Saturday, May 20, 2023
Nothing is more frustrating than feeling like your voice is not heard or respected by the people who make the important decisions in your workplace. This can happen when you lack executive presence, which is the ability to communicate your value and expertise with clarity, confidence and impact. Executive presence is especially important for those who have strong technical skills, but struggle to connect with senior leaders and stakeholders.
While technical skills are undoubtedly important at the starting stages of career growth, they become less and less of primary importance as we move up the career ladder. At the more mature or advanced stages of career growth, it is crucial to focus on non-technical skills that are often referred to as "soft" skills. However, in reality, they are not soft at all; they are critical skills that can make or break a successful career in leadership.
Here are three non-technical skills to master to develop your executive presence and take your leadership skills to the next level:
Communication is the foundation of effective leadership. In today's complex and fast-paced business environment, leaders need to communicate clearly, persuasively, and strategically to achieve their goals. Effective communication skills can help leaders build trust, inspire action, and drive results.
Leaders should focus on several key components of effective communication skills:
Persuasion: Persuasion is the art of motivating and causing others to take action or adopt a particular point of view. As a leader, you must have the ability to persuade your team members, colleagues, and stakeholders to follow your vision and work towards common goals. To be persuasive, you must first understand your audience, tailor your message to their needs and interests, and deliver it in a compelling and engaging way.
Presentation: Presenting ideas or information in a clear, concise, and engaging way is another critical component of effective communication. Leaders must be able to deliver presentations that are memorable, impactful, and actionable. To improve your presentation skills, you can practice your delivery, use visuals and other supporting materials to enhance your message, and solicit feedback from others.
Positioning: Nonverbal communication is just as critical as verbal communication. Leaders must be aware of their body language, tone of voice, and other nonverbal cues to position themselves strategically in meetings and other settings. Being aware of your posture, gestures, and facial expressions can help you convey confidence, authority, and credibility.
Self-mastery skills refer to the ability to understand and manage oneself effectively, which is an essential quality of a successful leader. Self-mastery skills include self-awareness, conscientiousness, and emotional governance.
Awareness of Self: Self-awareness is the first step to developing self-mastery skills. Leaders need to understand how they show up, how they create a culture around them, and how others respond to, or feel, around them. Self-awareness also involves being aware of one's blind spots, which can be achieved through feedback from others or through introspection. Leaders who are self-aware are better equipped to manage their own behavior, regulate their emotions, and build stronger relationships with their team members.
Ability to Influence Yourself: Sometimes leaders need to do uncomfortable or uninspiring things. Leaders with strong self-mastery skills can influence themselves to take action even when they don't feel like it. This involves setting goals, creating a plan to achieve them, and staying committed to the plan even in the face of obstacles.
Attentive Emotional Governance: Emotional governance refers to the ability to assess and manage your own emotions in a constructive and productive way. Leaders who are emotionally self-aware are better able to regulate their own emotions and manage their stress levels. They are also more effective at building meaningful, equitable relationships with their team members.
Professionals who possess self-awareness, conscientiousness, and emotional governance are better equipped to manage their own behavior, regulate their emotions, and build stronger relationships with their team members. By focusing on developing self-mastery skills, professionals can become more effective, influential, and successful.
Decision-making skills are essential for leaders who want to steer their organization towards success. Leaders with strong decision-making skills can analyze situations, identify problems, and devise effective solutions. Effective decision-making skills require both critical thinking and contextualization.
Contextualization: Effective decision-making requires a deep understanding of the context in which the decision will be made. Leaders must consider the broader context of their organization's strategy, their team's processes, and their supervisor's priorities. By understanding the context in which a decision will be made, leaders can develop solutions that align with the organization's goals and objectives. In addition, leaders must be able to present their recommendations to their team and superiors in a clear and compelling way.
Critical Thinking: Critical thinking is the ability to analyze situations and solve real problems for an organization on a larger scale. Leaders must be able to gather information, identify potential solutions, and evaluate the outcomes of each option. This involves using logic and reasoning to identify the most appropriate course of action. Critical thinking also involves anticipating potential problems and developing contingency plans.
In today's fast-paced and ever-changing business environment, technical skills alone are no longer sufficient for leaders to succeed. It is essential for leaders to develop non-technical skills, also known as "soft skills," to effectively communicate, manage themselves, and make critical decisions.
Developing these non-technical skills requires effort and practice, but it is a worthwhile investment that can pay off in the long run. Leaders who have strong non-technical skills can inspire and motivate their teams, gain the trust of their superiors, and make a positive impact on their organization's success.
If you want to excel in a leadership role, you would benefit from prioritizing the development of your non-technical skills alongside your technical skills. By honing your communication, self-mastery, and decision-making skills, you can build your executive presence, gain recognition for your value, and move up the leadership ladder.
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