Executive Presence: Why Don’t We Express Core Values More Frequently?

Core-ValuesThere are several reasons why I believe there’s so much emphasis on improving one’s executive presence. Partially, it has something to do with companies decentralizing. So many middle managers have been eliminated, in favor of work teams that are quasi-self-governing. Everyone is being trained to step-up and motivate others. Everyone is encouraged to be a leader.

Another reason may be due to generational shifts in attitudes about leadership.  Whatever the cause, the effect is certain. Author Kristi Hedges writes in The Power of Presence: Unlock Your Potential to Influence and Engage Others:

People are being asked to strengthen the way they communicate and connect with others to increase their influence in looser and more disparate corporate structures.

Presence is not just about communication skills or how you make a presentation, however. Executive presence is how you show up and move through the day. How do others’ perceive you? Not just from the podium or in front of a meeting room. But day-to-day, on and off the job.

In my previous post, The Intentional Leader, I mentioned that executive presence starts in the mind and with your most worthy intentions and core values. And yet, I find in the work I do coaching people, few people talk about clearly defined core values and a guiding purpose. They have them, but they don’t always have them fully articulated and clearly focused in mind and deed.

I’ve written a lot about Clarity, Intention, Attention, Focus in my two books, Selling for Geniuses and Do Eagles Just Wing It?

These four core qualities are never more important today for executive presence. You can’t build up your presence without making clear your intentions, your purpose, and where you will spend your energy and enthusiasm. Why do I think not enough people do this? Again, it’s not because we don’t have clear core values. Most of us do.

We don’t express them enough. And, I’m no psychologist, but my guess would be we don’t step up and express our most deeply felt values because of our limiting assumptions and negative self-talk that holds us back. We all experience creeping negativity and self-doubts. We are masters of “not-good-enough” thinking. And anyone who isn’t self-limiting to some extent probably comes across as a narcissist.

Okay, I’m exaggerating to make a point. My point is most of us could step out of our comfort zones a little more and show up as more expressive about our feelings, passions and core values. But we don’t. Think about it. Are we uncomfortable letting people know what we value? Afraid of sounding weak? Perhaps. I don’t know.

What do you think about expressing feelings, core values and such as part of expanding your leadership presence? I’d love to hear your thoughts. You can contact me here and on LinkedIn.

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