The PRES Model of Leadership Presence

There are many books on executive presence that offer models for developing presence, albeit with some overlap.

Three of the best ones that I recommend are:

  1. Leadership Presence: Dramatic Techniques to Reach Out, Motivate and Inspire, by Kathy Lubar and Belle Linda Halpern (Penguin Group, 2004)
  2. The Power of Presence: Unlock Your Potential to Influence and Engage Others, by Kristi Hedges (Amacom, 2012)
  3. Executive Presence: The Missing Link Between Merit and Success, by Sylvia Ann Hewlett (HarperBusiness, 2014)

Lubar and Halpern developed the “PRES” model in Leadership Presence:

  • P = Presence: the ability to be completely in the moment and flexible enough to handle the unexpected
  • R = Reaching Out: the ability to build relationships with others through empathy, listening and authentic connection
  • E = Expressiveness: the ability to express feelings and emotions appropriately by using all available means (words, voice, body, face) to deliver one congruent message
  • S = Self-Knowing: the ability to accept yourself, be authentic and reflect your values in your decisions and actions

These elements build upon each other and contribute to establishing overall presence. There are interior and exterior aspects for each component. Presence starts with mindset and radiates outward towards others.

Also important is what the PRES model is not:

  • Being Present—not pretentious
  • Reaching Out—not looking down
  • Being Expressive—not impressive
  • Being Self-Knowing—not self-absorbed

Self-knowledge separates leadership presence from self-centered charisma. You must understand your values and ensure your actions conform to them (words and deeds). Only then can you inspire others to act similarly.

Few leaders talk openly about their core values and guiding purpose. Your executive presence depends on how you communicate your intentions and purpose, as well as how you spend your energy and enthusiasm.

Most of us need to step out of our comfort zones and be more expressive about our intentions, feelings, passions and values. Perhaps we fear appearing too vulnerable.

Finding the right balance of competency and humanity, reaching out to others, building trust and expressing empathy lead to stronger executive presence.

What do you think? I’d love to hear from you; contact me here and on LinkedIn.

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