“The key is to keep company only with people who uplift you, whose presence calls forth your best.”
~ Epictetus ~
When Connor walks into a room, all eyes turn toward him. He commands a presence that is unmistakable. He projects confidence, and people instinctively trust him. He speaks with authority.
Connor has executive presence.
As I describe the traits that Connor and other successful leaders possess, ask yourself: Where do I stand? What do I do well? What needs improvement?
If you have executive presence, you have an aura or magnetism or charisma that draws others to you. You’re a compelling force inside your organization or work group. When you speak, people listen, feel inspired and uplifted. You convey confidence, are respected as an authority, know how to create impact, provide value and know how to get noticed.
Think about your peers, your bosses, other executive leaders, famous people and your friends. Who has EP? Who doesn’t? Executive presence is your secret to your success. Exploit your potential. Your own greatness. It all comes from executive presence.
You can cultivate executive presence through training and practice. You’ll know you’re making progress when you:
1. See the Big Picture.
You’re a strategic, “big picture” thinker who doesn’t become mired down in tactics. You think “outside the cubical” and take a whole company perspective when solving problems or seeking new opportunities. You’re able to communicate in financial terms to show your worth where it matters most – the company’s bottom line.
2. Are Willing to Take Risks.
You capitalize on ambiguity and change. Leaders are revealed and careers are made for those able to navigate stormy seas. You challenge yourself and stretch your capabilities. You’re able to conquer self-doubt and break through self-imposed limitations by seeking out opportunities to move beyond your comfort zone.
3. Develop Strong Interpersonal Skills.
You build confidence, trust and credibility by speaking clearly and persuasively. You think and act more like a leader than a manager. As a leader, you’ll inspire and motivate others by advocating what’s best for the organization, not just your work group. And, when you’re successful, you’re willing to share the limelight with others.
4. Focus on the Things that Matter Most.
You improve your productivity, influence and reputation for high-level achievement when you focus on the things that matter most. Not only will you be a peak performer, you’ll maintain a healthy balance in your life.
5. Constantly Seek to Improve Yourself.
You find personal fulfillment and professional success by capitalizing on your strengths and minimizing your mistakes. You encourage feedback to demonstrate your passion for self-development and desire to contribute to your company’s success. You increase your growth potential by investing in the most important asset you possess – yourself.
Developing your executive presence may seem like a daunting task. There is a lot of work involved, but it’s the kind of work that will have far-reaching, long-lasting benefits. You will become more motivated, you’ll learn how recognize and promote your own value and you’ll develop a meaningful and effective career plan. These are all things you can accomplish on your way to becoming a better leader.
If executive presence is something you need to work on, consider taking advantage of Joel’s executive presence coaching services, and start developing traits that will make you stand out in any leadership role.
Talkback: Do you know someone whose presence makes them stand out? What about you? Is this an area you need to work on?
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“It is within everyone’s grasp to be a CEO.”
~ Martha Stewart ~
Lindsey is frustrated. She’s been with her company for several years now and she feels stuck. She’s not assigned to work on her department’s high visibility projects. Her boss ignores her in staff meetings. She is beginning to lose her edge. She’s considering looking for another position, but the job market is a scary place right now. Is there a way she can turn the job she has into the job she wants?
Lindsey shares her dilemma with some women in other companies and learns that they have used business coaches to help them move ahead at work. She gets some recommendations and starts working with an executive coach of her own. After a couple of coaching sessions, she begins to operate with a brand new business plan.
• Become the CEO of You, Inc.
• Play the role
• Ask for feedback
1. Become the CEO of You, Inc. Before Lindsey can become a CEO, she needs to treat herself like one. This means setting short and long term goals and conducting periodic self-evaluations to see how she’s doing. Her first month’s goal is to get assigned to her department’s next high profile project. She begins by drafting a memo to her boss outlining her past accomplishments and skills she knows are relevant to the project.
Acting like a CEO also means creating her own personal brand, an executive presence that shows off her unique skills and her contributions to the company’s success. Lindsey wants to be seen as someone who is both assertive and creative. She starts coming to staff meetings with notes on at least one important contribution she can make to the discussion.
2. Play the role. Writing in Business Leader, Thomas Walken says: “Women managers in traditional male organizations learn the good ol’ boy rules, but rely on their own strengths to become leaders. Taking risks, curbing maternal over-responsibility, and developing flexibility and confidence prevent derailment on the way to top CEO positions.”
In other words, executive presence doesn’t just happen. It must be designed, rehearsed, and constantly cultivated. Lindsey’s coach, who specializes in helping women move ahead in the workplace, recommends that she write down her negative feelings and beliefs about her current job situation. She can then find ways to flip those feelings into positive statements. For example, “My boss ignores me in staff meetings” could become “My performance gives my boss reasons to trust me and recognize my contributions.” Internalizing these positive statements helps Lindsey feel more confident in meetings and interactions with top managers.
3. Ask for feedback. One of the best ways to find out how you’re doing is to ask. Women in business sometimes have a difficult time speaking up for themselves for fear of appearing too aggressive. Thus the perception others have of them doesn’t fit with their true value. Lindsey’s coach suggests that she track her progress by getting feedback from a number of sources. She asks friends and family how they perceive her. After staff meetings, she asks a trusted colleague to evaluate her performance. And she keeps a file of positive comments she receives from clients and co-workers.
Three months after she started working with her coach, Lindsey’s whole world has started to change. She sees herself and her job differently, and now her boss and others in positions of authority perceive her differently as well.
Business coaching for women works. Contact Joel today to discuss the possibilities or call him at 510-339-3201.
Talkback: Are you feeling overlooked or ignored at work? Having trouble speaking up for yourself? Have you tried some techniques that helped you get noticed? Share your story here.
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