Sunday, September 12, 2021


Whenever I have interacted with leaders who are leading an enterprise, function, or any impactfull social initiatives, one of the common things I observed is their confidence, courage and composure. They have a personality which influences the followers and team members not because of their disposition but because of their ability to create the invisible aura around them.

Gravitas is an important imperative of leadership and executive presence. Most of the leaders failed because of the absence of gravitas. In simple English it is a noun, meaning dignity, seriousness, or solemnity of manner, but it is about ‘how you act’.  It has become a skill which is rarely discussed. If you learn it, gravitas will enable you to command respect and your chances of promotion to leadership roles are higher. In a new way of working the gravitas seems to be formal and may be considered as old age skill, however it is not about the formality of being serious, dignified etc but it is about the authenticity, confidence, influence, and authority by informal ways.   

Simply, gravitas means communication with confidence, influence, and authority. It is one of the elements of executive presence which leaders have to demonstrate. The fact is that people having gravitas are taken seriously, their contributions are considered important, and they are trusted and respected.

People with gravitas lead better, present better, communicate better and network better. In a competitive environment, leaders who have gravitas build stronger relationships, win more business, get promoted more quickly and get better results.

Few aspects of gravitas are as under:

  • Confidence, pose and grace when you are under fire.  

  • Decisiveness and demonstrating assertive behaviour. Showing you are capable of fighting and defending yourself.

  • Integrity and courage to speak the truth,

  • Emotional Intelligence,

  • Reputation and your expertise 

  • Vision and ability to align the team to the larger purpose.    

Can you develop it? And how?

You can earn it.

  • As per the saying, “Knowledge is the king”. Learning to convert that knowledge in wisdom is the key step in developing your authenticity. People should feel comfortable to speak with you, come to you when they need suggestions, guidance or directions as a leader. In the modern organizations where authority works seldomly, you need to earn that respect by your knowledge and connections with the team.  

  • Decide how you want to be known in professional circles, society, community etc. if somebody asks about you, how will they describe you? 

  • Self -awareness is always critical in developing gravitas. Understand your strengths and blind spots and take feedback and be positive about it. 

  • Work on the impact and influencing skills.

  • Practice the elevator pitch.

  • Identify that ‘Uniqueness’ which suits you which can be your signature style.

  • Build rapport and trust by demonstrating curiosity about your colleagues’ lives outside of work or sharing something about your own. -Focus on building courage along with confidence.

  • Give respect and take respect.

  • Work on your overall presence.

Developing gravitas is difficult and it needs continuous efforts but you can get there if you have the right mindset and attitude.

(Opinions are purely personal & does not represent my organizations, current or past) 

Author's book are available on AmazonFlipkartPothi and BookGanga. Income from books is used for social cause. 


OHR said...

True I fully agree. Important but neglected aspect of leading. Thanks 4 sharing.

Unknown said...

Very, very useful and most important, if poised for growth, if one understands how this aspect impacts every individual, you surely stand to grow and reach higher levels in career. Thanks for sharing.

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