Leaders will all command respect in different ways and executive presence is much the same. While executive presence is a skill that can be learned, there are certain traits that can undoubtedly help.
In this section, we’ll go over some of the key behaviors and traits possessed by people who have excellent executive presence.
- Confidence – One of the most important aspects of executive presence is confidence. You must appear confident in the way you look and they way you speak, not only in what you say but also in how you say it. Stand tall, make eye contact, and focus on each person individually. Be aware of your tone and the way you speak. You should also dress the part.
- Charisma – This is the “it” factor that so many people with great executive presence have. Part of executive presence is the ability to captivate others. Making sure each person feels heard, making others feel as though you are focused on them, ensuring others know they matter – these things are all key for developing charisma. Others will be drawn to your charm and force of personality. You can use your charisma to influence and persuade others, which of course is a goal when developing executive presence.
- Trustworthiness – To lead others, you have to garner their trust. You cannot do this if you are not consistent and have no conviction. You must be the person others see doing the right thing. Be the one standing up and speaking out against wrongdoings. You must also have integrity, doing the right thing even when no one is watching (because someone always is watching). You must show others that you are worthy of their trust and that you are worth following.
- Relatability – Like we mentioned when discussing different viewpoints of executive presence, being relatable can be an important trait when it comes to establishing your own presence with people. One of the best ways to get people to notice you is to help them realize that you are the same as them – human. Don’t be afraid to discuss your experiences, your successes and failures. Make connections with others in order to build deeper, more meaningful relationships.
- Composure – It’s essential to be able to assess the emotions of the people around you. When you can determine how others are feeling, it can help you better navigate situations. This is all well and good as long as you can keep your own emotions in check as well. Managing the way you respond to situations can establish your presence. People who have executive presence do not tend to be rattled by their situation, instead responding with grace and remaining calm.
- Transparency and Authenticity – Again, another topic we’ve touched on when discussing executive presence. Authenticity is so important when it comes to establishing yourself as a person for others to emulate and follow. People with executive presence are genuine. They are comfortable with who they are, and they are straightforward pulling no punches whatsoever. Other people gravitate toward this, because people like this are trustworthy and relatable. It takes a confident person to be open about their mistakes and to own up to having fears and doubts.
- Conciseness – For people with executive presence, one of the most important skills is communication. You must be able to convey your point and do it clearly. Clarity and conciseness are key to this. You must have a clear understanding of what you are trying to communicate, and you will likely need to shorten your message. People don’t tend to have long attention spans so you should ask yourself how you can get your message across in 10 words. If you are unable to articulate your message briefly, you need to rework your message.
- Style – This goes along with what we’ve discussed when talking about leadership styles. People with executive presence rely on their own style of leadership without mimicking other leaders. Rely on your own sense of humor, your own mannerisms. Be authentically you and set yourself apart from other leaders. This will ensure people remember you and the reputation you have built for yourself.