Common Traits Of Someone with Poor Executive Presence
“Often, poor leadership is masked by those with the loudest voices and strongest opinions.” – Nick Fewings
Executive Presence and good leadership go hand in hand. When someone walks into a room and simply lights it up with their charisma and approachability, everyone can tell they have that certain “something” that others just can’t ignore – they have the presence of a leader. We cover this and much more in my top selling Minneapolis Executive Presence Training program.
However, most of us have experienced a boss or manager who, despite holding a leadership position, don’t actually embody Executive Presence. Usually, this person will try and mask their lack of presence with other qualities that they think exemplify presence. The right leadership attributes create a presence that is strong, professional and trusted. Most importantly, the persona is unique, being a genuine person while leading others.
While the following three qualities are common in people who hold leadership positions, they aren’t usually effective and they certainly aren’t a hallmark of Executive Presence.
As you hone your own Executive Presence, watch out for these three bad habits:
1. Yelling Out of Anger
When a higher-up starts yelling at the team, it’s usually for one of two reasons:
- The leader did not sufficiently outline expectations to the team.
- He or she did not take into consideration which team member could most effectively handle each aspect of the process and the project was poorly delegated.
In other words, if you find yourself yelling at your team for not meeting your expectations, it’s time to take a breath and examine your own practices. If you’re not clear on what you need and you don’t properly communicate those needs, things will not come out the way you want them to.
Download my 5 Exercises to Keep Your Cool in the Office Place PDF
The truth is that a good leader – one with Executive Presence – inspires his or her team to do their best work and make the leader look really good. If your team isn’t pulling their weight, it’s most often a symptom of poor leadership.
Time to ask yourself: What am I doing? What am I trying to do? How am I relaying my message?
2. Feeling Stressed the Majority of the Time
We all get stressed from time to time, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing (take a look at what Kelly McGonigal had to say in her book The Upside of Stress*. In fact, sometimes we do our best work when there’s a sense of urgency around a project.
But when a leader allows him or herself to get stressed about day-to-day things, even small things, it can really damage their sense of composure, their behavior and ultimately, the way others perceive them in the workplace. To handle stress, take time out. Do some meditative breathing exercises, do some physical movement, spend time with your family; put time into things that remind you that there’s more to life than your career.
The more refreshed and de-stressed you are at work, the better impression others will have of you and the better work you’ll be able to do.
3. Operating with a Sense of Entitlement
To me, being “entitled” means having an expectation that you should get something you haven’t worked for. The thought process goes something like, “I didn’t work for this, but I should get it anyway.” It’s a dangerous way of thinking that can lead to managers being highly disliked in the office place – and rightly so!
If you want to hold a position of leadership in your organization, you have to earn it. That means looking and acting the part. Sylvia Ann Hewlett, the founder and CEO of the Center of Talent and Innovation in New York, found that, “although talent and top-level performance are mandatory, leadership roles are given to those who also look and act the part.”
“What is intuitively understood about executive presence is that it’s all about the capacity to mobilize others to act. At the core, it’s necessary for influencing others. To become influential and lead large-scale, complex business initiatives, executive presence isn’t a nice-to-have, but a must-have quality.” – Suzanne Bates
So, do you look and act the part, or are you guilty of any of these three common mistakes?
If you’d like help crafting your Executive Presence so you can move up in your company, let’s talk. Contact us today to connect with Dawn Stebbing directly and find out how we can overhaul your Executive Brand.