It used to be that the first step in creating executive presence was to dress the part. Now many executives find that wearing a business suit just isn’t appropriate in their organizations. Which raises the question: How do you create an executive presence in today’s business world?
Three important steps for creating executive presence
Building an executive presence is a multi-part process. Here’s what I recommend:
1. Portray confidence and competence – Your knowledge and expertise, whether in running this particular business or others, can help create executive presence in and of itself. People around you know you’re not just giving orders; you understand the subject and why those directions are appropriate.
Even if you’re 24 years old and don’t have years of executive experience you can still portray confidence and competence. After all, something got you to this place. Leverage those strengths and skills to show that you have what it takes to successfully lead the organization.
2. Interact and connect – If you’re hiding in your office all day you essentially have no presence. Taking this approach can be dangerous. The reason why we as managers get hired is our expertise, skills and vision. If you stop interacting and relating to others in the organization, your vision will get lost. You also risk losing touch to the point where people no longer see you as the leader, or you take the company in the wrong direction altogether.
Part of connecting is having the charisma and demeanor to draw others to you and make them feel comfortable interacting with you. Be interested in the people who work with you. And don’t keep your passion and excitement about the business to yourself! Your passion can ignite excitement in others, and inspire great things.
3. Exhibit both decisiveness and flexibility – As the leader, you cannot be afraid to make decisions, and you must be able to take some risk. Should the organization move forward with an initiative or project or not. Why? You need to show your team that you can weigh the input, make a decision and stick with it. Unless circumstances change, in which case you need to be flexible and reassess the situation and the decision.
If you’re an executive, you need to think about how you present yourself. Whether it is good or bad, your executive presence affects peoples’ perceptions of you, and significant impacts your ability to successfully lead.