3 Reasons Why Executive Presence is Critical for Leaders

Are you a Leader aspiring to be a CXO? then this article is for you. Congratulations on reaching where you are in your journey. You are now poised to take that leap into the executive level, but as you may know, a corporate career is like a pyramid and it keeps getting narrower as you move up.

If you think you are ready to become a CXO, check your score with the CXO quiz

Everyone at your level has an education, works hard and is aspiring to get to the next level. So what is going to separate you from the rest?

You need a partner to guide you in your ascent to reach the pinnacle of your career. Someone who has climbed the corporate ladder and been a CXO himself. Someone who can help you with your blind spots and get you there quicker, so you avoid making mistakes. As a former CXO, professionally certified (ICF-PCC) and John Mattone (coach to Steve Jobs) certified executive coach, I have helped thousands across the world and can help you too.

If you are a leader who wants to earn more and become a CXO faster, then click here to learn about my CXO 90-day challenge.

If you are a CXO and would like to explore ways to excel and feel that I can help, kindly book an appointment for a free discovery call  

Executive Presence: The Unspoken Code of Leadership

The journey of leadership is dynamic, challenging, and deeply rewarding. Yet, as one aims to ascend the corporate ladder, certain intangibles become crucial. Among these, Executive Presence (EP) stands out as the unspoken code of leadership.

Having had the privilege to coach countless mid-career leaders with aspirations of becoming CXOs, I can confidently say that mastering EP is not just a ‘good-to-have’ but an essential. Sylvia Ann Hewlett, in her seminal book on the topic, provides us with a definitive guide to understanding and cultivating this elusive trait.

What is Executive Presence?

Drawing from Hewlett’s work, EP is not about performance – it’s about perception. It’s how you signal to others that you “have what it takes” to be in charge. Hewlett breaks it down into three core pillars:

1- Gravitas – Your ability to convey confidence, poise under pressure, and decisiveness.
2- Communication – The ability to articulate your thoughts clearly, with charisma, and the capacity to read your audience.
3- Appearance – While it’s not about dressing expensively, it’s about looking appropriate and maintaining a polished presence.

Why is Executive Presence Crucial for Aspiring CXOs?

1- Perception Matters – In leadership realms, especially at the CXO level, how others perceive you can significantly influence your impact. You might be an outstanding performer, but without EP, your leadership might remain unseen.
2- Building Trust and Credibility – EP allows leaders to establish trust swiftly. It serves as an outward demonstration of competence and confidence, making stakeholders more amenable to your vision and direction.
3- Navigating Critical Situations – Crisis moments define leadership. With a well-honed executive presence, leaders can navigate these moments with poise, ensuring stability and direction even in turbulent times.

The Problems Executive Presence Solves

Undervaluation – Many competent leaders feel their worth isn’t recognized. EP ensures that your value is perceived and acknowledged.
Influence – EP amplifies your voice, ensuring that you have the necessary sway in important discussions.
Breaking the CXO Ceiling – A robust EP can be the differentiator that propels a senior executive into the coveted CXO circle.

Building Your Executive Presence

1- Self-awareness: Reflect on your strengths, areas of improvement, and feedback. Know what you bring to the table and where you might fall short.
2- Feedback Loop: Regularly seek feedback from peers, mentors, and team members. Understand how others perceive you.
3- Skill Development: Engage in courses and coaching focusing on communication, body language, and other EP facets. Public speaking clubs, like Toastmasters, can be invaluable.
4- Stay Updated: A leader with EP is knowledgeable about industry trends, global affairs, and more. Regular reading and learning are crucial.
5- Networking: Surround yourself with leaders who exemplify great EP. Observe, learn, and emulate without losing your unique touch.

In conclusion, Executive Presence is less about being born with charisma and more about the deliberate cultivation of a leadership persona that resonates. As you aim for the CXO suite, remember that while skills and results are the foundation, it’s the intangible presence that often paves the path.

To all the aspiring CXOs out there – your journey to the top is not just about the milestones you achieve, but also about the presence you exude. So, stand tall, communicate with clarity, and lead with confidence.

You have 2 choices. If you are someone who would like to move up in your career and are getting overlooked for promotions you can try and learn on your own whilst wasting a lot of time. Or it’s time to get yourself a strategic professional CXO coach. Someone who has been a CXO in real life and is certified globally (ICF-PCC).

If you are a leader who wants to earn more and become a CXO faster, then click here to know about my CXO 90-day challenge.

If you are a CXO and would like to explore areas where we can work together one on one, kindly book an appointment for a free discovery call

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