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Wise ways to establish executive presence

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in Leaders & Managers,Leadership Skills

The classic film “Casablanca” opens with an employee giving a slip of paper to an unseen person. We see the recipient writing “Rick-OK” to approve a payment of 1,000 francs in a casino.

Only then does the camera pan up to reveal Rick Blaine, the take-charge boss played by Humphrey Bogart.

This scene silently conveys a key to Bogart’s character: He’s comfortable making high-stakes decisions.

Regardless of your job title, you can establish executive presence by radiating self-assuredness. Some tips to wield authority with confidence:

Earn trust. For others to view you with integrity, your actions must be beyond reproach. Consistently follow an inner code of honor and refuse to compromise your ethics.

Consider the rule of three: If you lie or sow seeds of distrust one time, it’s an aberration. A second breach is a trend—and a third makes it a law. After multiple instances of wrongdoing, observers will stamp you as untrustworthy—now and forever.

Stay calm under pressure. Leaders with a strong presence stay steady despite stress. They maintain a high degree of self-awareness and think clearly about the repercussions of their actions.

Allowing emotions to overtake your better judgment can make you seem weak or impulsive. By remaining calm and composed, you increase the likelihood that others will follow suit.

— Adapted from “Executive Presence: What It Is and 4 Steps to Develop It,” Stephen Long, www.trainingindustry.com.

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