How To Optimize Your Executive Presence

Aileen McCarney - 21/09/2018
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Executive presence is an often overlooked quality in the workplace, but it is one which you should invest time and effort in in order to improve your leadership potential.

Anyone in a leadership role of any sort in an organisation (from CEO’s right down to managers and team leads) must hold some sort of executive presence. People rely and look to people in positions of power for guidance, reassurance and focus. They draw perceptions of leader figure’s strengths from the way their boss or colleague acts and expresses themselves. Business leaders can sometimes be perceived in a negative light as being unapproachable, on a power trip or overstressed. Meanwhile they may wish to be perceived as diplomatic, friendly and capable, no matter what level of seniority. 

If you want to use your influence in the most effective way possible, then you need to optimize your executive presence. Each one of us can use some guidance in order to improve our leadership skills and optimize this crucial blend of temperament, competencies and skills. Executive presence is an often overlooked concept which leaders must embody in order to influence others effectively and achieve optimum results. It can be difficult to explain exactly what executive presence is, but what it really comes down to is the ability of a professional to showcase a sense of confidence, ability, authority and strong communication skills - all which contribute to them being a successful leader. 

Let’s take a look at what can be easily done to optimize your executive presence with the following simple steps:

  • Be Always Aware

In order to hone your professional presence, one has to be aware of their strengths and weaknesses. Everybody has a range of skills, weaknesses, traits, talents, etc which will all be present in your executive presence. If you are self-aware, you will be best able to offer enhanced insights and give constructive feedback, as you will be aware on what aspects of your approach you need to work on and what areas you are strong in also. It is difficult to have a fair awareness of others if you do not have an apt awareness of yourself.

  • Effective Communication

The ability to communicate effectively is important in any aspect of life. Exceptional verbal and non-verbal skills are consistently demonstrated in your working persona teamed with the ability to listen and interpret others accurately. Strong communication skills enable one to hear the unsaid, connect with others and give constructive feedback to others without coming across rude or overly opinionated. The great thing is that unlike some aspects of executive presence, effective communication is a skill which can be honed and improved constantly via workshops, books, coaching, etc.

  • Dress To Impress

First impressions count, and you should always dress for the job you're in. Unfortunately, like it or not people do judge you on your appearance, especially in the workplace. People judge your competencies on how well you are put together and it can affect how you are perceived. Top tips to demonstrate executive presence via dress is good personal hygiene, clothes which aren’t too tight or too loose, well groomed hair and nails, etc. These aspects of our appearance, among others, work towards demonstrating who we are as a person and how we feel about ourselves. 

  • Practice Authenticity

You need to be yourself (within reason) in order to give those you’re engaging with a flavour of your personality. Authenticity is about taking the best traits of your true self and putting them out there for all to see. People can put across their best self while still remaining composed and respectful towards others. Putting on an act of being overly confident or superior will not do you any favours in terms of people being able to relate to you. This again ties back to the topic of self-awareness as mentioned above, by knowing yourself and bringing your real self to the workplace, people will be more likely to follow your lead. 

  • Public Speaking

This again ties back to the effective communication section, but often people can be an effective communicator but still not be capable of successfully public speaking. Speaking slowly, clearly and calmly is something which can only be achieved over time. There are often courses, workshops or aids which can assist you with this and the more important advice here is that practice makes perfect! Toastmasters are leading the way in terms of upskilling professionals around the world in the art of public speaking! Have a look on their website to see if there is a club near by you, or else you can form a new group in your own workplace! 

Executive presence is an important concept in any professional’s life, but especially in regards to those in positions of management or leadership. Nobody is born with an exceptional executive presence, it is something which you first of all must be made aware of, and next of all, work towards attaining and then maintaining, and not to mention always improving! 

We hope you found this article both informative and compelling, if you would like any recruitment advice or are interested in hearing more about La Crème’s services then please don't hesitate to get in touch at the following contact details.

Associate Director | Dublin
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