Manager to Leader and Where Executive Presence Fits In

When the sands shift at your organization, you do your best to choose individuals who have already shown evidence of their leadership to step up into leadership roles. But going from a budding leader and manger to a strong leader takes time.

We all know that a title change doesn’t turn a manager into a leader. Then what does?

In the following post, we’ll break down the unspoken responsibilities that a manager needs to assume to excel in a leadership role and where Executive Presence (EP) fits in.

We Follow People Who Have Executive Presence

In her book Executive Presence: The Missing Link Between Merit and Success, Sylvia Ann Hewlett defines EP in three categories: gravitas (how you act), communication (how you speak), and appearance (how you look).

We all want our leaders to be individuals who people want to follow, and a leader isn’t a leader if no one’s following them. So what actions, words, and appearances would you want to follow?

People who are…

  • Confident: About who they are, their ideas, and their personality.
  • Engaging: They make eye contact, are at ease in their environment, and are passionate about the subject matter.
  • Thoughtful: From when to talk and when to listen to keeping their cool through tough conversations.
  • Emotionally Intelligent: They keep a pulse on how others receive their messages and reroute conversations or actions accordingly.
  • Responsive: They always consider the results of their actions prior to making them.
  • Organized: In how they look and when they arrive.

See our full list of the soft skills that comprise Executive Presence here.

Manager + X + Y = Leader

We’re no stranger to the fundamental difference between a manager and a leader. A leader sets the direction for teams and the organization and a manager moves the pieces around to get there.

EP and the attributes bulleted above are an element within this difference (an X or Y of the above equation) but not the only difference.

A leader also needs to have the tangible skills to lead, like making decisions, inspiring others, and speaking clearly and concisely. But having EP helps to drive the development of these skills.

Developing Executive Presence Takes Time

At Arden Coaching, helping businesses cultivate strong leadership teams is our expertise. In fact, many of our executive coaches focus more specifically on preparing individuals who are taking on the transition from manager to leader by adopting new behaviors and lines of thinking.

Leadership is full of transitions even after this first big step and conquering these milestones takes active effort over a sustained period. So don’t give up! Get the help you need, whether you’re moving up into a leadership role or challenging yourself to go from a good leader to a great one.

Want to see how Arden’s expert coaches can help you or your leadership team? Get in touch with us today to discuss your needs.