Which is it? Is it a perception or are there some tangible ways of identifying this term we are familiar with in our current corporate culture?
I remember my days in the Air Force; Executive Presence had a simple definition, anyone with metal objects on their collar like stars, bars, oak clusters and eagles. In the private sector there is an entirely different definition, even though not every organization views it the same.
Executive presence need not be synonymous with a person’s title or position. What are some of the descriptors we may use?
- Emotional and situational awareness
- Active listener
- Self-confident – not to be confused with pride
- Personal awareness
- Treats other with dignity and respect
- Well spoken
This list is not a complete list of characteristics nor does it include having a brand. Executive presence can indeed be a brand based on what we hear and read today about the importance of creating our “own brand”. A brand can be how we want others to perceive us in business and socially. Branding is an evolving target something constantly growing, maintained and reinforced. When I say Rolex, Mercedes Benz or Armani one’s mind conjures up luxury, precision and tireless attention to detail and quality. These are some of the things associated with the brand they have created.
The brand drives our perception not only of them but the people who possess their products. These are all high end goods and to afford them one must have money or at least want to appear as if they have money. A watch is for telling time, a car for transportation and a suit to cover the body God gave us. So why do people purchase these items instead of ones less expensive and just as functional? It is the brand/label associated with these products people relate to on a daily basis.
What does that have to do with executive presence?
Think of someone you work with who you believe has executive presence. Why did you pick that particular person? Could it be their brand is who they are, or is it what they want us to see (fake it til you make it)? The answer based on exhaustive research coupled with my own opinion is it is a combination of both, 91.3% character qualities and 8.7% perception.
Do we want our co-workers to say we have executive presence? Then go back to the list above and pick out the characteristics most important to you and begin to find ways of incorporating those into who you are. For some there is much work ahead and others not as much. Whichever, realize it is a deliberate choice and commitment to invest in our own professional and personal development.
- Our thoughts will change
- Our actions will change
- Our responses will change
- Our attitudes will change
Our relationships will become more meaningful and sincere and our impact on others will be noticeable and quite amazing. Our desire to be branded as one having executive presence will become a reality. By taking action to define our character we will be creating our brand. We can become someone who others describe as one who possesses Executive Presence.
How can you increase your Executive Presence? Click here to download Dale Carnegie’s Golden Book for access to all of the Human Relations Principles.