Why Executive or Leadership Presence Is Important

I’m often asked to speak on the topic of Executive Presence. It is something that may seem superficial to some, but for existing and rising leaders, being able to command respect is part of the success equation.

Here’s why executive presence is so important. We make split-second judgments about people we meet. It may not be right, but it’s true. Presenting a well-groomed image signals that you’re someone company leaders can trust to represent the enterprise, and employees can rely on to lead them.

Strategy is central in today’s business world. People with strong executive presence speak in terms of strategic benefit, demonstrating a big picture understanding of their own role in the company.

Relationship and results round out the executive presence package. The ability to bring new and impactful relationships to your organization, and produce and deliver results is key to developing a winning reputation.

What Executive or Leadership Presence Looks Like

Dale Carnegie once said, “Act enthusiastic and you’ll be enthusiastic.” The same can be said for executive presence. You can at any time consciously choose to present yourself with the confidence and composure of a leader no matter what your current role.

Commanding respect goes beyond degrees and titles. It’s about how well you communicate. People with executive presence not only speak clearly and convincingly, they know when to stop speaking and start listening.

Body language and appearance are also important to executive presence. Erect posture signals that you’re self-assured, and it makes you feel more powerful. An age-appropriate, well fitting, flattering wardrobe consistent with the image of a leader broadcasts power. These things may seem superficial, but as you seek to rise in the company ranks, the image you put forth can sell you just as much as your MBA.

Executive Or Leadership Presence and EQ

I help several of my clients improve their Executive or Leadership Presence. How they look, speak and carry themselves contributes to how they are perceived by others and whether they can command respect. But, how they behave is tie that binds everything together.

People with solid executive presence behave with great emotional intelligence or EQ. They’ve mastered the ability to remain calm during stressful situations. They’ve learned how to identify their own trigger points and manage the reactions.   Other ways people with executive or leadership presence employ EQ:

  • They think before they act.
  • They recognize how their moods affect others and manage interactions accordingly.
  • They treat others with respect and empathy.
  • They look out in to the future and imagine the potential consequences of a response, and refrain from acting in ways that sabotage their intentions or the greater good.

It’s not enough to look like an executive. Behavior is what drives long term success in the c-suite.