There’s no question it’s tough to be an executive in business today let alone a female executive. More frequently—the influential leadership roles in today’s business world are held by men. And through this lens, women more often than not fall short of the mark in the eyes of career decision-makers.
It is in this gap Executive Presence comes into play as an ADVERB—one that magnetizes, accentuates, and highlights an executive woman’s career potential now and into the future.
If you’re shaking your head thinking Executive Presence is too frivolous a concept to affect the trajectory of my career… Au contraire! According to the Center for Talent Innovation, Executive Presence counts of 26 percent of what it takes to get promoted.
With this statistic smacking you in the face, unquestionably, Executive Presence can’t be ignored nor presumed a flash in the pan notion.It requires knowing yourself (a leadership characteristic), tapping into your strengths and letting them shine externally!
- Yes, it begins with appearance. If you don’t make the cut on this one, don’t worry about any other facet of Executive Presence. The good news is it isn’t about gorgeousness rather what you do with what you have. Sadly, split-second determinations by others occur fast! As Princeton psychologists describe it takes a tenth of a second to form an impression of a stranger from their face, and longer exposure doesn’t significantly alter those judgments. It isn’t just your face; it’s also what you wear—so dress authentically while keeping your work environment in mind! On top of that, women unwittingly give their power away. Take a moment: Think of a leader you know and respect. Close your eyes. Mentally observe how did she/he enter the room, how does he/she shake hands, what is her/his bearing, where are her/his eyes focused? Wrap yourself in the essence of your envisioned executive. Allow this mental picture to move from your brain through your body. Did you experience a difference? Did you sense how much physical Executive Presence you’re leaving unexpressed? Use this experience to get in touch with your own power!
- Yes, it begins with confidence. Being perceived as a future leader is always an inside-out affair. Somehow many of us have bought into the limiting self-belief that it’s a sin against femininity for women to be self-assured. If you buy into that premise, you’re impairing your career. Factually, you can’t express yourself in the same fashion as a man; however, you can reflect your confidence by accepting praise, stretching your comfort zone, questioning yourself less, trusting yourself more, speaking up, making swift decisions, and being brave.
- Yes, it begins with communication. Women own communication. And yet, sometimes we undercut this strength by the words we employ. Do you ever hear yourself saying: “I’m sorry,” “I just,” or “I’ll try” or “It’s just luck?” Others—particularly male leaders—perceive these empty phrases as competency diminish-ers. Eliminating them from your lexicon will go a long way toward being recognized for who you are—an accomplished, intelligent, confident woman everyone sees as the future of the company!
If you don’t intentionally build a commanding ADVERB Executive Presence for yourself, you are impeding your career progress. Only you can choose to exude an Executive Presence such that senior executives trust in your ability to lead the organization.