What’s Sabotaging Your Executive Presence?

Do you want to advance in your career?  If your goal is to rise up through the ranks quickly, you’ve got to have executive presence.  The impressions you leave can directly impact your ability to move up in the organization, to be trusted with greater and more important responsibilities, and to be an influencer. You don’t have to be an executive to be concerned about your executive presence.  Your executive presence, or lack thereof, can affect you from the start to the end of your career.

Executive presence is a combination of demonstrable outcomes and soft skills that come together to comprise your complete package.  Executive presence is the leadership or executive level capacity others see in you.  It is your package of business savvy, relationship savvy, and professional style.  

When someone tells you, “you need to work on your executive presence,” what does that mean? And, where do you start?  Because executive presence is more than a single dimension, you likely already possess some of the qualities. The first thing you should do is get a better understanding of where you are on the four dimensions of executive presence (business intelligence, business impact, relationships, and reputation), identifying what you’re missing and, therefore, where you need to give more attention. 


Are You Making These Common Mistakes?

In my observations, work, and discussions with professionals at various stages of their careers, I’ve come across 15 of the most common mistakes professionals make across the four dimensions of executive presence. Like many other professionals, you often don’t even realize the impact these mistakes have on the perceptions of your executive presence or your career. 

Review the list below.  Which of these mistakes may be impacting your career?

  • You Lack Business Intelligence 
  1. You don’t keep up to date with your knowledge of the business and industry as much as you should. You sometimes appear to be off the mark in decision making and setting priorities.
  2. You haven’t been invited to the meetings where leaders discuss the quarterly financials. So, you don’t proactively inquire to understand the drivers of revenue, profitability, and operations.
  3. You can’t remember the company’s mission, vision, or strategic priorities.
  • Your Business Impact Is Insignificant
  1. You’re not sure how your work impacts your team or organization’s success.
  2. You take projects as they come, not considering their importance to your team’s or the company’s business priorities.  
  3. You have a hard time demonstrating your impact on key business initiatives and priorities.
  4. You’re not inspired by the work you do and/or your work environment, which makes it tough to give your best.
  • You’re Missing Important Relationships
  1. You’re more of an introvert, which makes you uncomfortable reaching out to form constructive working relationships. 
  2. You haven’t proactively built a network of allies whom you can engage to get things done. 
  3. You’re afraid to speak up with your ideas and opinions, limiting your influence among others in the organization.
  • You’re Not Managing Your Reputation
  1. You’re modest and don’t want to seem boastful. So, others aren’t aware of your personal contributions to the growth of the business and on the success of key business initiatives and priorities.
  2. Your approach in interacting with others sometimes comes across negatively or differently than you intend. So, you’re not necessarily seen as a team player.
  3. You don’t come across as confident and knowledgeable when presenting or speaking.
  4. You dress more ‘casual’ than ‘business’.
  5. You inconsistently demonstrate the leadership values and characteristics respected by your organization.  Leaders don’t connect you with future leadership potential (runway). 

To troubleshoot your executive presence and find out where you might need to improve, click here to download my guide to know where you are going wrong and increasing your executive presence. 


She’s a woman on a mission, prepped and ready to help you create resilient leaders and a workplace that is poised to succeed. Having weathered her fair share of corporate and career crises of all sizes, Vivian Blade MBA, MBB, PMP, is a global leadership expert and thought leader who equips leaders with the resilience that inspires teams to recover quickly in the face of ongoing disruption and thrive in spite of insurmountable odds.

Vivian empowers leaders and organizations as a frequent keynote speaker for association conferences and in delivering transformative leadership development programs, executive coaching and consulting for corporations.

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