When a new year starts, it is a time for self-reflection and rebirth. With that it is important to reflect not only on our successes and failures but also how we reacted to certain events and how our actions were perceived by others. In other words, we need to be cognizant of our executive presence.
Executive presence is not just about what we wear although that is a part of it. Others do make judgments and/or criticisms with people they encounter just based off of their attire. A well-dressed individual is perceived as successful while someone who is wearing ill-fitting and out of date clothes may be looked upon negatively. As an example, assumptions are made about job search candidates based off their LinkedIn profile picture.
However executive presence is much more than that. It also encompasses our speech, mannerisms, and our overall persona. Projecting confidence is also a component of it. Just the way a person walks across a room to greet someone speaks volumes even before the person utters a word. It is also how an individual interacts at a meeting. Do you want to have a voice at the table or just be a voice on the wall? Do you want others to overtake the conversation or do you want your opinions heard?
Another aspect of executive presence is our mannerisms. Do you have bad habits that affect your work performance? Such things as being late for meetings, interrupting, and missing deadlines are just some ways that can affect how others perceive you. Ignoring details and not planning properly can also have a negative impact on your reputation.
To combat all of this and create the executive presence you want you need first to have clarity. Take the time to reflect on when others responded positively to you and when they didn't. Ask others how they perceive you and have them identify areas you need to work on. Review past performance reviews too which will highlight your competencies as well as suggest ones that you need to work on.
Executive presence also includes who you interact with. Your connections are a very important part of who you are so it is important to be around people who encourage you versus bringing you down and holding you back. It is always enlightening to be around those that exude confidence and energy as well as wanting to help others instead of just focusing on themselves. By giving more of ourselves and demonstrating gratitude we can be viewed as a positive influence on others.
Lastly we need to be consistent which can be the hardest part to our executive presence. We need to recognize our triggers that may affect our emotions, our habits that can negatively impact our performance, and the way we communicate which can send mixed messages. By being more self-aware of our actions, we can strive to continuously improve our persona to others.
E. Elizabeth "Beth" Carter is President of Carter Consultants Ltd., an executive search and research firm she founded in 1991. In 2011, Beth launched Beth Carter Enterprises in 2011, a thriving business that encompasses executive, business and career coaching, workshops and presentations, and the DISC, Motivators, and Emotional Intelligence assessments. In addition to serving as a "thought partner" for executives and middle managers of small and Fortune 500 companies, business owners, and those that want to have more fulfilling careers, Beth has been a public speaker and trainer for most of her career. She energizes and motivates her audiences discussing such topics as negotiations, personal branding, communicating with confidence, womens issues, and soft skill development. For more, visit: Carter Consultants Ltd© 2021 E. Elizabeth Carter
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