Skip to main content

Kacharagadla Featured Article

The Five Characteristics of Successful Innovators

There is not much agreement about what makes an idea innovative, and what makes an innovative idea valuable. For example, discussions on whether the internet is a better invention than the wheel are more likely to reveal personal preferences than logical argumentation. Likewise, experts disagree on the type and level of innovation that is most beneficial for organizations. Somestudiessuggest that radical innovation (which does sound sexy) confers sustainable competitive advantages, butothersshow that “mild” innovation – think iPhone 5 rather than the original iPhone – is generally more effective, not least because it reduces market uncertainty. There is also inconclusive evidence on whether we should pay attention to consumers’ views, with somestudiesshowing that a customer focus is detrimental for innovation because it equates to playing catch-up, butothersarguing for it. Even Henry Ford’s famous quote on the subject – “if I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said fast…

11 Steps to Help Develop Your Leadership Presence

Having this "X factor" can determine if you're able to command an audience. Start with these tips for developing leadership presence.

“The most dangerous leadership myth is that leaders are born—that there is a genetic factor to leadership. That’s nonsense; in fact, the opposite is true. Leaders are made rather than born.”—Warren Bennis
As this pioneer in the field of contemporary leadership studies sees it, there are skill sets you can learn to improve your leadership capabilities. And one of the qualities you should cultivate as part of your overall development is your leadership presence. 
Leadership presence, or executive presence (EP), is a term that may not be clearly defined. But having this "X factor" quality may determine if you're able to command your audience, whether it's in the boardroom, factory floor, speaking engagement or simply walking into a room. The ability to connect and engage with others in a manner that is authentic, while at the same time being positive and inspiring, can have great value. In turn, this can increase your value as a leader. In essence, leadership presence entails being well-rounded and comfortable in your own skin—no matter the setting. It's a quality that makes the people around you feel just as comfortable, putting them at ease, so they can be receptive to what you have to say.

Being genuine, courageous, trustworthy, tenacious and tough-minded, along with having an optimistic and positive outlook, can have a great impact on leadership presence.

While some people may be naturally outgoing, this doesn’t automatically make them a great leader. Rather, it's the combination of many different qualities, learned and inherent, that can make for a leader with an executive presence everyone sees.

One of the best definitions of leadership presence I've found is from Gavin Dagley, researcher, executive coach and psychologist: “A person with executive or leadership presence is someone who, by virtue of the effect he or she has on an audience, exerts influence beyond that conferred by formal authority.” As Dagley goes on to observe in his research, effective leadership can cause people to act. Effective leadership presence can cause people to listen.
So what are the qualities that make for great leadership presence?

Body Language

Albert Mehrabian, psychology professor at UCLA, claims we are perceived in three ways:
  • 55 percent visually (body language)
  • 38 percent vocally (tone of voice)
  • 7 percent verbally (spoken words)
Being physically comfortable can go a long way in radiating the right presence. If you are fidgeting and not in control of your body, it can detract from the message you're trying to deliver. Keeping your posture straight when sitting or standing without a hunched shoulder speaks volumes. And physical fitness can help give you control over your body. With resistance and aerobic training, you can help improve your posture and stamina as well as your confidence.


Along with body language, although superficial, appearance can greatly determine the way people perceive you. Human beings are visual. Right or wrong, we can tend to make our initial judgment based on what we see. Being well groomed and dressing the part can be very important. If that means hiring a stylist, it may be well worth the investment.


Your demeanor is based on how confident you are. Remaining calm and composed and exhibiting self-control can exude the confidence people are attracted to. The demeanor of leaders can be displayed in many ways, including charisma, dignity, big personality and sense of authority. These are all traits that may be improved with the right training.

Intellect and Expertise

If people in your field are impressed with your intellect and expertise, they may be more likely to gravitate toward the message you're delivering. It can also be just as important to know a little about a lot outside of your area of expertise. This can allow you to engage with more people. Having confident conversations about different subjects is a great quality. Some of the best ways to accomplish that is by reading, learning, taking up hobbies and staying on top of current events.


After the initial physical assessment, the words that come out of your mouth may be scrutinized to determine whether you're worth listening to. Having great intellect is all fine and good, but you should speak in a way that makes people want to listen. In the research performed by Dagely, the ability to construct messages in a clear, convincing and appealing manner and being articulate with compelling narrative can be essential. Additionally, the quality of voice used and the ability to make yourself heard can also make an impact. Consider taking voice lessons and engaging in presentation training to make your voice worth listening to.


This received the biggest response, according to Dagely's research. Being genuine, courageous, trustworthy, tenacious and tough-minded, along with having an optimistic and positive outlook, can have a great impact on leadership presence. These qualities can be acquired through lifelong experiences, but if developed early, they can be mastered.

Interpersonal Behavior Patterns

The ability to relate to people by being warm and authentic can help leaders build relationships. Whether it is with an employee or a client, if the right connection is not made, people may not want to work with, or make a deal, with a person they can’t relate to.

Interpersonal Skills

Words to describe these skills include eagerness to engage, charm, seductiveness, apparent sincerity, quiet wit and friendliness. Although similar to interpersonal behavior patterns, interpersonal skill is not used to build a relationship, but to engage with people in different settings. The central interpersonal skill, according to Dagely, was based around active listening.

Ability to Deliver Outcomes

Characteristics that assure outcomes include strong decision-making capabilities, the ability to be flexible and the energy to get others to deliver. These are qualities responsible for sustainable leadership presence.

Correct Use of Power

When power is used without integrity, or as a demand for compliance, it results in having a dark presence. Leaders must use their power wisely, with all the positive character traits essential for having leadership presence so that everyone can stand behind it.

Status and Reputation

This may be responsible for assessing a leader’s presence in the beginning, but it can be unsustainable. The initial presence someone was able to win, based on previous achievements, may only be as good as the actions they follow through with in their new position. There are many measurable qualities that define leadership presence, but it's not a cookie-cutter mold that everyone can jump into. Each new leadership position brings with it challenges. The merry-go-round that C-Suite executives jump in and out of is proof that being a CEO doesn’t automatically mean you can do the job.
By developing your leadership presence with positive qualities you can use in your personal and professional life, you can be ready when the time comes to take that leadership role with confidence.

CEO, Small Business Trends LLC
Source:- americanexpress