How to Develop an Executive Presence as a New Leader

Executive presence refers to the ability to project confidence, influence others, and inspire trust in your leadership. It’s an essential quality for any leader to have, particularly for those in high-level positions. Below, learn why executive presence is important, what happens when you develop it, and 10 tips for developing your executive presence today.

Why is Executive Presence Important?

Executive presence is critical for success in leadership roles. A strong executive presence will help you establish your authority and build significant relationships with your team, peers, and stakeholders. It will also help you navigate difficult situations and lead your team through change.

When you develop an executive presence, you will see several benefits. First, you will gain more respect from your team, peers, and stakeholders. You will inspire confidence in your leadership, and people will be more likely to follow your lead. Additionally, you will be more effective at influencing others, and you will be better equipped to handle difficult situations. Developing your executive presence will also help you build your personal brand, which will benefit you in your current role and future career.

The Impact of Executive Presence on Employee Engagement and Retention

When a company is led by someone who has not put any effort into their presence, it can have significant negative consequences. A survey conducted by Gallup found that employees who lack confidence in their leaders are less engaged in their work and more likely to actively seek new job opportunities. Consequently, a leader’s lack of effort in developing their presence can have a detrimental impact on the overall performance and success of a company.

According to Sylvia Hewlett and the Center for Talent Innovation, executives who possess a strong presence are more likely to be perceived as capable, influential, and trustworthy. These leaders tend to have a greater impact on driving organizational success, building high-performing teams, and attracting and retaining top talent. This transformative effect stems from the ability of leaders to effectively communicate their vision, align values, and create a supportive environment that encourages collaboration and growth. Furthermore, leaders with executive presence can navigate challenging situations with poise and resilience, instilling a sense of stability and confidence among their teams. By leveraging their unique combination of personal charisma, emotional intelligence, and strategic thinking, leaders with strong executive presence can create a lasting and positive impact on both individuals and the organization as a whole.

Cultivating executive presence involves continuous self-awareness, personal branding, and honing essential skills such as emotional intelligence, charisma, and adaptability. It is an ongoing process that requires conscious effort, development, and refinement throughout a leader’s career.

Why Is Executive Presence Lacking These Days?

There could be several reasons why executive presence is lacking in today’s workplace. Here are a few possible factors:

  • Rapid changes in the workplace: The modern workplace is changing at an unprecedented pace due to technological advancements, globalization, and changing social norms. As a result, leaders may struggle to adapt and develop the necessary skills to project a strong executive presence in such a dynamic environment.
  • Lack of focus on leadership development: Many organizations may prioritize technical skills and knowledge over leadership development, leading to a lack of emphasis on developing executive presence.
  • Limited feedback and coaching: Without feedback and coaching, leaders may not have the necessary guidance to develop their executive presence. Additionally, a culture that does not encourage open and honest feedback may limit opportunities for growth and improvement.
  • Burnout and stress: The demands of leadership can be overwhelming, and leaders may struggle with burnout and stress, leading to a lack of focus on developing executive presence.

10 Tips for Developing Executive Presence

The good news is that executive presence can be trained like a muscle. Body language, reflection, and connection are a few of the biggest ones you can read about here. Below are some quick tips to get you started right away.

  • Define your personal brand – Create a mission statement that reflects your values and strengths, and craft a clear and consistent message that aligns with your goals and the expectations of your organization.
  • Dress for success – Dress appropriately for your industry and company culture. For example, if you work in finance, wear professional attire such as a suit, whereas if you work in tech, business casual may be more appropriate.
  • Develop your communication skills – Practice delivering presentations and speeches in front of a mirror or with a trusted colleague. Pay attention to your body language, tone of voice, and choice of words, and seek feedback to improve.
  • Show confidence – Stand tall, maintain eye contact, and use a firm handshake when meeting others. Practice positive self-talk and visualization to boost your confidence.
  • Practice active listening – Show interest in what others are saying by maintaining eye contact, nodding, and asking clarifying questions. Repeat back what you heard to ensure that you understand their perspective.
  • Be decisive – Gather all the necessary information, weigh the pros and cons, and make a decision within a reasonable timeframe. Trust your instincts and learn from your mistakes.
  • Build relationships – Take the time to get to know your team, peers, and stakeholders on a personal level. Show appreciation for their contributions and offer support when needed.
  • Display emotional intelligence Learn to recognize your own emotions and those of others. Practice empathy, active listening, and conflict resolution skills to build trust and resolve conflicts.
  • Be adaptable – Embrace change and take a flexible approach to problem-solving. Stay up-to-date on industry trends and be open to new ideas and perspectives.
  • Seek feedback – Regularly ask for feedback from your team, peers, and stakeholders to understand how you can improve. Act on the feedback you receive and continue to learn and grow as a leader.

Develop Your Executive Presence with Arden Coaching

Developing executive presence is critical for success in leadership roles. At Arden Coaching, we offer executive training programs to help new leaders develop their executive presence and leadership skills. Our experienced coaches provide personalized support and guidance to help you reach your full potential as a leader. Contact us today to learn more about our executive coaching programs and how we can help you succeed.