Executive Presence is foundational in our very mission and in what we teach in our training programs. Since The Center for Talent Innovation published a study on Executive Presence late last year, we’ve had even more evidence to support the claim that demonstrating Executive Presence is essential for professional success.
The Center for Talent Innovation defined Executive Presence as composed of three pillars: Gravitas, Communication and Appearance. The meanings of Appearance and Communication are somewhat self-evident, but Gravitas is a more abstract concept. Here we explore what it means and how you can achieve it – giving due attention to what The Center for Talent Innovation calls “the undeniable heart of executive presence” (9).
What is it?
Gravitas is not one trait alone, but a characteristic composed of many elements. It is demonstrated in how you carry yourself, act, and show substance and character in all kinds of situations. In effect, it is an indispensable set of traits for a good leader.
There are six key elements, as outlined in the study:
– Integrity and truthfulness
– Ability to show emotional intelligence
– Reputation and standing
How can I achieve Gravitas and demonstrate it in my work?
There are moments in every workday that could inspire qualities of Gravitas. For example, how often do you encounter pressure from a heated discussion or an important decision in your leadership role? The ability to keep a cool head and maintain “grace under fire” is part of showing confidence, which is a core component of Gravitas.
That said, Gravitas cannot be achieved overnight or simply by demonstrating one of its elements. It is something you must work toward, building Gravitas piece by piece every day. If you demonstrate confidence in one instance, it does not necessarily mean you automatically have Gravitas – instead, maintaining a cool head at all times and showing confidence repeatedly in various situations is a more apt demonstration of Gravitas.
All of the elements of Gravitas require time and effort to build. Again, you cannot establish a good reputation overnight, nor is a solid vision created a whim. But Executive Presence is not an impossible goal: if you work to consciously and consistently demonstrate these qualities, your Executive Presence will show –and others will notice.
Click here to read our newsletter on the Executive Presence study and Executive Presence and Power Posing.