Reframing Executive Presence in the New Age of Work

career advice image leadership Nov 14, 2023
Professional Black Woman Executive Presence

While executive presence remains vital to professional success, its interpretation in today's changing landscape has evolved significantly. Even in a post-COVID era, where hybrid and remote work environments have become the norm, the power of executive presence remains critical. Research indicates that executive presence accounts for up to 25% of what it takes to get promoted, a statistic that holds even in virtual settings.

However, what has changed is the traditional, homogeneous notion of Executive Presence, often characterized by physical appearance and demeanor that mimics that of patriarchal hierarchy. Today, a more inclusive and authentic approach is being embraced.

A unique leadership style and signature voice are valued and essential in this new paradigm. This shift recognizes the diversity of the global workforce and the need for leaders who can represent and relate to a broader range of experiences and perspectives.

It's no longer about fitting a particular mold; it's about fostering individuality, reducing bias, and adapting to the nuances of both in-person and virtual interactions. Emphasizing these aspects of Executive Presence is vital to succeeding in today's multifaceted work environment, where the ability to connect, inspire, and lead effectively across various platforms is more critical than ever.

In my monthly segment on AM Northwest Morning Show, I discussed four (4) key strategies that professional women can employ to cultivate a powerful presence in this new era of work. You can watch the entire segment below.

Develop an Authentic Brand: Today, executive presence is about who you are and how you authentically show up in the physical or remote room. A positive self-perception and belief in your abilities is crucial to this. By creating a personal brand that reflects your values, unique background, and skills you bring to the table, you'll radiate confidence, boost your effectiveness in your role, and exude a powerful presence. If you want to learn how to build an authority brand, follow these three tips and get access to my Authority Brand Guide.

  • Identify and Embrace Your Unique Attributes: Conduct a thorough self-assessment to identify your key strengths, values, and the unique experiences that shape your identity. Understanding what differentiates you from others is the first step in developing an authentic personal brand. 
  • Consistently Communicate Your Brand Values: Once you've identified your unique attributes, ensure that these are consistently communicated in every interaction, whether in a virtual meeting, an email, or a face-to-face conversation. This includes your language, stories about your experiences, and how you articulate your professional achievements and goals. 
  • Align Your Online Presence with Your Brand: In a world where much of our professional interaction occurs online, it's essential to align your digital presence with your brand. This means curating your social media profiles, LinkedIn page, and other public-facing digital platforms to reflect your professional values and strengths.

Cultivate Emotional Intelligence: Can you manage polarities, handle adversity, confidently demonstrate vulnerability, and be adaptable in the midst of change? In the new age of work, these essential skills define executive presence. Emotional intelligence, especially self-awareness, is vital for navigating diverse situations and responding empathetically and effectively. Strong EQ skills motivate others to follow you in critical times, an essential aspect of executive presence. If you haven't done so, take an EQ assessment to learn more about your EQ skills. Click here to schedule a time with me to take an EQ assessment and get a feedback sessionIn the interim, try these three tips:

  • Develop Self-Awareness and Self-Management: Begin by regularly engaging in introspection to understand your emotions, triggers, and responses. This can be achieved through practices like mindfulness or reflective journaling. 

  • Enhance Social Awareness and Relationship Management: Focus on understanding and empathizing with others. This involves actively listening to your colleagues and being attuned to non-verbal cues. 
  • Embrace Adaptability and Manage Change: This means being open to new ideas, willing to learn, and able to adjust your approach as circumstances change. Work on becoming comfortable with uncertainty and developing strategies to navigate change effectively.

Align Your Visual Brand: The idea of power dressing, as we once defined it, has shifted with the remote and hybrid work environments. It's about curating a wardrobe that aligns with and enhances your authentic brand. When your closet is out of alignment with your brand message, it causes a disconnect, which will impact your self-confidence and how you show up, which, in turn, influences how others perceive your abilities and credibility. To avoid diminishing your executive presence, let go of other's perceptions of how you should dress and learn how to create your own authentically. These three tips will help. But if you want to help elevate your image, check out the Confident Image Solution.

  • Learn Your Authentic Style: Begin by exploring and defining your authentic style. This involves understanding what styles make you feel most confident and comfortable. 

  • Find the Right Colors and Fabrics That Work for You: Colors and fabrics play a significant role in how you look and feel. Learn which colors complement your skin tone, hair, and eye color and the messages they convey. 

  • Be Consistent Across All Aspects of Life: Consistency in your style, not just at work, is vital to maintaining confidence and a solid personal brand. 

Engage in Self-Evaluation: Set aside time for personal reflection, looking for areas for growth and improvement. Seeking feedback from trusted colleagues, mentors, or coaches can provide valuable perspectives on your leadership style and effectiveness. Utilizing tools such as 360-degree feedback, where input is gathered from peers, direct reports, and superiors, can offer a comprehensive view of the effectiveness of your presence and impact.

  • Regular Self-Reflection Sessions: Reflect on recent experiences, both successes and challenges. Ask yourself questions like: What did I handle well? Where could I have improved? How did my actions align with my goals and values? 

  • Seek Constructive Feedback: Seek feedback from various sources, including colleagues, mentors, and coaches. It's essential to approach feedback with an open mind and a willingness to learn. 

  • Utilize 360-Degree Feedback Tools: Engage in 360-degree feedback processes to gain a well-rounded view of your performance. We're certified in both EQ360 and LEAD NOW! 360, which can provide you with critical insights on how to show in a way that elevates your executive presence. Click here if you're interested in learning more.

Watch the entire segment here:

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