How to Enhance Your Executive Presence, Part One

Can we influence how people perceive us as in our jobs? Do you want to be recognized as a person that genuinely has what it takes? Each one of us, no matter how seasoned we are in our profession, can improve upon the way our boss, colleagues, clients, and prospective employers perceive us in at work.

Presence is how you express yourself and how people perceive your strengths based on what they see and experience interacting with you. How people perceive that expression is your presence.

This post is part one in a series of posts that will address how to enhance your professional presence. The conscious mastery of expressing your unique strengths in leadership gives you an executive presence.

Start with Awareness

To strengthen your professional presence, start with awareness of your strengths. We each have a unique combination of strengths, traits, capabilities, talents, skills, and interests. No one is exactly like you. That uniqueness alone is a strength. So what are your other strengths?

Inventory Your Strengths

Take a brief inventory of your strengths today—list 5 of your strengths. If you are not sure how to describe your strengths, try plugging into some interesting online tests that help you identify some of your top strengths and traits.

Taking a personality or strengths test is not essential, but there are two ways that they can help you inventory your strengths and traits.

  • Describe strengths— Test results provide alternative descriptions of your strengths that you might see right now.
  • Offer Insights— You receive information about how these traits and strengths result in themes of behavior with your test results.

As we are all unique, I do not like to describe traits and strengths as a “type.” Do not fall into this narrow trap. If you chose to explore a testing instrument, approach it as if it will help you better see the facets in your behavior to polish rather than to place you in a “type” box.

Here are a few free tests available online. They each offer enhanced insights into your results (for a fee), but the free information is beneficial on its own.

Free Personality Test through 16 Personalities

Free Strengths Test through Workuno

The free abbreviated DISC test

Get Feedback

Talk with a person you trust that observes you in action on the job, and is good at giving candid feedback. Ask them to describe five of your strengths, traits, talents, skills, and capabilities. Compare her or his list with your list. Are there gaps? If so, ask them to describe your behaviors that have them see something different than what you see.

What others see that you cannot see is called a blind spot. Discovering a blind spot is a gift. It can also be startling to learn something that reveals a previously unknown facet of your behavior. Open up to these blind spot revelations. They are a key to unlocking essential leverage points—meaning if you make slight behavior adjustments in what was once a blind spot, you will see the quickest and most potent results.

Feedback is a tremendous gift that will help you narrow down your next steps to enhance your professional presence.

Awareness Not Absorption

Keep in mind; awareness is NOT absorption.  Awareness is a sensitivity to who we are and how we express ourselves to others. Awareness helps us better frame our strengths as we show them. In contrast, absorption is a lack of sensitivity to others, as a self-absorbed person only looks at themselves, not caring about their impact on others.

When we combine our strengths, with an awareness of our strengths and a genuine desire to improve our professional presence, we are on the road to making positive in-roads to being perceived as a person who has what it takes.

“How to Enhance YourExecutive Presence, Part 2” will further clarify how to strengthen your presence with focused feedback applied constructively.

Ellevate Network originally published this as an article in 2016. 

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