Can Executive Presence Be Faked?

I was recently asked if it was possible to fake executive presence. This is a natural question, albeit a bold one. What do you think?

Leaders are bombarded with content on how to “appear” more confident and how to “sound” more impactful. They believe that if they alter their body language or interact in a certain way, they will be able to establish executive presence to some degree. Would that be fake or real?

Leaders are quite curious to learn how to build executive presence. Often they concern themselves with the outer dimensions of executive presence. Indeed, executive presence is about our impact on the world.

It encompasses aspects such as how we appear, how we conduct ourselves and how we present ourselves to others as leaders. Therefore, it is natural that the focus is on how we dress, our body language, our clarity in communication, etc.

All of these attributes help us to create a positive impression as a leader.

This gives us power, the power to influence others, the power to make things happen. It is much easier to lead with executive presence.

I've observed that leaders, who strive to improve executive presence are able to make some quick changes to their attire and even body language ( like eye contact or correct posture). But that isn't enough to create the charisma that we aspire for. These are external modifications.

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Executive Presence

They may work in the short run, to impress a client in one meeting or to deliver a talk to an audience, one time. But, to achieve executive presence, one must work on one’s confidence, courage, assertiveness, and decisiveness. These are more attitudinal in nature.

And if these elements are lacking, a great deal of inner work can be done by the executive leader. Through the process of executive coaching, I work with the leader to bring the focus on who they are as a person.

You cannot fake courage or humility or empathy. These traits of executive presence are visible in your eyes when you lead. You may put on a brave front, but people are able to see through.

Real courage is inspiring. Real empathy makes people feel valued. You can cultivate real characteristics of executive presence by working on your inner core.

It is palpable and visible to all.

You can build this inner dimension of gravitas in the following manner:

  1. Increase yourself awareness by observing yourself.

  2. Know your strengths & limiting beliefs,

  3. Build mindfulness practices into your daily routine.

In this way, with practices of observation, reflection and mindfulness, magic happens. Slowly, the transformational process begins. You are more in touch with your humanity. You begin to recognise yourself, including your motivation, conditioning, and story. You learn to anchor yourself in the calmness of being.

When you develop executive presence in such an authentic way, it works wonders. It creates a lasting impact on those around. People miss you when you are not around. When you are around, people want to be with you because they feel energised with your vibration.

So it would be safe to say that the essence of executive presence is authenticity and integrity. You don't need to fake it, only build it over time.

Have you seen anyone in your network trying to fake executive presence? If yes, then, please do share your experience. Would love to hear your thoughts!

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Can you fake Executive Presence?

Yoshita Swarup Sharma:

Founder & CEO - A Brighter Life | ICF Certified Executive Coach | Leadership facilitator | NLP Practitioner| Inner Transformation Specialist

Yoshita Swarup Sharma, CEO & Co-Founder of A Brighter Life, is an internationally certified executive coach (PCC). For the last eleven years, she has coached several senior leaders and CXO across the variety of industries and organizations. Recently she was awarded as one of the most influential coaching leaders of India by the World HRD Congress. She's a leadership facilitator, advanced NLP Practitioner and a specialist on personal transformation. She writes her blog from her own experiences and reflections . She brings with her 23 years of overall work experience and has previously worked as a Marketing professional in corporates like Coca-Cola, Dabur and Ranbaxy She's also a Kathak student and co-founder of Subah, A Covid Widow support group

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