The Roman Empire knew there were some attributes of executive presence that needed special labels. Gravitas as a foundational component of executive presence is an example of a special label. It is the factor the lays the first stones in building a strong, successful executive presence. In turn, the leader is equipped to land top positions, demand respect in subtle ways and lead organizations and teams into success.
What is it?
Gravitas as a foundational component can be summed up in three words: dignity, duty and seriousness. These terms, while hard to define, are easily spotted and usually are described alongside words such as presence, poise, appearance and confidence. Let’s break them down a bit more clearly:
Dignity – this is the attribute that speaks, albeit silently, “Respect me.” This trait may be difficult to teach; however, it is easy to spot. Strangers know and can innately sense that the person who possesses gravitas as a foundational component are careful in how they approach and address this professional. Almost as if on auto pilot, the person who walks into this presence is respectful, humble and careful. This means the professional who embraces and exudes dignity as a component of executive presence is poised, confident and composed.
Duty – It is likely that at an early age, professionals who deliver gravitas as a foundational component understood their responsibility to handle their business. Avoiding the difficult tasks or passing the buck to others is not their style. Instead, they are attentive to their workload while also being strategic and careful. Responsibility is not something they avoid, but tackle head on with the intention of producing results that solve problems and move a team to the next level.
Seriousness – This doesn’t mean the professional doesn’t have a sense of humor. It does mean gravitas as a foundational component is woven together with psychological maturity and emotional intelligence. Humor is not used as an avoidance technique but as a closing tool to keep the professional relationship flowing through times of difficulty and ease.
How is it used?
Gravitas as a foundational component is used to lead others. The professional with gravitas is ambitious, driven and possesses integrity. They are willing to reach the top but that doesn’t mean they have to hurt others to get there. They are willing to bide their time and trust the passage of time to open the necessary doors they are called to walk through.
When gravitas as a foundational component is present, supervisors, managers and team leaders are equipped to handle stress well, display confidence, think well on their feet and project a serious, confident demeanor in their public presentation. No matter what stage in life professionals find themselves, they are allowed to continue grooming gravitas since the best, most effective leaders are rarely born. Instead, leaders with executive presence take the time to consistently examine their performance and find ways to improve. See how one of our executive presence workshops can help to groom your leading staff.