When you think about the characteristics that help individuals become leaders in their chosen profession, you most likely consider positive traits such as hard work, setting goals, and furthering education as essential to achieving a successful career path. While these skills are certainly necessary, a recent study by the non-profit Center for Talent Innovation (CTI) indicates that having an “executive presence” may be an even more important factor in rising to a leadership role within your organization.
CTI surveyed over 4,000 college-graduate professionals, along with analyzing numerous focus groups and interviews to identify the critical elements in establishing the authority necessary to be an effective leader. The results of the study highlight three essential areas of focus to develop a strong executive presence – gravitas, communication, and appearance.
Over 67 percent of the senior executives interviewed for this study identified gravitas as a core characteristic of executive presence and includes exuding confidence, acting decisively, demonstrating integrity, protecting your reputation, and projecting vision.
Almost half of those surveyed acknowledged effective communication as an indicator of leadership abilities. Your local Jaycee chapter provides training in many of these techniques. Some of these are great speaking skills, the ability to command a room, and skills in reading an audience.
Finally, appearance matters. In many cases, how you are perceived in a physically sense will act as a filter for how others view your gravitas and communication abilities. While a relatively low percentage identified appearance alone as a positive factor, almost all of those surveyed indicated the potential for negative impacts from blunders such as a lack of grooming or inappropriate attire.
Take advantage of the tools, trainings, and resources offered by your local chapter and JCI USA to get involved and increase your executive presence. Whether you are learning new skills from your chapter leadership, planning and implementing a project that increases your visibility in the community, or supporting other Jaycees as they work to improve their skill sets, your efforts will help develop characteristics essential to your overall success – not only as a Jaycee, but also in your personal and professional life.