Have you ever been told that you needed to work on your executive presence? What did you think that meant? Did you assume that meant you needed to look and sound more like the leaders in your organization? Or that you needed to improve your public speaking skills, or perhaps upgrade your wardrobe? Without more information, it’s impossible to know exactly what to work on, for – just as beauty is in the eye of the beholder – so is executive presence. Executive presence is the perception that you are executive material and deserving of promotion to a high level in the organization. Ask for detailed feedback so you know what you need to do to maximize your executive presence. 

 Executive presence has many elements – it’s about competence, confidence, and credibility. It’s about leadership and influence. It’s about listening and connecting deeply with people. It’s also about communicating powerfully and looking like a leader. Getting feedback will help you develop your executive presence by identifying what you are doing well and what you need to work on.  When seeking feedback, ask for examples of when you’ve exhibited executive presence and what you did, specifically, to lead to that impression. What about an instance when you didn’t have as much executive presence as was expected or desired? Ask for specifics on what you could have done better in those situations. Don’t be defensive or argumentative. Listen to learn. These perceptions of you matter, and feedback can be the key to maximizing your executive presence.

More information on this tip can be found in Lead Your Way: Practical Coaching Advice for Creating the Career You Want

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