executive presence to grow higher in the modern workplace.

One may be a high performer but being a good performer is not enough to reach the CXO role. There are other qualities that one needs to consciously hone to develop strong credibility and inspire trust as a leader.

Winning the trust and respect within and across the teams cannot be forced, demanded, or manipulated. It is an automatic happening when we have a powerful executive presence.

“Executive Presence is the Positive impact felt by the ecosystem around a leader when she/he rediscovers the hidden greatness within.”  –Kshitij Sharma, Executive Presence Coach.

What is the impact of a powerful Executive Presence? 

Leaders who display a powerful Executive Presence have a tremendous positive impact on their ecosystem. Few things which are commonly observed includes

High level of Trust in their leadership: For such leaders with a powerful executive presence, trust is a very common by product. People naturally trust them and easily rally behind the initiatives led or sponsored by them. Ratan Tata, from the Tata Group is a good example of embodiment of Trust.

Highly motivated teams: Leaders with strong executive presence have a natural tendency to motivate and inspire their teams. Sir Richard Branson from Virgin Atlantic values his employees and puts them even before the customers. Leaders like him have the confidence to put their ideas into action, and it reflects in the people around them and the success that they achieve.

A positivity in culture:Leaders who are high on Executive Presence, are warm, caring, and confident which leads the whole organization culture towards positivity. In such cultures people strive for synergy and collaboration instead of focusing on unnecessary completion. There are lesser conflicts.

More hope: When a leader has a higher executive presence the confidence level and hope of the team goes up. They can feel the decisiveness of the leaders, and they know that things will happen.

No hesitation to do the right thing for the organization: Team members around such leaders do not hesitate to take the right actions in the interest of the organization. It is because their ownership for the organization goes up, and they know that their leaderwill support themIf they will focus on what is right for the organization.

High level of ownership/accountability in the team: Such leaders experiences high level of self-initiative and accountability in their teams as the team tends to be goal driven and proactive.

Good relationship with all stakeholders: When the team is motivated and goes the extra mile to achieve its objectives, then all stakeholders become happy and satisfied, resulting in a good relationship with them.

End Outcome – High productivity, High effectiveness/quality & eventually high profitability: Having leaders with a higher executive presence results in higher productivity, better quality of services, and ultimately high profitability.

And all this is achieved with everyone’s cooperation while providing the team a higher job satisfaction and fulfillment.

What constitutes a powerful executive presence?

Each individual has that innate greatness in them, and as she/he rediscovers it, they experience a shift in their overall executive presence.

According to Sylvia Ann Hewlett, author of “Executive presence – Missing link between Merit and Success” and CEO of Center for Talent innovation, there are following qualities that one needs to cultivate to increase one’s executive presence.

Confidence, poise, authenticity: To grow towards becoming confident, poised, and authentic in all situations is an inside-out journey. It is when you know about your victory beforehand that you exude confidence, poise, and authenticity.

Decisiveness: Decisive leaders can establish their credibility. It is because, in the fast-paced world of today, time is precious. A leader’s timely decision can save costs and move the organization towards the realization of its goals very fast.

Integrity: Integrity makes leaders make the right decisions and honest decisions. It not only gets people to trust them but helps establish life-long relationships.

Emotional intelligence: Emotional intelligence helps a leader become aware about their emotions and hence have a good command on them. This awareness helps themcare for the feelings of others. It wins them the love and respect of others.

Reputation and standing/pedigree: A leader’s track record and standing also add to his overall executive presence.

Vision/Charisma: A leader with a vision and charisma always wins a good following. It is because everyone loves to work towards a vision rather than only do their jobs. So one who communicates their vision to the team and has a charisma has executive presence.

All of the above qualities add to the gravitas of a leader, and if we add excellent communication skills to it, then a leader becomes almost unstoppable.

Can executive presence be developed?

Executive presence is a set of qualities and skills that one can develop.

One requires desire and commitment to developing these qualities.

Executive presence coaching by an executive coach can help a leader grow tremendously in this direction.

Executive Coach Kshitij Sharma is one of the best executive coaches in India, and he has been into executive coaching in Bangalore for the past two decades. His 7 Step Master Framework to boost Executive presence is a time tested model which has helped hundreds of leaders to have a powerful Executive Presence.

To discuss Kshitij’s executive coaching services for yourself or the individuals in your organization, Contact Coach Kshitij for Executive Coaching in Bangalore.