Executive presence

When I was a teenager, two candidates ran for Mayor of The City of New York. One was a very competent man who was the Comptroller for several terms and was 5’2” tall. The other was a congressman from Manhattan who was 6”4” tall.

When the congressman would go on a walking tour, crowds would gather around him, people would point and admire the fact that he was walking among the people. When the Comptroller did the same thing, people would look over and ask, “what’s the crowd doing over there?”

Presence can be created by objective measures (i.e. trust, competence) or through purely subjective ones like height, age, race, gender and looks. You may be trustworthy and competent but if you dress poorly you may diminish yourself in the eyes of the people you need to lead.


We may not be able to change your height, age, race, gender or looks. We sure as hell can take away the excuse of “dressing like a slob,” or “looking old-fashioned” as a way of dismissing you.


Years ago, I spoke to a man who had great qualifications, no college degree and was not being hired for opportunities he should have gotten. He kept being told that the lack of a college degree was why he was not getting the job. I’m sure it was a lie but it became a convenient excuse for rejecting him.

When he asked me what he should do, I told them to find the easiest degree program imaginable, get his degree and take away that excuse.

Do the same thing and confront the bigots. Never make it easy for them and dismiss your potential or leadership because you don’t dress well, because your hairstyle is dated, etc..

This requires effort on your part.

So what.

You’re not a baby anymore or child who needs to be coddled. You want to be respected and that requires effort.

Doing the same things over and over again and expecting a different result is defined as insanity.

Take away their easy excuses.


Ⓒ The Big Game Hunter, Inc., Asheville, NC 2019



Career Angles
Career Angles

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a career and leadership coach who worked as a recruiter for more than 40 years. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 1500 episodes and his newest show, “No BS Coaching Advice” and is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council.

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