Become a powerful force of influence and drive business results.
If you’re a senior leader, or you want to be one someday, you know that reaching the top of your profession requires a high level of confidence, polish and professionalism. The spotlight on your demeanor, actions and words grows bigger and bigger as you achieve greater responsibility. Whether you like it or not, you’re measured with intense scrutiny, regardless of your business acumen, industry knowledge and organizational know-how.
Executives must have the charisma, courage, character and gravitas to talk about big ideas, influence across the organization, develop followership, inspire trust and confidence, and motivate people to take action. These characteristics must be consistent across every formal and informal setting – from the stage, to the boardroom, to the water cooler.
Through our extensive work with successful leaders, we’ve seen how essential executive presence is to effective leadership. To stand out and drive an organization forward, you must own the room, project an authentic and confident style, excite people’s imaginations and win hearts and minds. Executive presence isn’t just charm school – it’s not just how you appear, but how you show up, engage people and drive results.
Our research has helped us define executive presence with three distinct dimensions:
Bates Pillars of Executive Presence:
Style is what people see and experience about you in casual observation. It’s the first impression people make of you - made up by your wardrobe, image, posture, voice, and mannerisms. Whether you like it or not, all of these must be congruent with what people know and believe about you and your role in the organization. If there is dissonance between your style and expectations, people judge you as ineffective.
Substance is what you know – your technical knowledge, business acumen, problem-solving skills, people skills; all that your professional and academic experience has taught you. This expertise is essential to rising through the ranks of management to a leadership role. How you communicate your substance is critical to the level of executive presence you demonstrate, and ultimately the level of trust and followership people put in you.
Character is an over-used and often misunderstood word, but in the context of leadership, character is your inner core; the personal traits and values that define you. It’s made up by your courage, optimism, integrity, discretion, and priorities. As a leader, you need to not only identify and clarify your personal values, but behave consistently with them as you lead your organization.
Your effectiveness in demonstrating an authentic leadership style, articulating your substance, and communicating your personal character will make or break your ability to lead your organization and achieve your business goals.
Over the years, we’ve found that the most effective way for executives and emerging leaders to develop executive presence is through Executive Coaching. Through one-on-one coaching, you can work with a coach to identify areas of strength and needs, create an action plan, and rapidly acquire the skills you need to get to the next level in your career.