Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Develop Your Executive Presence: Part III

All the world is a stage … if you’re an executive, act like one.

The previous two blogs on executive presence dealt with looking and sounding the part. Acting the part is the most nuanced and for many executives, the most difficult to consistently demonstrate. From the penthouse to the parking garage, from the C-suite to the custodial shop, those with executive presence are easily recognized regardless of where they are or whom they’re with.

Acting the part is a way of life

There’s no such thing as part-time executive presence. Those who have developed the required behaviors display them constantly:

Poise
  • Remain relaxed and composed when under pressure.
Self-confidence
  • Be comfortable in your own skin. Project expertise, assurance and resolve.

Passion

  • Express a level of commitment that conveys a deep belief in what you do.

Honesty

  • Display candor and sincerity.

Openness

  • Appear to not pre-judge others. Permit people to easily and immediately connect with you.

Thoughtfulness

  • Demonstrate a contemplative, non “hip-shooting” style.

Warmth

  • Show an interest in and accessibility to others.

If these don’t describe how you behave with people, you need to build these skills. Executive presence is impossible without them.

A career maker

Successful leaders understand full well that executive presence is in the eye of the beholder. Feedback from clients, constituents, customers and colleagues should be sought and their comments incorporated. Any information, advice or guidance that leads to improving your executive presence is always in your best interests.

It’s critical to point out that people are not born with executive presence. These are acquired behaviors. Just as with other skills, executive presence can be learned. Knowledge, application, dedication and lots of practice are how it's done.

Simply put: If you want executive presence ... be that executive who looks, sounds and acts the part.

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