The director of my department is amazing. He asks inspiring questions to enhance my work and ensure I have a robust story before advancing the progress, he occasionally walks around the building to engage with the various team members, he supports multiple recognition and youth educational outreach events, and he has a solid understanding of the multitude of projects in the department. My director does all this and still has an easy going positive attitude and great charisma. He is not the only one in my chain of leadership with such admirable qualities. Many of these leaders excel in executive presence.
I first learned about this term last fall and found it embodies the magically captivating quality in successful leaders. They inspire and accomplish many goals with exceptional confidence. Business insider (http://www.businessinsider.com/the-7-traits-of-executive-presence-2013-9) condenses the traits of executive presence into 7 C’s of the C-Suite:
These traits are all learnable and can be practiced at all levels to help advance your career. It’s kind of like the old saying, “dress for the job you want” instead it is “present yourself like you have the job you want.”
Opportunities for this kind of success lie with presentation skills. When presenting to any level, deliver the messages with these 7 C’s. Preparation and asking for feedback will give you an advantage. Forbes also encourages feedback to find your executive voice (https://www.forbes.com/sites/jennagoudreau/2012/10/29/do-you-have-executive-presence/#36dc6d126358)
Improving your executive presence is like developing any personal improvement strategy that I recommend:
- Pick someone whose executive presence you admire
- Analyze what you admire about that person
- What skills can you practice?
I was starting some research on executive presence to gain ideas on how I can increase my influence and inspire respect. I found a beautiful definition of influence:
Influence is the art and science of aligning your objectives with another’s
Diving into where this quote came from, different forms of motivation including influence are persuasion, manipulation, and coercion. As the types of motivation ranged from positive to negative the overall goal was to align a person’s objectives with yours. I started to reflect on the many different leaders I have worked for including those that helped to develop my career and others that seemed to strive for pure dictatorship control and empire building. Stepping back from how to be a great leader and influence others I started to think about why be a leader.
Like myself my daughter wants to be a leader. She jumps at opportunities to help organize other people, which comes in handy when I need assistance with getting a dozen young cub scouts in line. She wants to be president someday. Regardless of whether or not she leads our country one day, I want her to be a great leader. But why should she lead, why should I lead?
One reason I want to lead is because it feels great to me and I know I am great at it. My style of preference is to empower others to find the best way to help our team meet the vision. In my past leadership roles I have inspired my team to use their own unique ideas on how to accomplish projects that will meet our goals. I have received great feedback that team members have been more engaged due to my leadership. I have finally reached one of my goals of working for a company that has a goal I can proudly stand behind, to create happiness. I want to inspire action to help create amazing experiences. I want to improve the offerings of my organization to increase the opportunities for the magical moments that can dearly reside in a guests heart forever. Why should you lead?
Oh, how I love my job! It’s not without its quirks, but I look forward to going to work every day. I have had the most amazing experiences so far. Some of my favorite moments has included catching moments of magic being created, such as testing of the lights on Cinderella’s castle, walking through snowfall in the middle of the night at Hollywood Studios, and witnessing the Magic Kingdom switch over from fall to the winter holidays overnight! The one thing that really stands out and makes the biggest impact to me is the passion of the cast members and the commitment to excellence. It’s the Disney level of service that creates a level of awe, even internally, many refer to as Pixie Dust. There are high expectations for this company. The CEO Bob Iger has the vision for Disney to be the Most Admired Company in the World.
Through the many efforts across the company we focus on our four key areas: Safety, Courtesy, Show, and Efficiency. I am honored that I get to be an integral part of safety. While I am still learning about standard safety practices, I am applying my project management skills to support the training of Engineering Services Cast Members with safely executing ride motion protection. It’s driven by a worldwide need to give cast members and employees the comfort that when they come to work at a risky job, they can expect to go home in the same state that they came into work – with all fingers, all toes, and just in general in one healthy solid piece. Disney has many people working to ensure our cast are taken care of.
My team has recently been looking for ways to make training more engaging to take it to the next level by encouraging critical thinking from cast members using gaming methods. We want to add value to the training. Recently, the onboarding experience has been significantly improved through gaming strategies that encourage team work and challenges based on information learned during the onboarding process. It’s the ways that the Disney goes above and beyond even internally to make the cast feel like they are valued that helps make a huge impact. Through efforts like these, the pixie dust spreads.
According to Fortune, The Walt Disney Company is the most admired company in the entertainment industry for 2016, ranking 5th overall. Sallie Krawcheck, Chair of Ellevate Network and Former President of Bank of America’s Global Wealth & Investment Management understands the value of integrity, independent thinking, and admiration. During the huge financial downturn, Sallie was identified as the Last Honest Analyst on Wall Street. Through her struggles, she persevered while balancing work and raising children. During the Global Leadership Summit of August 2015, Sallie stated that her children were a source of confirmation for her. She knew that if she worked every day as if your children are watching you, she would make the most admirable decisions.
Working at Disney, I recently brought my children to see Blizzard Beach. Their response was phenomenal and filled me with pride. My daughter couldn’t wait to get back to school and let her teacher know that her mom worked at one of the coolest places in the world! My kids have asked to go back nearly every day since their visit. I am so grateful for places like Disney that inspire so much happiness and awe in people. While Disney has the fun job of entertaining people, being admirable can be challenging. I strive to be a great role model, to seek out my dream career and inspire my family.