Executive Presence: Fastest Way to the CXO Title

When you enter, people notice.
When you speak, people listen.
When you lead, people follow.

A Star leader tends to have an aura about him, one that makes others want to follow the person. Does it mean that you need to be born under a lucky leader star? Oh, no! This is something that you can acquire if you set your mind to it and care to learn the science behind this.

To project leadership, you HAVE to possess the core competency of leadership- Executive Presence. It is the leader’s presence that helps others to get interested, influenced, and inspired by the leader. For Star leaders, this is a way of life. Everyone around them is impacted by their presence. In fact, it’s the executive presence of such leaders that make people like them, trust them, and be led by them.

Executive presence can be broken down into 3 core behaviours– Focus, Power, and Warmth. To analyse these behaviours you might want to do an analysis on yourself and then proceed to try and get better in certain behaviours. Or take a help of an executive presence coach who will easily make you more aware of which of these three behaviours you are projecting more and how to skillfully wield these behaviours depending on the business situation.

Behaviours of Power

Let’s take the first leadership behaviour of executive presence- Power. The physical aspect of power is very important and that means you need to look like a leader. Since appearance is the foundation for displaying power lets focus on it in this blog. You need to dress well that not only can you make a great impression with your team but also carry yourself in a boardroom with élan. You need to wear the right colours and cuts to come across as powerful leader. Did you know that you can up your authority and status using the psychology of colours and styles? Sometimes, all you need to enhance your power in your impressions is a powerful dressing style, or a new haircut or a woody cologne that gives out the subtle signal of your power to the other person. Research shows that not only does power dressing make you appear more commanding but also is a great confidence booster. Also, pay attention to your body language. After dressing, people gauge your power dynamics with the firmness of your handshake, how often you gesticulate with your hands, and how do you use your body to occupy more physical space.

Behaviours of Focus

The aspect of your focus plays a very big role in projecting executive presence. The secret is for you to shift your focus from yourself to the other person for them to believe in you and get them to look up to you. Practice focusing what the other person is saying, how he is saying, the colour of his eyes to give him the attention of his life. Remind yourself constantly that you are a leader and that people will heed what you have to say only if you heed to them. Another aspect of working on your focus is your internal focus. It’s only when your mind believes that you can increase your executive presence that you can actually do it. It really is true that a lot of what you project is in your mind and stems from what you think of yourself. So clear out your mind of all those cobwebs of self-doubt and self-talk and replace it with self-esteem and confidence of being able and willing to lead. If you need help to make you believe in yourself, it would be a good investment to look for an executive coach with a psychology background to not only will help you overcome mental obstacles but also help you create a charismatic mental state.

Behaviours of Warmth

“Increasing your ability to portray warmth at the workplace enhances your ability to enjoy your work” This is what a senior consulting leader in Mumbai, told me while I was coaching her. Yes, warmth is your ability to project likeability and trust among your stakeholders. As a leader during good times do you bring out the best in your team? And during tough times do you take care of them? Emotionally, you need to put emotions like excitement and anger on the back burner and strive to be calm and collected, no matter what the conflict or situation at work is. When you are balanced inside, it makes it so much easier to command a presence outside. Mindfulness can help you control your emotions and convert your negative energy to goodwill towards colleagues and various stakeholders.

Summary: Executive presence is a learnable skill. Senior leaders and high potential talent have cracked into CXO positions and senior leadership roles using their executive presence. It’s time you too practice this business science that is critical to help you stand out, influence, and lead. #BeTheStar