How Executive Presence Could Help You Get a Promotion

Being perceived as leadership material goes a long way, a new study says.

Do you have “it”? If you do, you may also have your foot in the door to the C-suite, according to a new study.

The Center for Talent Innovation’s study of 268 senior executives says being perceived as having “executive presence” counts for 26 percent of what it takes to get you promoted.

So, what’s this murky concept of “executive presence,” anyway? The group calls it a mixture of “gravitas” (the ability to exude confidence), strong communication skills, and a polished appearance. The study says that two-thirds of executives describe gravitas as the most important element of executive presence.

Other points from the study:

The diversity factor: According to the study, multicultural professionals and women often feel like they face stricter standards for executive presence, and they say they often face what’s described as “hopelessly contradictory feedback on expectations.” Eighty-one percent of workers who received this kind of feedback said they didn’t know how to act on it.

Appearance isn’t everything, but … While only 5 percent of leaders said appearance was a key factor in executive presence, executives did agree it played a role. The worst crimes? Unkempt attire and provocative clothing, with women facing more of an uphill battle than men.

The full study is available in the November issue of Marie Claire magazine.

(TMG archive photo)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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