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15 Proven Behaviors that Elevate Leaders

All leaders have weaknesses and blindspots that limit their opportunities.

The higher you go in an organization the more people watch and evaluate your smallest behaviors. Sadly, the way you’re perceived isn’t always what you intend.

“You’re not aware of the strengths and weaknesses you over-use to get things done.” Suzanne Bates, author of All the Leader You can Be

You don’t see yourself the way others see you. Thankfully, small shifts in behavior – developing executive presence – often yield disproportionate results.

“Executive presence is the ability to engage, align, inspire, and move people to act.” Suzanne Bates

3 pillars of executive presence:

  1. Character: your inner core; the personal traits and values that define you.
  2. Substance: your technical knowledge, business acumen, problem-solving skills, people skills; all that your professional and academic experience has taught you.
  3. Style: what people see and experience about you in casual observation.

15 behaviors of executive presence:


  1. Authenticity – being real, genuine, transparent, and sincere.
  2. Integrity – acting with fidelity to one’s values.
  3. Concern – demonstrating interest in others.
  4. Restraint – displaying a calm disposition.
  5. Humility – showing awareness of one’s strengths and weaknesses.


  1. Practical wisdom.
  2. Confidence – being self-assured in decision-making.
  3. Composure – proving to be steady in crisis.
  4. Resonance – connecting with others.
  5. Vision – generating an inspiring picture of what could be.


  1. Appearance – projecting energy and handling social situations with tact.
  2. Intentionallity – clarify focus … without stifling dissent.
  3. Inclusiveness – actively involving others.
  4. Interactivity – promoting an interpersonal style.
  5. Assertiveness – speaking up and raising issues without shutting others down.

I asked Suzanne why should leaders care about executive presence? Why not just go out and do your work? She said, “Because that doesn’t work.” Executive presence – the way you’re perceived by others – either enhances or mutes opportunities and effectiveness.

What prevents leaders for developing executive presence?

How might leaders, who aspire to lead on larger platforms, develop executive presence?

*** Purchase All the Leader You can Be. It’s a rich perspective on what I thought was a shallow topic.

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