Reading List: Executive Presence

UPDATED: June 28, 2014
PUBLISHED: June 28, 2014

Executive presence (EP) goes beyond charisma, reports Sylvia Ann Hewlett, a respected economist and CEO of the Manhattan-based Center for Talent Innovation. After conducting a nationwide survey of nearly 4,000 college-educated professionals in a wide range of fields, center researchers concluded that EP is a blend of gravitas, communication and appearance.

While the specifics vary depending on context (what works on Wall Street doesn’t necessarily track in Silicon Valley), these three pillars of EP, although universal, are not equally important, Hewlett writes in Executive Presence. Gravitas is the “very essence of EP,” describing how a leader acts and the confidence and loyalty that he or she inspires. According to the 268 senior executives surveyed, the top aspects of gravitas—in descending order—are confidence and grace under fire, decisiveness and “showing teeth” (strength of conviction), integrity, emotional intelligence, reputation and standing, and vision.

Addressing everything from how social media and seemingly inconsequential choices impact EP (even the pictures on your desk matter) to how gender differences play out, Hewlett scrutinizes and unravels the EP code and counsels readers on ways to enhance their EP in this compelling book.

by Sylvia Ann Hewlett

Harper Business; $26.99

Jessica Krampe is the digital managing editor for A graduate of the Missouri School of Journalism, Jessica has worked for news, entertainment, business and lifestyle publications. Outside of the daily grind, she enjoys happy hours, live music and traveling.