Leading the change through better executive presence

Consider this very famous saying in leadership – many of the most important decisions about you are made when you are not present in the room. This could be with regard to an important professional opportunity, the transition to a higher and more critical role, or involvement in an important project. Gaining access to opportunities is all about one factor – the confidence you have inspired in decision makers. At the start of a professional journey, youare primarily hired for what are termed as hard skills – the measurable abilities. With time and professional success, the skills that originally helped you land the job do not hold so much significance as certain other aspects – more so for those who take on leadership positions.

Progress at this stage is about a refined set of soft skills that give you the ability to become an influencer in the organization – someone who is admired, respected, appreciated, and applauded for his/her demeanor and presence as much as the professional capabilities. An excellent and impeccable executive presence can therefore work wonders and help you become a role model for others to emulate.

Leaders have a compelling vision and idea of what they want themselves and others to accomplish. Whether it is during an elevator ride with an executive or during a team dinner, articulately explaining your vision will make the mark, set you part and inspire confidence in others. Have a good understanding of how you are perceived by others. Get feedback from peers and juniors alike; across the groups that you work with.

A leader with a strong executive presence must also achieve excellent communication abilities across all mediums – verbal, written or in person. The importance of being an excellent listener, however, cannot be underscored as well. Engage with full attention, use listening as a way to explore ideas that others have to offer. Listening demonstrates self-confidence and inspires faith.

Understand how to behave when the stakes are high. Getting stressed, upset, flustered or overwhelmed can give you a reputation for being temperamental – something that cannot be the tag a leader wishes to get. A calm, even-keeled, composed, well-prepared, and in control leader can solve any crises and set an example for the team. Lastly, be consistent in your visual appearance too. From your clothing choices to the colors you wear, you can either be a source of distraction or leave a lasting positive effect on those around.

There cannot perhaps be a more opportune time for leadership presence than today what with immense stress at the workplace, and a fight to achieve the right work-life balance. Those who make the most of this opportunity and inspire positivity, confidence, and growth are the ones who will truly be called leaders in the right sense. It is time that we work towards becoming better at connecting authentically with people and be the change we wish to see.