In order to flourish in your career, you’ll need to pay attention to your executive presence. You can learn to improve your presence for job interviews and promotion opportunities through coaching and leadership development.
“Executive presence begins in your head. It resides in how you think about yourself, your abilities, your environment, and your potential.” ~ Kristi Hedges, The Power of Presence: Unlock Your Potential to Influence and Engage Others, Amacom, 2012
Executive presence is described as how well a person speaks, looks, and acts like a leader. According to a new study by the Center for Talent Innovation, a non-profit research organization, being perceived as leadership material is essential to being promoted into leadership positions. In fact, the 268 senior executives surveyed said executive presence counts for 26% of what it takes to get promoted.
According to Sylvia Ann Hewlett, founder of CTI and author of Executive Presence: The Missing Link Between Merit and Success, three main factors create presence in a leader:
- How you act: gravitas
- How you speak: communication skills
- How you look: appearance
For the purpose of this post, let’s focus on how your actions can underline or undermine your presence as a leader.
Your Actions Speak Loudly
“Who you are speaks so loudly, I can hardly hear what you’re saying.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
It’s true; what we do speaks volumes about who we are and what we stand for. But how well do we observe and read our own actions? We are experts at reading other people’s actions, and other people know how to read ours.
You may be clear on your intentions and still not be perceived the way you intend to be because your actions aren’t clear enough and not aligned with what you say you believe.
There are subtle differences between what you say and do and how other people receive and perceive you. Unfortunately, unless you’re working with a coach, you may not have access to that kind of feedback. You may be deluding yourself as to how you come across to others. If you’re in any kind of leadership or management position, often people won’t give you the feedback you need. A coach will.
This is too important to leave to chance or self-delusions. Find out through a trusted mentor or coach how your actions are perceived.
In the work I do coaching some very smart people, you’d be amazed at how many times people just don’t see themselves the way others do.