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Tuesday 15 October, 2019
In the workplace, particular individuals can often appear to be unnervingly cool and charismatic when delivering speeches or managing high-pressure projects.
In the business world, this is a character trait known as executive presence (EP). For those that don’t naturally possess the ability to charm and influence, it can seem like an unattainable state of mind.
Actually, executive presence can be far from natural. For budding leaders, that means there are many ways to become much more influential in the workplace.
Like many human character traits, executive presence is a term that’s loosely defined and subjective. There’s no absolute defining terminology to characterise who has executive presence and who doesn’t. For this reason, it can seem from the outside that executive presence is a trait that you have or you don’t have.
However, executive presence is a combination of many traits. It’s the ability to influence others in the office. It’s the ability to lead colleagues smoothly and efficiently through a crisis. It’s the ability to stay calm and collected under pressure. It’s the ability to inspire others to overcome challenges. In many ways, it’s the ability to be a leader.
While some individuals may indeed possess the characteristics of executive presence naturally, many more influencers in the workplace will have refined and honed their character traits and skills over many years to give the assumption that they have always led in such a way. For those looking to develop their executive presence, there are many ways to do so. According to the three dimensions of executive presence, one needs to have style, substance and character in order to command presence.
Giving the impression that you have executive presence can come down to style. This isn’t something that’s easily definable, and style is a matter of taste and personality too.
In a business sense, though, it means developing your own leadership style, complete with personality and charisma. This means learning how to act calmly in meetings and when things aren’t going quite so well. It means being prepared to be collected and poised when others are losing their heads, and it means adding your own personal flair to the proceedings to ensure things go well.
Having a substance is equally as important as having your own personal style in the workplace. You might be able to talk or to influence decisions, but you also need the substance to back your claims up and to ensure that things actually get seen through.
Work on meeting targets and hitting your deliverables, and lead from the front to show that not only do you have the ideas needed to succeed but that you can meet the demands of the job too.
Character is the real essence of executive presence. In as much as personal character can’t be really defined, it’s personal character that’s the most important aspect to develop as you progress in your career.
Learn to be confident, learn to speak up at the right time in meetings or in the workplace when someone has been wronged or acted untoward. Develop yourself into a better person, and you will be developing your executive presence simultaneously.
The Civil Service College offers a range of leadership and management courses that can help you to develop your own leadership style to allow you to influence in the workplace. Contact us to find out more about how we can help you to develop your executive presence.
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