Cultivating executive presence for Assistants

Executive presence is a crucial attribute that Assistants can develop to enhance their careers and open doors to new opportunities. It not only allows you to gain access to high-profile projects but also enables you to showcase your leadership qualities in the workplace.

By embodying executive presence, you can advance your career, develop other leaders, and cultivate influential leadership. In a recent session at the Practically Perfect PA Virtual Summit, Hallie Warner, Co-Author of The Founder and The Force Multiplier, shared eight points to help Assistants cultivate executive presence.

Develop your personal and professional vision:

Just like your company or executive has a mission or vision statement, you must have a vision for yourself. Identify what you want and where you want to go in your career.

Consider using tools like the “future self” framework, which helps you articulate your desired life in the next three years. Clarity about your vision allows you to connect the dots and make purposeful decisions that align with your goals.

Craft your elevator pitch:

Create a compelling elevator pitch that highlights what you do and the impact you make in the organisation. Include information about future projects, volunteer work, or passion projects to convey your potential and the vision you have for your life. An elevator pitch helps you communicate who you are and where you’re headed, allowing you to seize unexpected opportunities.

Study human behaviour:

Self-awareness is crucial to success, including executive presence. Understand your behaviour, communication style, and how you process information. Awareness of these aspects enables you to adjust your communication style and interact with others more effectively. Consider taking behaviour assessments such as the Enneagram, DISC profiles, or Myers-Briggs to gain insights into your behaviour patterns.

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Develop competence:

Competence does not mean knowing everything or being perfect. It means having the confidence to find solutions to challenges and being resourceful. Preparation, practice, and continuous learning contribute to building competence. Be willing to step outside your comfort zone, take on new projects, and learn from successes and failures.

Manage your emotions:

Emotions play a significant role in executive presence. Learn to manage your feelings in different situations to maintain a neutral-centred state. Being aware of your emotional state and refocusing before important meetings helps you approach them with clarity and presence. Find a one-minute recentering practice that works for you, such as meditation, breathing exercises, or taking a short walk.

Enhance your communication skills:

Effective communication is essential for leaders. Be able to express yourself clearly across different mediums, such as presentations, writing, or public speaking. Communicate the company’s vision, organise information effectively, and provide clarity to others. Strive to be a proactive communicator, ensuring your team members and stakeholders understand the following steps and expectations.

Practice active listening and asking great questions:

Listening attentively and asking insightful questions are foundational skills for executive presence. Develop the ability to ask purposeful and powerful questions that encourage dialogue, uncover new perspectives, and engage others in meaningful conversations. By honing your listening and questioning skills, you can foster a facilitative leadership style that brings people together and enables productive discussions.

Reflect on your progress and take action:

Regularly assess your growth in cultivating executive presence. Reflect on what you have learned, what has been challenging, and what actions you can take to improve. Embrace opportunities to share your knowledge and insights with others in writing and verbally. Practising and refining these skills will help you enhance your executive presence over time.

Cultivating executive presence requires intentional effort and continuous development. By incorporating these eight points into your professional journey, you can enhance your leadership skills, seize opportunities, and make a lasting impact in your career as an assistant. Remember, executive presence is not about being perfect but about consistently showing up as a confident and influential leader daily.

Developing executive presence is a powerful tool for Assistants seeking to advance their careers and seize new opportunities. You can strengthen your role as a strategic business partner by cultivating the qualities discussed in this article – such as clarifying your vision, enhancing communication skills, and practising active listening.

To further enhance your skills and accelerate your journey towards becoming an indispensableAssistant consider enrolling in the Strategic Business Partner online course. This course provides a comprehensive framework for developing executive presence, honing strategic thinking, and mastering the art of influential leadership. Investing in your professional development will give you the knowledge, skills, and confidence needed to excel in your role and contribute significantly to your organisation’s success.