When you consider your behaviour at work, would you say you have a strong ‘executive presence’ or the ‘x factor’? How would you rate yourself in terms of how you project authority, confidence, authenticity in your daily interactions?
One of the ways to assess your ‘x factor’ is to observe how often tuned into the present moment or preoccupied with future or past events. Are you typically aware or unaware of what you’re feeling, seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting and intuiting? As a leader, you do have ‘big picture’ responsibilities. Future planning is often critical for success, but it shouldn’t be at the expense of your leadership presence. Presence is that quality of being awake and aware sensorially in each moment. Presence gives you a quality of aliveness and vitality which is magnetic and supports you in being more influential and effective in all your interactions.
With practice, you can develop your ‘x factor’ or ‘executive presence’. You can cultivate your sensory awareness in such a way that you exude a sense of vitality and energy. With intentional practice, you will also begin to notice an increase in clarity, focus, improved memory, creativity and a greater ease in negotiating and resolving conflicts.
Here’s a simple exercise to begin cultivating your presence today as you go about your regular activities: At each of your meals and/or tea breaks (or whatever times are convenient for you to remember) , ask yourself, these sensorial questions:
What am I seeing now? Notice around you colours, shapes, objects, people, etc.
What sounds am I hearing now? Notice the whirr of a computer, traffic noises, telephone ringing, etc.
What do I feel now physically? Notice the chair beneath you, the temperature of the room, your feet on the floor, your breath, heartbeat, etc.
What do you smell now? Notice any smells around you, e.g. coffee, toothpaste, breath mint, food, etc.
What’s my intuition telling me now? Notice what your ‘sixth sense’ is telling you. Do you have a sense of ‘rightness’ or ‘wrongness’ about a particular situation, agreement, plan, etc.?
As you continue this practice, even for just a few times a day, you may notice a sense of peace and clarity coming into your awareness more frequently. By activating your ‘presence’ or six senses, you are developing your ‘x factor’, that power which transcends your rational, logical mind.
Executive presence is not an inborn gift for everyone. It can be cultivated through practising a set of learnable skills and habits. If you’d like to dive deeper into developing your ‘x factor’ this year, I invite you to contact me to discuss the possibility of designing a program for you or your team. There are various options ranging from private coaching to group training to keynote presentations.
Here's to your growth and development in 2016!
Sally Mabelle, ‘The Voice of Leadership’ Specialist. www.sallymabelle.com - Inspiring clear, confident, and connected communication for personal and cultural transformation.