The Dos and Don’ts of Executive Presence

August 23, 2023


A group of six employees sit around a table and listen to their boss speak. Their boss is displaying executive presence.

As an executive assistant, having an executive presence is essential for success. An outstanding executive presence will leave a lasting impression on your colleagues, clients, and stakeholders. 

To master the dos and don’ts of executive presence, it’s essential to look at what makes for a positive executive presence as opposed to a negative one. Read on to learn more about the essential components of building a strong and polished executive presence. 

What Is Executive Presence?

Executive presence is the ability to exude confidence, poise, and authority as a leader in your industry and company. Moreover, it’s a combination of how you carry yourself, your communication skills, and how you make an impact. 

Having an executive presence is crucial for success in today’s business world. Why? Because it helps you to establish credibility and also inspires confidence in those around you.

Executive presence is often a determining factor when it comes to promotions and career advancement. Ask yourself, “Am I seen as someone who can effectively lead others and be trusted to make important decisions?” If the answer is yes, you likely have already started establishing an executive presence. 

The Dos of Executive Presence 

Executive presence is an integral quality for a leader because it commands respect and influences others positively. To master executive presence, here are several keys to consider. 

  • Confidence is crucial. Project confidence in your abilities and decisions. Confidence will inspire trust in your team and make others more likely and willing to follow your lead. 

  • Communication is key. Ensure your communication is clear, assertive, and effective. Additionally, take the time to listen to others and consider other viewpoints actively. Lastly, be open and transparent in your communication and interactions with your colleagues and subordinates. 

  • Be inclusive and collaborative. A great executive assistant or senior administrative leader is one that values and trusts the opinions of others on their team. By building strong relationships and fostering a work environment that is collaborative and inclusive, you will gain respect and loyalty. 

  • Maintain a professional appearance. Your appearance and how you present yourself are essential to establishing a good executive presence. Dress appropriately for your role and be a role model to others for what professionalism looks like. 

  • Practice and display emotional intelligence. Leaders with high emotional intelligence can more effectively manage their own emotions and better understand the emotions of others. This allows them to navigate difficult interpersonal situations with empathy and thoughtfulness, helping to build stronger relationships with team members. 

By embodying all of the above, executive and senior-level assistants can establish themselves as respected and influential leaders in their organizations. 

The Don’ts of Executive Presence 

While it's important to know what makes a great executive presence, it’s just as crucial to understand what makes for a bad executive presence. That said, here are some don’ts to avoid if you want to maintain a positive executive presence at work. 

  • Don’t be condescending. Treating others as though they are beneath you will not gain you respect, loyalty, or adoration. 

  • Don’t be rude to others. Regardless of how busy your day is or how stressed and tired you are, there is no excuse for being rude to your colleagues or clients. Take care to be respectful and considerate in all of your interactions with others. 

  • Don’t micromanage. Micromanaging insinuates a lack of trust in your employees and colleagues. Also, it can lead to a lack of motivation and even resentment towards you. Give your team space to do their jobs and first trust that they will do what they’ve been hired to do.

  • Don’t be inconsistent. Inconsistency creates confusion and mistrust on your team. Always be clear and consistent in your communication, actions, and decision-making. 

By avoiding these don'ts, executive assistants and senior office leaders can cultivate a positive executive presence that fosters a positive and productive work environment. 

Remember that a good executive presence is about being confident, composed, and approachable while leading your team to success.

Enhance Your Professional Skills with ASAP

Executive presence is a key component of effective leadership. It’s the intangible quality that sets exceptional executives and other senior leaders apart from the rest.

Ready to continue enhancing your professional skills? ASAP has a vast library of digital resources, webinars, articles, and in-person training events to help you continually grow. Don’t get stagnant or complacent in your career! Continue to grow your skills and advance in your career as a result.

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