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365 Ways to Get Results: Day #45 – Project Executive Presence

Most of us know executives who present with authority and confidence but do not partner that charisma with great character or management skills. Conversely we all know gentle giants who are leaders others want to model themselves after but who never make it to the executive level. The truth is that executive presence in not what makes good leaders. But it does help to get a prospective executive noticed and suggests the ability to motivate others to act.

1. Believe You Are Already an Executive
When you believe you are an executive, you will exude an aura that says you are. Period. If you do not believe you are an executive, and can lead, and can create strategy, and can motivate others to dedication, than who will? Make a list of areas where you have led successfully in the past. What did you do there that you can apply now?

2. Never Lose Your Cool.
This is very difficult for many passionate leaders to execute. Learn how or it will hold you back. Practice “responding” instead of “reacting.” Do this by never being too quick to reply to any question, idea or attack. Stop. Breathe. Assume nothing. Remember nothing is personal. Be curious about the dilemma. Ask questions.

3. Ask a Trusted Friend If You Look Like An Executive
Ask for specific feedback on your hair, clothes, accessories, handshake, tone of voice, make-up, and posture. Then look within the current cultures for role models to emulate – business magazines, commercials, people in the news, people you admire. Study them. What will you do first?

4. Record Yourself or Stand in Front of a Mirror and Speak
If you have never audio or video tapped yourself, do so. Pay attention to your posture, tone of voice, body language, and eye contact. The watch a video of a leader you admire. Make a list of what you would change. How will you change it? What is the first thing you will do?

5. Show Compassion without Being Gushy
Executives are not cold or unfeeling. Often they have risen through the ranks because they understand what motivates people to buy, choose a service, or give 110% for the purpose of the company. For this they must be intuitive and compassionate. This does not mean they are weak. It means they have the ability to apply genuine intuitive empathy which in turn inspires people and motivates them to act. This compassion could be for employees, customers, clients, a colleague, a new market of people, or anyone associated with your work. When you make a decision that is not popular, allow other to see compassion – not regret.

6. Ask for Opinions before You Give Yours
In a meeting you will win favor when others witness you asking for input before drawing a conclusion. This shows consideration, strategic thinking and humility. Understand that this does not mean that leadership is always a democratic process. Often you will have to weigh the opinions of others against all the variables that you know and other may not be privy too.

Executive presence is a matter of confidence. It must be authentic and sound to be genuine. Practicing the six items listed above will help you build that confidence by showing you how much executive presence you already have as well as opportunities for improvement. Start now!

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Get Mary Lee’s tips on How Not to Blow Your Cool and Make Better Real Time Decisions and How to Turn Thought Into Habit for Your Team on her Articles and Tip Sheets page.

Mary Lee Gannon is the president of StartingOverNow.com – Leading Productivity Solutions for People and Organizations. Mary Lee is a graduate of The Duquesne University Professional Coaching Program and an alumnus of the 2010 Harvard Medical School and McLean Hospital Coaching in Medicine & Leadership Conference. Her personal turnaround came as a stay-at-home mother, with four children under seven-years-old, who endured a divorce that took she and the children from the country club life to public assistance from where within a short time she worked to the level of CEO. Services include: Workshops, Meeting Facilitation, Coaching, Webinars, Speaking and Management Consulting. Areas of Specialty: Life, Organization and Career Transition / Strategic Direction / Leadership / Time Management / Divorce / Productivity / Relationship Shift / Purpose. Her book “Starting Over – 25 Rules for When You’ve Bottomed Out” is available in bookstores or at Amazon. Get her FREE ebook – “Grow Productivity – A Leader’s Toolbox” on her web site at www.StartingOverNow.com.

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