Executive Presence

Do you have executive presence?

Have you ever heard the expression, ‘You only get one chance to make a first impression”?  For many people who want to be viewed as a leader, executive presence is crucial. But, more often than not, people don’t really understand what it is and what it’s not.   

Here’s what it’s not: 

  • Using power and authority as a weapon against people 
  • Speaking the loudest in the room
  • Banging on a table and slamming doors 
  • Commanding and condemning people 
  • Acting without feeling or understanding 

It is often the only thing that will drive your success that is totally within your control.   

Here are 7 check points for the people leader who wants to cultivate executive presence: 

  1. People are unique. There are over 7 billion people in this world. Realize that not everyone is going to be the same as you, or each other. A one-size-fits-all view rarely works. 
  2. Empathy is the new superpower. Demonstrating authentic care is a surefire way to cultivate trust. When a leader recognizes what a person is feeling and can adjust, anticipate, or coach around this, it fosters a sense of collaboration and teamwork, not to mention loyalty. 
  3. Talents and Strengths look different on everyone.  Everyone has talent.  Some people invest into developing strengths.  There are many different ways to engage a person’s talents and strengths.
  4. Breathe. Use the Power of Silence to clear the neural pathways in the brain allowing clear thoughts to come through. 4
  5. Think Before You Speak (or text, or type, or Tweet). Giving thought to what you say and how you say it gives an opportunity to the best parts to come through. When leaders learn to communicate effectively through many channels, they are projecting the confidence and clarity people want to see in their leaders. 
  6. Connect.  Making meaningful and engaged moments with your audience, whether that’s your Board, Executive Team, clients, colleagues, competitors, or employees, conveys yet another layer of authenticity and confidence.  The little moments matter-so put down the phone, pause to make eye contact, and receive the non-verbal and verbal cues available in the moment. 
  7. Establish and Assert Boundaries. Boundaries make everyone freer to move, create, complete, and communicate.  If your or your organization has never had clear boundaries, establish them.  When faced with challenges, assert them.  Get clear about what is and is not part of the acceptable culture-the words and actions carry great value, and model a level of healthy interdependence that counteracts much of the strife in the workplace today. 

Developing and demonstrating executive present is not easy for most people.  Often times it requires defining the behaviors and constructing plans on how to grow in the skills.  The good news is – people can change.  The bad news is – change is hard.  

The best news – we can help. 


1 https://www.hrci.org/community/blogs-and-announcements/hr-leads-business-blog/hr-leads-business/2019/02/12/why-empathy-matters-for-your-corporate-culture 

2 https://www.hrci.org/community/blogs-and-announcements/hr-leads-business-blog/hr-leads-business/2019/02/12/why-empathy-matters-for-your-corporate-culture 

3 https://www.worldometers.info/world-population/ 


5 https://www.theverge.com/2017/3/30/15109762/deep-breath-study-breathing-affects-brain-neurons-emotional-state