15 Proven Qualities That Will Accelerate Your Career

March 8, 2016

Executive Presence is so hard to define that most people simply say, “I know it when I see it.”

So, what is it anyway?

  • Presentation Skills?
  • Image? Style?
  • Charisma? Savvy?

The answer is, all of the above and a whole lot more. To get to the heart of what it is and why it matters, we spent years researching and developing a simple, powerful definition:

Executive Presence is the ability to engage, align, inspire, and move people to act!

It’s not only about how you show up, looking and acting the part, but the qualities that really matter, because they enable you to influence others, make an impact, and drive organizational performance.

15 Qualities Every Leader Can Develop

Decades of research in leadership and management studies, communication and social action, psychology, philosophy, and ethics led to the only research-based executive presence model.


Bates EP Model

Ask yourself: “Which five of the qualities below would others consider to be my greatest strengths?”

  • Authenticity: Am I real, genuine, transparent, and sincere in my interactions with others; would  they agree that I say what I mean, and mean what I say?
  • Integrity: Do I always act based on core values and beliefs, live up to high standards of morality, keep my promises, keep meetings, arrive on time so people can count on me?
  • Concern: Do I show genuine, consistent interest in others, encouraging them to develop, and promoting a healthy sustainable culture?
  • Restraint: Do I maintain a calm disposition and avoid being impulsive, overly emotional, or extreme?
  • Humility: Am I aware of my strengths and weaknesses, open to others, and do I make room for everybody’s good ideas?
  • Practical Wisdom: Am I known for bringing insight and judgment that get to the heart of issues and help produce prudent decisions?
  • Confidence: Do I demonstrate self-assurance in timely decision making, Am I ready to accept risk, do I get groups to move things forward?
  • Composure: Would others say I’m steady in a crisis, calm and able to focus others to bring perspective to critical decisions?
  • Resonance: Do I really connect with others? Am I thought of as someone who is attentive, attuned, and responsive to feelings and motivations?
  • Vision: Do people see me as on top of trends, looking out to the future, and inspiring them with an enterprise-wide picture of what could be?
  • Appearance: Would others say I look the part of a leader? Is my dress, polish, grooming, energy, and vitality that of an executive?
  • Intentionality: Do I clarify direction? Would others say I keep the group on track without sacrificing room for dialogue to get people aligned?
  • Inclusiveness: Do I actively involve others, welcome diverse points of view, and empower others?
  • Interactivity: Do I promote an interpersonal, relaxed dialogue and the exchange of timely information to coordinate action?
  • Assertiveness: Would others say I speak up and put issues on the table without shutting others down?

What about the boxes I didn’t check?

The only way to know which of these are strengths, and which ones may be gaps for you, is to get feedback from trusted advisors. The ExPI Assessment is a 360-style assessment that does this.

However, before you take that step, you can complete a three-minute, complimentary pre-assessment survey and receive a brief personal guide to areas that could be important to you.

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Taking the initiative to build your strengths will accelerate your career growth. Make your presence known by preparing for your leadership potential with AMA's resources and seminars.

About The Author

Suzanne Bates is founder and CEO of Bates Communications, a firm that works with executives in global organizations to drive organizational performance. Their mission is to help leaders shape the world. She’s a sought-after speaker, CEO Coach, and expert in the field of communicative leadership. She’s author of several books, including Speak Like a CEO, Motivate Like a CEO, and Discover Your CEO Brand, and co-author of the new book All the Leader You Can Be: The Science of Achieving Extraordinary Executive Presence (McGraw Hill, March 2016).

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