This Quality Can Be the Difference Between Being an Average and an Exceptional Leader

Like many professional coaches, we at Institute Success often hear from the leaders and managers who come to us they want to cultivate “executive presence.” What exactly is it and how do you get it?

Put simply, executive presence conveys in a calm and confident way you are a model for positive leadership in your company culture and you have the ability to teach those methods to others.

Here are a few mantras to get you thinking:

  1. Read the Room and Read Others: Just as you want to make a good visual first impression by dressing in a way appropriate for your workplace and makes you feel confident, you need to have the right tone when interacting with your team members, and that is likely to look different for each person. Before having an important conversation, ask yourself the Golden Questions: Who is this person? What do I need to do to communicate successfully with them?
  2. Be an Active Listener: When engaged in conversation, make sure you are fully present. Stop thinking about what you are going to say next and instead truly listen and absorb what the other person has to say. You might learn something new! Don’t feel you have to say everything you think. Ask clarifying questions so your conversation partner knows you are listening and not just nodding your head. Put your phone away!
  3. Be Self Aware and Know YOUR Vision and Values: Success begins with clarity. How do YOU define success? That looks different for all of us, so be sure to put down in writing what business success means to you. Now, articulate your vision to your team and ask each member how THEY define success. Only then can you come toward a shared vision of success that will propel your company forward. As you have these discussions, focus on each member’s strengths, including your own. 
  4. Know What You Don’t Know: Now that you have a clearer picture of your strengths and values, ask: how do I close the gap in my knowledge and skills between where I am and where I what to be? One person cannot be an expert on everything, even you as a leader. You need to seek out knowledge from your team and learn how each person’s areas of expertise can complement yours and the rest of their colleagues. If someone comes to you with a question you can’t answer, remember it’s more important to know HOW to find the answer or WHO to seek out for the best response. Leaders teach others how they can improve their own knowledge by guiding them to the right resources.   
  5. Be Willing to Adapt Your Behavior: By getting in touch with your vision for success and figuring out where you can grow your knowledge, you should also gain an understanding of your behavior strengths and weaknesses. We all have preferred communication styles, and leaders need to adapt their style to the people around them. If you are gregarious, you may need to tone it down to relate to your more introverted team members. If you tend to be on the quieter and more thoughtful side, you may need to work on coming across as more engaging and decisive.

At Institute Success, we’ve created an entire series, The Engaged Leader Program, to introduce business owners, leaders and managers to a transformational way of thinking and relating to others. It all begins with a clear understanding of yourself, your values and your vision for success. Join us to learn how you can cultivate your own executive presence.