Upcoming Event 21st March: The Executive Presence Masterclass

Why Leadership Presence Is An Essential Leadership Skill

Woman Presenting to Business Group


You may have heard the terms leadership presence and executive presence being mentioned more and more these days, however, there are different interpretations of these terms and what they represent, so we’ve provided so clarity around defining leadership presence and explain why leadership presence is an essential leadership skill for today’s senior executives. 

Bill Clinton meeting people
Leaders like Bill Clinton possess a presence that commands attention.

What Is Leadership Presence

Leadership presence is the ability to connect authentically on both an intellectual and emotional level to motivate and inspire others toward a desired outcome. Also referred to as ‘executive presence’, leadership presence is the ability to project gravitas, confidence, poise and decisiveness.

Think of actors and leaders who immediately command your attention – Winston Churchill, Bill Clinton, Meryl Streep, Al Pacino. It’s not because they are famous; it’s because they possess presence.

Importance of Leadership Presence

Teams and organisations working under individuals with strong leadership presence have greater productivity because they trust and respect their leader. In turn, their leader inspires confidence in the team that they can accomplish their goals by modelling positive workplace behaviours and delivering results.

The Four Critical Skills of Leadership Presence

The elements of leadership presence can be explained by a model called the ‘PRES’ model, which has been conceived based on years of theatrical and performance experience, along with learnings from teaching presence to leaders.

The four key ‘PRES’ model skills are:

Being Present

The ability to be completely in the moment, undistracted by anything past or future, sharp as a razor, and flexible enough to handle the unexpected.

Reaching Out

The ability to build relationships with others through empathy, listening and authentic connection.


The ability to express feelings and emotions appropriately by using all available means – words/voice/face/body – to deliver one congruent message.


The ability to accept yourself, to be authentic, and to reflect your values in your decisions and actions.

The Power of Storytelling in Leadership Presence

A key element of leadership presence is to effectively use the power of storytelling to convey concise messages, build trust, inspire ideas and move people to action.

In the business world, storytelling is an essential communication tool. It can make complex data accessible, build relationships with products and people, motivate teams towards a strategy and fuel compelling narratives that shape organisational culture.

How Storytelling Can Make You A Better Leader

A business with a remarkable story can win over its audience and influence its brand perception. It is up to every person in your business to share their version of the business story – from your leaders and managers to your individual contributors.

We have been telling stories for as long as we’ve been human–they are an absolutely essential part of everyday communication. When done well, it can:

  • turn a brand into a business legacy
  • create a robust marketing strategy
  • drive sales
  • win the loyalty and affection of audiences

The Science Behind Telling Stories in Business

Neurological research on the way we process information through stories has proven what the most effective leaders and communicators have known since the Stone Age: that storytelling in a powerful and effective way to infuse ideas into the hearts and minds of others for lasting impact. Read more about how storytelling helps connect and engage your listeners.

How Leadership Presence Can Improve Relationships

Great leaders and client-facing professionals know how to create long-lasting relationships by connecting authentically with the hearts and minds of others in order to motivate and inspire them to achieve a desired outcome. Effective leadership presence can help forge deeper, richer connections with others to inspire trust and motivate people to follow their lead.

Using leadership presence to develop stronger workplace relationships can make the workplace more enjoyable, motivate staff, improve collaboration and deliver a host of other benefits.

How To Improve Your Leadership Presence

Ariel Group Australia has been working with leaders and professionals for over 25 years to help them build their leadership and personal presence. We know from our experience with hundreds of thousands of leaders and professionals that presence is something that can be developed. Our purpose is to help leaders and professionals amplify their presence and show up as their very best selves.

The Power of Storytelling Course – 16 June 2021

If you’d like to learn how to influence and inspire others through  the power of storytelling, sign up to Ariel’s Power Of Storytelling live virtual course on 16 June 2021.  Book Now.

Contact Ariel Group Australia today to find out more or to book a leadership presence skills course.

Further Reading

3 Leadership Skills for Managers to Become Leaders

Deconstructing Presence – 4 Critical Abilities for Everyday Leaders

3 Rules to be a More Authentic Leader

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