We all know it when we see it, the person who can turn heads and lets us know that someone has stepped into our aura that should be listened to.
Why is it so desirable in leadership? It’s because executive presence gives you influence.
Those with presence connect to us at a deep instinctive level, provoking action that is more the result of unconscious rather than conscious thought.
This is powerful as we make decisions primarily for emotional reasons.
Presence allows us to energise others to act.
So here are 3 things you can you do to develop this valuable skill:
1. Be authentic, something that literally comes from the heart. Authenticity is knowing your values and beliefs and having clarity about what you stand for. It is the foundation of trust because people who are authentic are consistent. Even more importantly, because it comes from the heart, it connects to the heart, mobilizing the collaborative energy that leads others to act.
2. Get clear on your strengths and build on these as your foundation to confidence. Confidence breeds confidence, we’re not talking about ego here but the essence of self believe. Playing to your strengths enables you to be at ease, this in turn puts others at ease and is the basis for truly collaborative environments.
3. Seek feedback - regularly. Feedback is a simple gift that keeps on giving. It costs us nothing, takes minimal time and yet gives back in spades. It is by far our most cost effective method of continuous improvement. By inviting feedback we also put the focus on others rather than ourselves, creating the foundations for commitment.
Executive presence is a learnt skill, not an inherited one. Whilst some take to it more easily than others, we can all acquire it if we choose. For aspiring leaders, presence is essential to the new paradigm of 21st century leadership where leaders no longer command through do as I say but rather, inspire through do as I do.