Thursday, June 5, 2008

In The Absence Of Executive Presence

Ever think you were perfect for a top job you didn't get? It might not have been your lack of achievements, but your lack of executive presence.

Just having functional excellence – no matter how towering – is not nearly enough to warrant a key to the executive washroom. As one respected recruiter said to me, “they're all good on paper.”

You have to be better in person. You need that quality known as "Executive Presence."

Unfortunately, too many people use the same definition for executive presence that Supreme Court Justice Stewart used when he defined pornography as “I know it when I see it.” It’s that kind of nebulous thinking that adds to the confusion.

In spite of its seemingly vague nature, developing executive presence is among the most frequent coaching requests made by companies and their leaders.

So let's clear out the cobwebs.

One of the great corporate truths is that companies, like people, are unique and what works in one may fail in another. There are few "one size fits all" behaviors for attaining corporate success. However, when it comes to executive presence, people see it the same way everywhere.

The most accurate description of executive presence is a leader who is at ease and comfortable with people throughout the organization, relaxed and composed under pressure, can connect quickly, communicate convincingly, skillfully handle the most difficult of situations and look, act and sound in ways that inspire confidence.

Beyond that, executive presence requires the ability to impact groups, build strong relationships, impress and influence others and be accepted by diverse constituencies.

Strive for all of them. Learn from the behaviors that are common to charismatic leaders and be sensitive to how they speak, think and act. Avail yourself of the scores of techniques used to help develop the skills necessary.

If you believe that your work alone will get you to the top, you're kidding yourself. Success is much harder in the absence of executive presence.

1 comment:

frankc60 said...

So true!

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