Executive Presence

Executive Presence

Many of the factors that set leaders apart are core personality traits

If you are in a position of leadership, it’s likely that you have displayed these traits and they helped to get you to where you are. 

If you don’t feel like you have some of these leadership traits, you might be wondering how you’ll ever manage to climb the rungs of that corporate ladder and we’re here to help you with that.

While many of the things that make an effective leader are natural traits and abilities, there are a few areas that can only be learned. 

As with everything in business, if you’ve been around long enough you’ve seen the good and the bad. You’ve heard people described as having executive presence. You’ve certainly been able to realize when someone in a position of leadership does not command the same authority as others, largely due to the fact that they do not have executive presence.

But even though you’ve seen it in action, what exactly is executive presence and why should you care? 

What Is Executive Presence?

As with most things in the arena of business leadership, if you ask 100 different people what defines executive presence, you’ll get 100 different answers. 

Most people can’t quite put their finger on it  because executive presence comes from people who just have some sort of “it” factor, a certain je ne sais quoi or gravitas that seems to make them an excellent leader.

When you walk into a sales meeting or you’re interacting with a group in some way, you will generally find yourself drawn to a certain person. A person who commands respect, who exudes presence, who just seems like the leader.

This person has executive presence. 

8 Traits Of Executive Presence 

Leaders all command respect in different ways and executive presence is much the same. While executive presence is a skill that can be learned, there are certain traits that can undoubtedly help.

Confidence – One of the most important aspects of executive presence is confidence. You must appear confident in the way you look and they way you speak, not only in what you say but also in how you say it. • 

Charisma – This is the “it” factor that so many people with great executive presence have. Part of executive presence is the ability to captivate others. Making sure each person feels heard, making others feel as though you are focused on them, ensuring others know they matter – these things are all key for developing charisma. You can use your charisma to influence and persuade others, which of course is a goal when developing executive presence. •

 Trustworthiness – To lead others, you have to garner their trust. You cannot do this if you are not consistent and have no conviction. You must be the person others see doing the right thing. You must show others that you are worthy of their trust and that you are worth following.• 

Relatability – Like we mentioned when discussing different viewpoints of executive presence, being relatable can be an important trait when it comes to establishing your own presence with people. One of the best ways to get people to notice you is to help them realize that you are the same as them – human. Don’t be afraid to discuss your experiences, your successes and failures. Make connections with others in order to build deeper, more meaningful relationships.•

 Composure – It’s essential to be able to assess the emotions of the people around you. When you can determine how others are feeling, it can help you better navigate situations. This is all welland good as long as you can keep your own emotions in check as well. Managing the way you respond to situations can establish your presence. People who have executive presence do not tend to be rattled by their situation, instead responding with grace and remaining calm.•

 Transparency and Authenticity –Authenticity is vital when it comes to establishing yourself as a person for others to emulate and follow. People with executive presence are genuine. They are comfortable with who they are, and they are straightforward pulling no punches whatsoever. Other people gravitate toward this, because people like this are trustworthy and relatable. • 

Conciseness – For people with executive presence, one of the most important skills is communication. You must be able to convey your point and do it clearly. Clarity and conciseness are key to this. You must have a clear understanding of what you are trying to communicate, and you will likely need to shorten your message. People don’t tend to have long attention spans so you should ask yourself how you can get your message across in 10 words. If you are unable to articulate your message briefly, you need to rework your message.• 

Style – This goes along with what we’ve discussed when talking about leadership styles. People with executive presence rely on their own style of leadership without mimicking other leaders. Rely on your own sense of humor, your own mannerisms. Be authentically you and set yourself apart from other leaders. 


There is a common thread that runs through everything pertaining to executive presence: YOU!

To effectively lead, you must rely on your skills, character, substance, and style.

Find who you are and be authentic to yourself. 

No matter what the culture of the company is and what their values are, you are the best thing you can bring to the table.

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