For a long time, people accepted a limited definition of executive presence, often characterizing it broadly and vaguely by describing a leader’s ability to command the room and gravitas (whatever that means).
A few years ago, our firm created the first-ever scientific model of executive presence, the Bates ExPITM, drawing on established research in many fields that reflected how leaders influence others and drive business results.
In the course of our work evaluating leaders and their executive presence, we have analyzed many hundreds of multi-rater assessments and conducted as many conversations with leaders about their results. Before we get into the data during the debrief, we ask them a bunch of questions about their business imperatives: What results are they expected to drive in the coming year? What will be the impact if they are successful—or not?
As a result, we have developed a keen understanding of how a leader’s strengths and gaps in executive presence directly tether to how successful they are—or not—in driving bottom-line impact. Here is what we’ve learned about what’s at risk if your leaders have gaps in any of the 15 facets of executive presence.
With respect to the 15 facets of executive presence and their connection to their goals, every leader gets some good news about what qualities are helping them drive business results. But every leader also gets some feedback that is worrisome. Inevitably, there are usually at least a couple of areas of executive presence that threaten a particular leader’s ability to hit their business goals—whether they relate to growth, costs, innovation, transformational change, or anything else.
The good news is that there is also always something that can be done to turn one of these gap areas into a relative strength—or at least keep them from becoming derailers. The key is to embrace the gift of feedback, understand the impact of how others perceive you, and invest in doing what it takes to move the needle. There’s just too much stake to your business to do anything else.