So You Want to be an Executive?

27 Feb

Executives are defined by the way they handle adverse situations, provide leadership in the office and present themselves to others. However, not all executive-hopefuls know how to put forth the ideal persona.

For these middle-managers, the next step is to go back to school.

A study referenced by the Wall Street Journal says that “Executives with presence act self-confident, strategic, decisive, and assertive.” There are now workshops, some with a name like “Power of Image,” which teach prospective executives how to change their work presence.  This is a complete overhaul of specifics such as dress, or broader topics, like interpersonal behavior and presentation skills.

The executives who participated in these types of courses listed increased self-confidence and a “faster acceptance of ideas by senior management” as benefits. Another executive stated that her survival was a function of how well she could command a room, even when that room is full of other leaders.

These executive courses are clearly effective; otherwise there wouldn’t be so much demand. However, the most important changes can be done without attending a training seminar. The core change that is most important for these middle managers is self-confidence. Self-confidence is the glue that holds together improved dress and interpersonal skills and sells a presentation, or even a handshake.

My thoughts on these classes? The biggest change to make is with respect to your self-confidence. However, changing your confidence level doesn’t require a focused class or seminar. Instead, work on your self-confidence in a way that is best for you. If making presentations is disconcerting, do research on effective presentation styles. If you have difficulty finding a professional method of dress that you like, ask friends for suggestions. Or just pick something you enjoy and get good at it. Self-confidence is contagious, and achievement in one area of life will make confidence in the office easier.

Business communication takes many forms, with only a small part of it being your written words. In the source article, the Wall Street Journal explains how important non-verbal communication is and that mastering an executive presence will yield incredible rewards.

by Egan Muir



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