Jun 9, 2022 | Leadership

How to Develop Leadership Presence

Written by Dan Grisoni

If you’re already a leader, you’re probably a very skilled communicator and you know how to motivate your team. But, here’s a question for you. Do you have the leadership presence needed to climb up the leadership ladder?

Having leadership presence can be the magic that opens the executive suite doors for you or even that promotion you’ve been hoping for! You’ll need it to land a leadership position, close a deal, win a promotion, or even inspire change within the organization. Leaders with executive presence radiate an aura of respectability and confidence, which helps them attract followers and earn their trust.

This post will discuss leadership presence, including what it is, how to develop leadership presence, and three essential components of leadership presence.

Let’s dig in!


What is leadership presence?

Leadership presence can sometimes be seen as an elusive quality, however, we all know it when we experience it in others. We’ve broken it down into several facets to help you understand the concept better. Leadership presence is the ability to:

  1. Connect authentically with others and inspire and motivate them
  2. Confidently share and support your opinions and thinking
  3. Strike a balance between talking and listening to make your communication impactful and persuasive

Leadership presence helps make you a more decisive leader. When you achieve it, you become a better communicator and adaptable to various situations. It’s closely related to executive presence – a learned set of behaviors and personal characteristics that allow individuals to command attention and authority.

It’s important to note that leadership presence isn’t an attribute assigned to you when you do well in your business. What’s more, it’s not a reflection of your potential or actual qualities, or your leadership skills. Instead, it all relies on how other individuals evaluate you and view you as a leader.


How do you develop leadership presence?

How to develop leadership presence

Developing effective leadership presence is vital in order to be noticed and promoted into leadership. People need to see you as a leader to trust you in order to offer you a leadership role. Once you demonstrate leadership presence, people become more willing to naturally follow you and your workers’ trust will increase. This helps increase workplace productivity and employee engagement.

So, how do you develop leadership presence? Many people hire an executive coach to help with impression management. Then, you can develop leadership presence further by:


1. Conquering your inner critic

Self-confidence lies at the root of leadership presence. But it’s tricky to show confidence on the outside if, internally, you’re listening to the voice that belittles you, tells you that you are not able to achieve, or even depicts you as a failure. You have the power to believe and chase whatever you want, so why would you choose to listen to what disempowers you?

To silence your inner critic, you’ll first need to listen. Pay attention to whenever your inner critic starts to show up with self-destructive or negative thoughts. Then, ask yourself whether your self-reviews are helpful. You can try to come up with an equally true positive statement. For instance, if some thoughts tell you, “I can’t take the team through this task,” reframe the thought to “I have overcome bigger tasks before.”

You can share your positive truth with trusted colleagues or friends to make the practice more powerful. Alternatively, you may consider emotional intelligence coaching to help conquer your inner critic and concentrate on the positive truths.


2. Helping others succeed

Leaders with strong leadership presence create connections. They leverage their resources and networks to help others succeed. They seem to build up those around them without being concerned about how that helps them in return. Interestingly, this behavior creates a culture where employees strive to make the leader successful.


3. Gaining credibility using the word because

Yes, credibility is all about your communication skills, body language, and being diplomatic, truthful, decisive, and empathetic. However, certain phrases and words can increase your credibility – and ‘because’ is one of them.

A recent study shows that using the word ‘because’ increases your success rate from around 60% to 94%. So, make sure to use the term when addressing people – it will help develop your leadership presence.


4. Redirecting your focus

Be thoughtful and attentive in meetings

Be thoughtful and attentive whenever you’re in meetings, conference calls, one-on-one conversations, or even reading and answering emails. Treat all interactions as an opportunity to connect; instead of a task or transaction to complete. It can present you as a reputable and reliable leader who commands attention and authority.


5. Communicating effectively

Communicating effectively is key to developing your leadership presence since leaders are responsible for informing, engaging, and directing teams. You can boost your communication skills by:

  • Learning negotiation skills
  • Practicing your listening skills
  • Practicing oral and written communication
  • Requesting feedback on how you communicate
  • Reading communication books or taking communication classes

Demonstrating respect to everyone you communicate with is a core element of being able to communicate effectively, which also helps to further develop your executive presence.


6. Developing your emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence helps us to use, understand, and manage our emotions positively to communicate effectively, relieve stress, deal with conflicts, overcome challenges, and empathize with others.

To develop your emotional intelligence, you may need to improve your:

An executive coach can help you improve some or all of these skills to boost your emotional intelligence.


7. Leading yourself first

Many of the most outstanding leaders began by leading themselves first. They faced their inner critics, overcame fears, and worked with executive coaches, experts, and mentors. They became comfortable with who they were, and prioritized their own personal growth.

Leading yourself first means acquiring traits like compassion, self-acceptance, humor, and kindness which helps you build both; a positive and magnetic leadership presence.


What are the components of a leadership presence?

components of a leadership presence

As a leader with leadership presence, you should be able to inspire individuals and make them confident about themselves. But how do you tell if you have a presence that can influence others?

Here are three essential components of leadership presence:


1. Communication

How you deliver your value (communication) is an essential component of executive presence. This can include how you talk to people, listen to what they have to say, as well as your personality and approach.


2. Gravitas

Gravitas is your confidence, composure, charisma, and compassion. Composure may be tricky to maintain, especially in environments with high emotions. Even demonstrating confidence is becoming increasingly hard nowadays with the many uncertainties in the world. However, if you can keep your gravitas, it’s a sure bet that you’ll have leadership and executive presence.


3. Character

You can gain or lose all through your character. It is your authenticity, interactivity, integrity, and intentionality. You need to do what is right and be authentic about what’s around you without losing your composure. Your deeds and behaviors should be aligned with your values, and your communication should be open.


The Bottom Line


Leadership presence is vital for both individuals and organizations. It can help teams accomplish their goals, boosting workplace productivity and employee engagement. Developing leadership or executive presence can help you establish your vision and set an example that motivates your employees to achieve organizational goals.

One thing I’m sure of is that Executive Coaching improves your leadership presence. Coaching helps you assert your individuality and form profound and meaningful relationships with those around you. I specialize in helping leaders to achieve leadership presence, and I invite you to book a call with me here to learn more about how we can add to your leadership skills.

About Dan Grisoni

Dan Grisoni is a sought-after high performance coach and trainer. For over 20 years Dan has been helping managers and leaders become influential and inspiring so that they can live, matter, and thrive, 365.

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