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Executive Presence Is For Everyone…And Baby Mamma’s Too!

Written by: Brandi P. Sheffield, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


I already know what you are saying... what do baby mamma’s have to do with executive presence and leadership? EVERYTHING!

A few weeks ago, I was working with a client. While reflecting on a task I had given her to build and deepen her leadership communication, one of the six skills of executive presence, she was interrupted by a text message from her child’s father. Since I believe in building a deep relationship with all of my clients, we took a short detour from our reflection to address her emotional needs that were triggered by the text message.

As I listened to her venting, although emotionally driven, I recalled when she revealed that she delivered her communication to her child’s father in the same manner as her venting moment.

Then it hit me... my client had not drawn the line to the power of executive presence beyond the work space. Being in the constant roller coaster of highly impactful communication at work to extremely toxic communication in the personal, was impeding her ability to deeply internalize the purpose and skills of leadership communication.

In executive presence, leadership communication requires a leader to:

  1. Navigate Difficult Conversations

  2. Engage Others

  3. Tell Strategic Stories, and

  4. Inspire and Persuade.

It was an aha moment and a breakthrough for both of us. Asking her permission to use that moment to coach her through it, we dove into the deep end.

By pausing to identify what she wanted from the relationship with her child’s father, we could then focus on how to communicate with him so that she gets what she wants.

Being able to navigate the difficult conversations with inquiry allowed her to stay in a mode of curiosity and listening, instead of defending.

Using strategic stories to provide examples of cause and rationale, allowed her to express her concerns with impact, and allowed the receiver to “see” the fuller picture. Inspiration and persuasion sounds like acknowledgement with an “and”, removing the “but”.

Inspiration and persuasion also asks permission to provide suggestions with rationale, not “tell” people what to do.

We lifted up the experience from her child’s father, to the male colleagues in the office who didn’t play well in the sandbox. They presented the same challenges as did her child’s father.

When she was able to see the connections, her leadership communication became seamless.

Now she understood the purpose and power of leadership communication.

Not only did her communication and experiences with her child’s father improve, the male colleagues who had been giving her a hard time were now seeking her counsel.

That is the power of executive presence and what I call an OUTLIER LEADER!


An OUTLIER LEADER is someone who has developed their executive presence. Executive presence is not about a title. It is persons’ charisma, swagger, magnetism, and confidence.

Executive presence is how other people see you, NOT how you see yourself.

Executive presence is also a persons’ ability to change gears from situation to situation flawlessly. They know how to THINK about a situation and respond appropriately. Their presence is evident and is consistent if they are interacting with support staff, peers, senior leaders and anyone they are in relationship with.

Executive Presence has 6 components:

  1. 1. Leadership Character

  2. 2. Leadership Communication

  3. 3. Leadership Competence

  4. 4. Leadership Credibility

  5. 5. Leadership Command

  6. 6. Leadership Political Savvy

As a person develops their leadership, they must also develop their executive presence by learning the thinking skills that lead to how they present themselves.

The great news!

Anyone can learn it!

It is not something you are born with. The myth of “some people are just born with it” is a lie.

Every person who has it (executive presence), learned it or it was directly taught to them.

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Brandi P. Sheffield, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Brandi P. Sheffield, a leadership expert, has led teams of 100+ using and teaching executive presence & leadership messaging to influence with impact. As a Sr. Executive Director, Brandi has built a legacy of leaders by coaching executive colleagues and lower division leaders to transform their leadership. She is the CEO of Learning Associates and designer/founder of the Career Acceleration Incubator program called The Outlier Leader. Her mission: To increase the presence of women in leadership positions that empower voice, strategy and perspectives on the wage gap, balances patriarchal practices, eliminates gender bias, discrimination, and marginalization of women in leadership.



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