Executive Presence: Myths and How to Exude It


Having a presence as a leader doesn’t mean you exhibit executive presence. Unbowed executive presence comes second on the list of top leadership traits that make you stand out from average leaders. Many leaders get bogged down by myths of executive presence; hence no one takes them seriously. For instance, various degrees of success don’t determine whether you ooze executive traits as it is not a canned experience. Other misconceptions are that executive presence is innate and static. It is not an inborn skill; instead, you acquire it. Additionally, it is a fluid set of skills that diminish and evolve as you respond to multiple social interactions.

Instances When You Don’t Show Executive Presence

It is easy to get it wrong when you try to force that charm on your colleagues. Executive presence is quite a ubiquitous term but is often misplaced. Here is how you know you don’t own it:

  • You shy away from asking pertinent questions.
  • You dominate conversations without listening to others.
  • You can’t put your emotions on check.
  • You always show up late for meetings or interviews.
  • You look unkempt and unprofessional.

Before proclaiming executive presence on yourself, here is everything you need to know.

What Is Executive Presence?

Executive presence entails expressing and inspiring confidence to your subordinates or senior colleagues without overdoing it. It is an art of leadership that inspires others to follow your lead without doubts or hesitation. You show others that you have the potential and acumen to scale higher for more extraordinary achievements.

Why Executive Presence Is Important

Do you believe that some opportunities come only once in a lifetime? Executive presence firstly determines whether you get access to such opportunities. Executive presence is essential in any career, especially when you need promotion, as it projects your vision and personality with minimum effort. In a company setting, decision-makers will promote or assign critical roles to employees who exude reassuring confidence. And since most decisions about you get passed in your absence, it will help if you inspire the board to have faith in you.

How To Build Executive Presence

When building an executive presence, you don’t need to compare yourself to anyone, as some people have innate skills to make their visions more visible without communicating. Lucky people naturally ooze the prerequisites to success, such as smartness and capability. Even so, the best executives learn through the process and improve with time. Here are key steps you can embrace to enhance your own executive presence:

Practice on Good Communication Skills

If there is something to admire in executive presence is the ability to express yourself respectfully and concisely, without mincing words. Everything in servant leadership is about excellent communication. Take time to build all aspects of communication, including virtual or oral. The most important is in-person communication skills as you quickly get judged based on that. It also helps when you speak from a factual basis instead of just talking.

Listen More and Talk Less

Do you ever notice that people get easily bored around talkative people who hardly listen to others? Good listening skills mean that you can hold a conversation diligently and get the most points out of it. Moreover, company decision-makers appreciate individuals with unmatched attentiveness. Besides knowing what to ask after someone’s turn, practical listening skills depict self-confidence, which is critical in owning executive presence.

Learn To Adapt to S Stressful Working Environment

An executive’s ability to deliver comes to test when the stakes are highest. Things to avoid when working under pressure include temper, frustration, and impatience. You’ll quickly lose more responsibilities to a more capable person once you start showing odd traits. The last thing that the subordinate staff wants to see is their boss looking overwhelmed. Always prepare your must-to-do list before walking into the office. That way, you can focus on delivering every project effectively, with calmness and composure.

Articulate Your Vision

Having a vision is one thing, but articulating it is another. Everyone in a room always has a dream, no matter how impractical it may seem. Thus, the mere fact that you just have a vision doesn’t make you any better than them. Create a Wikipedia page for yourself and introduce your vision to the internet masses. Remember, your colleagues here you talk but want to read more about your career journey and experiences. Having a website page dedicated to that information creates a quick reference.

Understand How Colleagues Perceive You

Lastly, you should be able to understand and resonate with different perceptions that people have about you. Even when sitting at the highest position, your effectiveness generally depends on the people surrounding you. It is common for human beings to act differently in various situations. Ensure that you find out what people think about you, especially those who see you both at work and out of the office. That way, you can always act right in any setting.

Inculcate Executive Presence

Next time, don’t tell people how much an executive you are. You need to take a break and let it flow like you were born with it. Most importantly, don’t forget always to dress sharply and put on some nice cologne. Good grooming factors in on how much executive presence you exude when you walk into a room.