Why Every Leader Should Consider Improving Their Executive Presence

One of the most important things I’ve discovered in my decades as an leadership coach is the importance of a leader’s presence. It’s one of those things that’s easy to recognize but hard to define, and that may be why so many leaders neglect it. “I’m just here to do a job,” is a common response when I bring up the issue with my clients. But your presence as a leader is just as important as your accomplishments.

There may be signs that indicate that a lack of presence is limiting your career:

  • You’re often praised as being smart and capable, but you don’t get the promotions you deserve.
  • You have the feeling that something’s holding you back, but you’re not sure what it is.
  • You are constantly being told to polish your image or work on your public persona.

But even in the absence of a clear need, every leader can benefit from working on their executive presence. Here are some questions to ask yourself:

Do others view you as you view yourself? Presence is largely how we show up in relationship with others. And one of the most important steps you can take to build presence is to be aware of how you’re perceived. Then you can work to close the gap between how you see yourself and how others see you.

Do the people around you feel heard and understood? Communication skills are pivotal in building presence. If you’re communicating at people instead of with them, you’re losing presence—and respect. Work to become a better speaker, writer and, most importantly, listener.

Are you able to stay in control and display confidence? Staying in control of yourself in difficult situations is a sign of great leadership. Learn to project poise, calm and humble confidence, whatever you’re feeling. The qualities of a leader are contagious, especially in times of chaos and challenges.

Do you allow people to experience their strength in your presence? In the past, leadership was usually defined in terms of a single individual’s strengths. But the field has evolved, and the ability to bring people together to collaborate and grow is now at the forefront. When people know you as someone who fosters relationships and development within your team, you automatically have presence.

Ask yourself these questions, and then build the concepts around them into your own leadership development. Wherever you are on your leadership path, they can help you build an authentic executive presence—one that doesn’t just improve how others experience you but also helps you build the capacity for a more fulfilling and purposeful life.

Lead from within: In our ever-changing business and leadership world, the ability to lead requires an awareness of self that is anchored in the key pillars of presence.


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The Leadership Gap
What Gets Between You and Your Greatness

After decades of coaching powerful executives around the world, Lolly Daskal has observed that leaders rise to their positions relying on a specific set of values and traits. But in time, every executive reaches a point when their performance suffers and failure persists. Very few understand why or how to prevent it.

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Lolly Daskal is one of the most sought-after executive leadership coaches in the world. Her extensive cross-cultural expertise spans 14 countries, six languages and hundreds of companies. As founder and CEO of Lead From Within, her proprietary leadership program is engineered to be a catalyst for leaders who want to enhance performance and make a meaningful difference in their companies, their lives, and the world.

Of Lolly’s many awards and accolades, Lolly was designated a Top-50 Leadership and Management Expert by Inc. magazine. Huffington Post honored Lolly with the title of The Most Inspiring Woman in the World. Her writing has appeared in HBR, Inc.com, Fast Company (Ask The Expert), Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and others. Her newest book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness has become a national bestseller.

  1. Doris Ahiati

    13. Sep, 2022

    This so resonates with me. Executive presence is so subtle and yet so powerful. Thanks for highlighting this @Lolly Daskal and I absolutely agree with the tips for building Executive Presence especially the aspect of communication and demonstration of positive intelligence. The Johari Window came to my mind as I read this beautiful piece. Thank you again Lolly

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