You can have the experience and qualifications of a leader, but without executive presence, you won't have advocates or followers. You'll be held back from an executive position with that dreaded phrase "People just don't see you as a leader."
EP is an amalgam of qualities that true leaders exude, a presence that telegraphs you're in charge or deserve to be. Articulating those qualities isn't easy, however. As one financial-sector CEO put it, "I can't describe it but I sure know it when I see it." And it's clear that if you want to succeed at the highest level, you need it.
In early 2012, Sylvia Hewlett and the Center for Talent Innovation fielded a national survey of thousands of college-graduate professionals in large corporations with the goal of cracking the executive presence code. Through this research, they learned that EP is a potent and dynamic mix of appearance, communication, and gravitas. These elements cannot be considered discretely, as they all interact and influence each other. For example, if your communication skills ensure you can "command a room," your gravitas grows exponentially; conversely, if your presentation is rambling and your manner diffident or timid, your gravitas suffers a blow. Yet these elements are not equal-executives consider gravitas the most important, communication second, and appearance last. If you want true EP, you must know how to use all of them to your advantage. Hewlett's insightful analysis and advice, mixed with illustrative examples from executives learning to use the EP, makes an invaluable read.
Executive Presence will help you make the leap from working like an executive to feeling like an executive.