64: How Can You Develop Executive Presence?

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Do you have executive presence? How do you find out? How do you develop it? If you need help answering these questions, this episode is for you. Jeffrey Hatchell is a certified Executive Coach who works with leaders and high-potentials to develop their leadership skills, including executive presence. Whether you are interested in developing this personally or helping others, join us to learn more. Jeffrey shares his advice on how to assess and develop executive presence, offering practical tips and takeaways you can start to implement today. This includes Jeff’s Executive Presence Assessment. 
Jeffrey Hatchell is a certified Executive Coach, a motivational speaker and the author of The Inspired Career – Breathe New Life Into Your Job and Get Equipped, Empowered and Engaged! He is also an Executive Coach for A.J. O’Connor Associates, working with organizational leaders to develop their leadership competencies. Jeff is known for his signature smile, upbeat attitude, and leadership experiences gained at  Fortune 100 organizations such as American Express and Wells Fargo. Jeff has extensive experience coaching executives and high-potentials and leading team-building sessions and workshops. In addition to his MBA, he obtained his coaching certification from Corporate Coach U, and earned a certificate in Entrepreneurial studies from UCLA Anderson School of Management.

Listen (above) or watch the video (below) to catch Fred's interview with Dick.

Key Learnings From This Episode

  • What Is Executive Presence? Jeff defines as a person’s genuine self-confidence; ability to influence others positively with his/her presence, and can-do-attitude that is contagious to everyone with whom they interact. It’s part of ‘gravitas’. They are qualities that people are ‘wowed by’ or are ‘in awe of’. However, Executive Presence is something that can be developed. Oprah Winfrey has it; Steve Jobs had it. This is not about people who wear a three-piece suit. It is about the intrinsic qualities and how they make others feel. This can be learned – internal and external factors can help draw it out of you. 
  • Executive Presence Assessment. (See PDF below) Jeff’s assessment helps people define and assess where they are in the following categories:  
    • Presentation Skills – the ability to present your thoughts and ideas 
    • Writing Skills/Emails/Texts
    • Listening & Interpersonal Skills
    • Analytical Acumen & Critical Thinking
    • Poise Under Pressure
    • Charismatic/Charming
    • Authenticity
    • Appearance
    • Decisiveness
    • Witty/Sense of Humor
  • Fixed Versus Growth Mindset. Can you improve on these skills or competencies or is it a case of you either you have it or you don’t? The fixed mindset versus the growth mindset as outlined in Carol Dweck’s book, Mindset, shows that having a growth mindset is the belief that you can evolve, develop and enhance certain things. Some think ‘people are just born that way’. Yes, people are born with certain gifts and strengths, however, they still need to further develop them. You also need to work on areas where you may not be as strong. As an example, when just out of college and starting a new job, an area of concern for the company who hired Jeff was whether he had the ability to communicate effectively. He turned what was initially a weakness into a strength, and he did it primarily through development – he became involved in Toastmaster’s, the company sent him to Dale Carnegie, and he attended a variety of classes. He developed a weakness into a strength based on the growth mindset. 
  • Asking for Feedback. How do you know what to develop? After performing a self-assessment, ask for feedback from others. If you are a business owner, ask your customers, partners and/or people who work for and with you. If you work in an organization, ask your leader, your peers and people you supervise. Ask people who you work with externally on a regular basis. Ask them to rate you on a scale of 1 to 5 (5 being the highest) in the areas previously listed. This will give you insight and perspective. There are a variety of assessments you can leverage that will give you insights into some of your blind spots including DiSC, StrengthFinder, and Myers Briggs. 

    You can have a conversation with those who you look up to who will provide you with honest feedback. There are some who will tell you what you want to hear. There are others who will tell you exactly how it is.

  • What if you are reluctant to seek feedback? First, be sure you have a good relationship with the other person and it is someone you respect. Feedback is a gift. It is easier to accept feedback and coaching from someone you have a relationship with. Be sure you are asking someone you trust and that you know cares. 
  • Jeffrey Hatchell Quote on HR Studio PodcastWhat are some areas where you can enhance your executive presence? 
    • Your Writing Skills. – A lot of our communication is via email and text. Your email is representing ‘you’. Typos and errors represent you. Take a look in your ‘Sent’ box. Analyze the emails you have sent for readability. Are your messages well organized? Are points highlighted or bulleted? Can you get through it quickly? Is action easily identified? What is the likelihood that you would read it if you were on the receiving end? If you are using a handheld device, make sure you re-read your message before you send it. Leverage your device as the tool it is. Keep your message high level and present it in easy, bite-size capsules. 
    • Listening & Interpersonal Skills – Jeff shared the example of when he was working at American Express and had prepared a presentation for an SVP. After many hours of hard work, Jeff and his VP went to the SVP’s office. He was on a call but were waved in. At the end of his call, the SVP turned to his laptop and began typing. As he continued to type, he asked Jeff and the VP to proceed with their presentation. While barely looking at them, the SVP continued to type on his laptop, responding to emails, throughout the presentation. When Jeff and his VP walked out of the room, they felt undervalued, unheard and underappreciated. After all their hard work, the SVP couldn’t give them the common courtesy of his full attention. Elevate your listening skills by staying in the moment and giving people your undivided attention. Totally embrace the conversation.  Let people know they have been heard. Stephen Covey said, ‘People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care’. Ask questions, summarize and reflect – it lets others know you are engaged. 
    • Witty/Sense of Humor – Being the ‘funny guy’ can damage your executive presence. Humor, when used in the right way, can lighten a tough atmosphere. You do not want to be viewed as the ‘jokester’. Be witty, use dry, soft humor. You can get better by practicing with loved ones and people you know well. Listen and watch comedies like Seinfeld. Google ‘business humor’. It will help you in saying the right things at the right moment. Borrow from others and emulate. Make it your own. Be authentic. 
  • What should leaders keep in mind about executive presence? Take the time to do a self-assessment. Get feedback from others and identify areas of strengths that you can develop, and leverage those to your advantage. Know that you can improve and enhance and that executive presence does make a difference. Take the time to take control and understand where you are. ‘Be as you wish to seem’ – Socrates. Identify and do what it takes to live it out.

Recommended Reading and References From this Episode

Jeffrey Hatchell HR Studio Podcast Show Notes
Jeffrey Hatchell HR Studio Podcast Show Notes
Jeffrey Hatchell's Executive Presence Assessment
Jeffrey Hatchell's Executive Presence Assessment
Tuesday, October 9, 2018 - 8:00am
Fred Bunsa
Jeffrey Hatchell
HR Studio Podcast