Executive Presence and why should you care
One of the intangible yet influential leadership quality is executive presence. Leaders who drives positive, sustainable and futuristic change for their country, business, profession or in general pushes humanity forward have something extraordinary about their presence. Their presence introduces them first before they start speaking.
So, what is executive presence? Narendra Modi has it and so does Chanda Kochhar. No person gets on to create real change in the world without this solid combination of confidence, poise and authenticity that makes others understand, respect and follow. Executive presence is not about performance, it’s about the possibilities that your presence creates.
There are variety of dimensions attached to explaining executive presence and can be summed up to three key categories.
1) Gravitas – Gravitas is a Latin word that means “weight or heaviness.” It came to mean a figurative weight after gravity acquired a primarily scientific meaning. Gravitas is a serious and most sought after quality in a leader to be able to create meaningful and reliable changes for greater good of society and humanity. Gravitas is core to the character of a leader.
2) Communication – Communication can be defined as what others are understanding, believing and acting through when you connect with them through thoughts, words, wisdom and action. Here communication is how you state yourself with spoken and unspoken words, body language, intention, passion, perseverance and presence.
3) Style – Style can be defined as an appearance that is aligned to who you are, what do you stand for in an organization, institution and the world, what changes are your driving to make your leadership moments count while you are alive and in charge of the situation. As you continue to grow you style starts speaking for itself and adds value to your presence. Building an executive presence is important to leadership and beyond. However, it is not easy and may not come naturally to practice it at all hours. Maintaining and perfecting executive presence requires conscious and consistent daily efforts.
We convince by our presence – Walt Whitman
Leaders who lack executive presence tolerate things that should not have been, get comfortable with not learning, stop inspiring the ecosystem for necessary business and people changes. They do not do it consciously most of the time, however they continue to ignore the necessity of building it. If “Improving leadership presence” is one of your professional goal this year, then here are three key benefits that you gain first and the give back to your organization and its people.
1) Authenticity – When you become an authentic leader and continue to hold on to it, people give you trust and power in the moment when it is needed the most.
2) Acceptability – When you lead people, businesses, countries and at times global and local crisis in an authentic way, your leadership acceptability reaches peak and gets registered in the minds and hearts of your stakeholders.
3) Courage – When you dare to do the right thing and willing to go extra miles to make it happen for greater good, you show your presence through alignment and harmony of thoughts, believes, actions and faith.
In one of the leadership interview, Jeff Immelt CEO GE shares that one of the common mistake professionals make who desire to get promoted is that they about the next job. His best advice is “Do every job like you are going to have it forever.” Not doing something with full heart, hands and mind creates space for other things and becomes an example of uninfluential and unauthentic executive presence.
On the other hand, when you are fully present, you bring enormous amount of trust and respect to all involved. Your presence then speaks volumes about you and creates large positive impact.
Executive Presence is the presence of truth in the moment of leadership – Vivek Slaria
It is the presence of a leader who stands for authentic leadership and demonstrates confidence, clarity and commitment as per the need of an hour. As we say your presence introduces you first, before you speak.
Yes, you can be the next leader who has it.
Vivek Slaria is an Executive Coach and founder, Originbluy, a firm coaching CXOs in India.