Why CEOs need to build executive presence among their senior executives

Published: 17th June 2010
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One of the biggest problems that multinational companies face is having senior executives who lack executive presence. Productivity, profit and morale are all tied in with this concept. Companies urgently need to address this problem because it can increase efficiency in project execution, distribute key messages properly and improve morale through all levels of management.

Gives a Personal Brand

One of the most important things about executive presence is creating a personal brand. Executives create a message simply by the way people see and hear them, as well as think about them. Having a personal brand gets an executive noticed, which allows them to build a successful career and drive progress in their business. Executive presence and personal brand extend to all stakeholders, like customers. This gives the executive a distinct advantage as they project authority to individuals who they have never met, nor worked with. Many call this the "WOW" factor and people with it get listened to more and are often seen as a centre of influence. A personal brand is ingrained with a person's executive presence; one cannot exist without the other. An executive with presence has a clearly defined awareness of who they are and the value they can bring their company.

Creates Credibility

If an executive shows up to talk with their team wearing a Hawaiian shirt, with cargo pants and sandals

on, the executive team may not see the senior executive as a leader. If the company culture supports

suit-wearing , dressing too casually will impact how people judge and respect the executive. This could lead to a lack of credibility and result in the executive being unable to motivate his team. All companies have a template of what a leader should be and successful executives match this image. However, executive presence comes from more that dress sense. Credibility is extremely important and something that comes when the executive is seen a true role model. Executives who cultivate their image as a role model are more highly regarded both inside and outside the firm.

Connecting With the Team

One of the most important aspects of executive presence is that it allows the executive to connect directly with their team. They make that person feel as though they are the most important person in the world. A skill that former President Bill Clinton was famous for displaying. This connection, or charisma, is based on superb listening skills and when carried with sincerity becomes an accelerator that drives the team to achieve outstanding results. While over-use of emails tends to diminish this impact, a high performing executive will use a blended approach. Encouraging team members who are located in different sites, while maximizing face time to ensure the team can see and feel the important the executive places on them. These personal connections result in higher performance and productivity. An executive with presence engages their team and keeps motivation high - through good and bad times.


The greatest business leaders all have executive presence. Richard Branson and Steve Jobs use their executive presence to influence their team members as well as their stakeholders. This results in successful companies with highly committed people and a loyal customer base. Today's executives need to raise their game to match this high benchmark, as the future of their business growth depend on it.

Warwick John Fahy coaches senior finance executives to influence key stakeholders in the innovative model: "The Bamboo Leader - 8 executive presence competencies for multinationals in Greater China". To arrange an initial free "Build Executive Presence" consultation (value 200 Euros), call +86 21 6101 0486 or download a free White Paper on Building Executive Presence at The Bamboo Leader

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