In business, leadership roles are often given to individuals who look and act like leaders; it is not necessarily based solely upon merit or intellectual mastery. People with executive presence exude confidence and dress and look the part. They demonstrate grace under fire and are able to take a stand.
According to research conducted by the non-profit, Center for Talent Innovation, founded by author Sylvia Ann Hewlett, executive presence rests on three pillars:
1. How you act or the gravitas that you project.
2. How you speak or communicate.
3. How you look, or your appearance.
According to the research there are differences for men and women: Some of these are addressed in an interview with Ms. Hewlett. See below.
Executive presence can be developed. Simply, one must work diligently to refine and maintain it.