Image of a leader – your executive presence

Image of a leader – your executive presence

Executive presence is an unwritten competency for leaders and in today’s economy, it is a must if you want to accelerate in your career. Studies* among 4000 professionals show that executive presence constitutes 25% of what it takes to get promoted and equally important skills and qualities.


If you want to be a leader, you have to look like a leader and it goes beyond the appearance. Your presence has to combine those four elements:

  • How you look
  • How you act
  • How you communicate
  • Gravitas



How you look – the appearance

Your appearance is a door to your success. Your outer presence simply reflects your qualities. Polished look, neat grooming and attention to details makes a positive impact and creates trust. You appear reliable, organized, tasteful. It is not the most important quality, but it is a good start.

How you act – behavior and nonverbal communication

The minute you walk through the door you make an impact. Your body speaks volume and before you get a chance to introduce yourself, your posture, movements and gestures are noticed. Handshake, tone of voice, face expressions adds to the first impression you make. The way you conduct yourself and your manners are part of the picture. If your body language supports what you are saying, you are doing really good.

How you communicate – verbal communication

Being able to express yourself clearly and in a nice manner, presenting facts and figures, but also being able to have small talk are a key to being listened to. If someone enjoys conversation with you, you are winning the game.

Your values – gravitas

Whether you are an entrepreneur, CEO or manager, people around you are looking for what constitutes you as a person and what brings the value to the group. They are looking for your ‘gravitas’. The ancient gravitas were authority, dignity, devotion, power and virtues.

Along with the skills required for the job, you need to be able to present your gravitas. In every action you take and word you say, people have to see those values. It is important that you emphasize your positive traits and characteristics. This what makes you stand out, and this is what constitutes a leader. Recognition of your gravitas builds a respect for you and people naturally starts being attracted to you.

If you want to be a leader you have to make people follow you, you have to appeal to them on many levels. The executive presence is a competency that you can learn.


*2012 Report made by Center for Talent Innovation (CTI)