Beyond "You Know It When You See It"

Submitted By:
Heather Robinson, Ed.M. candidate, The Klingenstein Center, Teachers College, Columbia University, NY

Executive Presence: The Missing Link Between Merit and Success by Sylvia Ann Hewlett
HarperBusiness, June 3, 2014

We have all met people who immediately grab our respect, not just our attention. These people exude confidence, speak with eloquence and draw others in without being arrogant or overly-charismatic. We know it when we see or feel it, but the exact trait that draws us in can be difficult to pinpoint. In her new book, Sylvia Ann Hewlett dives into three universal dimensions of what she calls executive presence: appearance, communication and gravitas. Although the book is written for the corporate world, the definition and deconstruction of these dimensions are applicable to those who work in education - specifically to educational leaders. In schools, teachers must have a presence that allows them to seem poised but also relatable to students. While many administrators are teachers by trade, they are challenged to walk the line between "relatable" presence that comes so naturally in the classroom and "authoritative" presence that is a necessary and sometimes overlooked component of establishing credibility. The book clearly articulates and defines tangible ways in which an educational leader can establish effective leadership presence.

Leadership Practice