It’s common for leaders who want to make a bigger impact to work on building their executive presence. It’s so common, in fact, that my company offers a seven month group coaching program for high potential leaders slated for executive roles. Our goal in that program is to make the often discussed but rarely clearly defined topic of executive presence a tangible and actionable thing to develop.
We try to move away from the “I know it when I see it,” definition of executive presence by focusing on specific behaviors and tactics related to factors like showing up with an appropriate amount of confidence, tailored communications, building great teams and working with colleagues to get bigger things done. Along with all of that, we focus on the idea that it’s possible to have too much executive presence.
Too much executive presence? How, you may ask, could that possibly be a problem? It’s a problem when the leader’s executive presence creates distance between them and the people they’re leading or working with. In my experience, this usually happens when the leader puts too much emphasis on “executive” and not enough emphasis on “presence.”
Is it possible that you have too much executive presence? Here are three signs that could tell you the answer may be yes:
Too Many Perks: If you find yourself grooving on the perks that come with an executive-level title or perhaps viewing them as an entitlement or even taking them for granted, then you probably have too much executive presence. If you can’t come up with a list of the perks that come with your job, that’s a sure sign that you need to step back and look at things from a different perspective. Try looking at it from the perspective of the lowest paid people in your organization.
Too Many Meetings in Your Office: Do they come to you, or do you go to them? If you’re taking most of your meetings in your own office, that’s a sign that you have too much executive presence. Again, look at it from their perspective. Is it possible that they feel like they’re being summoned for an audience on a regular basis? And, by the way, what are you missing or overlooking by not getting out of your office?
Too Much Structure: So, yeah, you definitely need to have processes and systems in place that enable you to be accountable for results without having to be personally responsible for all of the results. Definitely put those in place, but don’t over do it and don’t put yourself as the focal point of the structure. It’s not all about you. Too much structure that is focused on channeling information to you is a sign that you have too much executive presence.
What do you think? Is it possible to have too much executive presence? What are some other signs that a leader has too much executive presence?