What exactly is executive presence?


It’s becoming a bit of a buzzword and so it’s becoming a bit vague and hard to define.

Here’s what I think:

I think it’s ultimately about trust, respect, inspiration, and really embodying the whole idea of leadership.

So, it’s NOT just about looking the part, having the title, wielding the authority, and saying the words.

Some things to think about when we’re thinking about this:

👉 Do you have the leadership persona going on? Are you confident, decisive, and capable of inspiring trust and respect? Do you manage to project a clear, compelling vision even under pressure?

👉 How’s your communication? Are you good at speaking? Not just giving speeches; but actually speaking. How’s your use of storytelling? Do you listen well? Do you make everyone feel heard?

👉 Are you the real deal? You need to be authentic if you’re planning on winning trust. Do you stay true to your values, admit your mistakes, and act with integrity? Do you sleep well at night?

👉 Do you have gravitas? Meaning – do you handle the weight of leadership well? Can you handle the big responsibilities and hard decisions with maturity, calmness, and grace?

👉 Are you professional enough – or at least, can you be, when it matters?

👉 Do you walk the talk or just talk the talk? People are watching, so you’d better make sure things add up on this front if you genuinely want to have executive presence.

👉 How do you do in terms of vision, inspiration, and adaptability? Can you paint a compelling picture of the future, get your team to rally around it, and twist and turn smoothly in an ever-changing landscape?

It’s really not about commanding a room or being on a pedestal – shouting instructions and declarations from on high. It’s more about guiding, inspiring, and connecting with your team. It’s like that difference between being a boss and being a leader that people talk about all the time.


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