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Showing up with ‘executive presence’ when you are put to the test

I recently posted about ‘executive presence’… how you show up every day and interact and connect with others as a leader. It’s important because it can play a major role in your success as a leader.

For aspiring executives, ‘executive presence’ may not come naturally, but it is essential to be aware of this important element and to strive to develop it for yourself. Sometimes it comes from experience and time in leadership roles, but you can start to think about it early on in your career journey.

It’s most important to demonstrate executive presence in scenarios where you are ‘put to the test’, such as interviews for executive roles, and in your performance in those first 90 days in a new leadership role. It also matters in significant change-leadership activities, when credibility and the development of trust-based relationships are critical.

‘Executive presence’ also goes beyond the workplace. Self-care and wellbeing behaviours matter because they are foundational behaviours that support you to be your best self as a leader. They influence your energy levels and your clarity of thinking and decision-making in the workplace.

So how do you communicate with presence as an executive?

  • Be fully present
  • Seek to understand by really listening to what people are saying
  • Be clear about your ‘why’, what you are passionate about and what you stand for
  • Stay calm under pressure
  • Be yourself
  • Act with integrity 
  • Be curious 
  • Ensure your body language is aligned to your messages
  • Foster self-confidence

For example, in an interview situation, how will you ensure that everything about your communication demonstrates that you are confident and you are the right person for the job? It’s not just about being prepared by researching the organisation and preparing strong responses to possible questions.  You also need to be aware of what your body language, voice quality and general appearance might be saying… how can you ensure that they back up your words?  Time spent reflecting and getting to know yourself well is essential to be the best version of your authentic self at interview. 

There are many situations where executive presence is required to be effective as a leader; until it becomes second nature to you, there are ways you can brainstorm scenarios that provide opportunities to build your executive presence so that it becomes part of how you show up every day.