In 2022, leadership can make or break a company. Poor leadership, in part, spurred The Great Resignation, which has been a costly problem for many companies. It’s just one of many reasons companies need to evaluate how its leaders are showing up every day, and the influence they have within company culture. It’s never been more important to build a strong executive presence, which can help lead to a more fulfilling and purposeful team.
Research from TRACOM Group, which provides Social Intelligence training resources for business leaders, describes executive presence as the combination of three key factors:
- interpersonal aptitude (the way you interact with others)
- professional affect (how you present yourself)
- technical competence (what you know).
Here’s how you can ensure you and your company’s leaders have executive presence to effectively lead your company.
Strengthening interpersonal aptitude
A person with interpersonal aptitude is described by TRAMCOM Group as someone who has outstanding communication skills and can build relationships. They are trustworthy, act in alignment with their core values, have high levels of emotional intelligence, are inclusive, and more.
In short, great leaders engage with others in a way that is genuine, and they model the behaviors other team members should emulate.
I’ve talked before about the benefits of positive energy in leadership. It’s more important than ever to build trust, act authentically in your purpose, and put your people first. It’s key to strengthening your executive presence in a way that’s sincere and real.
Building professional affect
Professional affect includes the amount of self-confidence and influence a person brings to the table. This piece of the executive presence puzzle is about how you show up to others, and it’s about the perceptions others have about you.
Ask yourself how you’re showing up in the office. Do you bring substance and authority to the table? How are you illustrating your talent and knowledge? Great leaders should be able to show to others that they have the experience to lead.
To build your professional affect, look for ways to contribute to the success of others. You should be coaching your team toward success and helping both you and your team take the initiative to bring positive change. You should also be inspiring others to live the company’s core mission and values. It will go a long way toward building a great culture.
Ensuring technical competence
TRACOM’s research illustrates what is important to demonstrate your technical competence. It’s a mixture of traits, including delivering results, showing strategic thinking and expertise, being decisive, and being a visionary.
While sometimes it may relate to the type of actual technical insights you have to offer, in leadership, it more specifically relates to superior performance. Fortunately, technical competence is perhaps one of the easiest things to measure in business because there should be real data behind your efforts.
Think about what your business needs to grow. To truly stand out, a company must be innovative within its market and be forward-thinking. As a leader, it’s up to you to look toward the company’s future. What new ideas are you bringing to the table within your industry? Are you looking at other industries to see what you can emulate within your own? Maybe you have ideas about new digital strategies that you’re taking straight from major digital players. Perhaps you’re thinking about taking on some grassroots initiatives because you’ve seen it work for smaller brands. If you’re bringing new ideas to the table, you’re demonstrating technical competence.
If your leadership team is lacking in any of these areas, don’t stress. There are ways to build these skills. Be sure to ask for direct feedback to understand any areas you need growth. Consider building in mentorship programs, formal leadership training, or assigning stretch projects to take your leaders to the next level.
If you or someone you know is already demonstrating outstanding executive presence in the workplace, we’d love to hear your insights. Share them in the comments below.
Jim Allen is a business leader and entrepreneur who has built one of the top-producing real estate groups in the Triangle. He is President of The Jim Allen Group, which is consistently named one of the top real estate teams in North Carolina and even North America.