Develop gravitas to build credibility
In our work with leaders and managers, there is one word that is presented more often than any other as an area for improvement: gravitas. Sometimes gravitas is associated with seniority, but in our view, that’s well wide of the mark. Instead, gravitas relates to having the impact you intend and being valued for your views. So how can you go about building it? Here’s our guide.
To build gravitas, you need to work on two things: (1) know and value the unique contribution you can make and (2) learn how to make that contribution clearly, positively and at the right time to create the greatest value for a meeting, or person, or group.
Establish how you are different
What are your skills and strengths? What comes naturally to you that doesn’t seem to be so easy for others? What are you known for? Ask others what they find valuable about what you bring to a situation. Also, get clear on what’s important to you – what do you value? What are you passionate about? To be credible, to show gravitas, you need to understand your positive differences, how you make an impact and what you’re valued for and then for you to start to genuinely value those differences that you bring.
“You need to understand your positive differences, how you make an impact and what you’re valued for and then for you to start to genuinely value those differences that you bring.”
Paul Brewerton — YC Co Founder
How do you present yourself to the outside world
How you can show that your knowledge and skills and strengths are useful and valuable to others? This involves getting to know yourself in a social context and how you can present yourself best to other people, whether it’s one to one or to a group. And learning how to manage your impact – to see you how others see you. You can do this by getting feedback from others on how useful your contributions were at a meeting and how you could improve your impact next time. To maximise this impact, you also need to get good at reading people, reading situations, reading a room, and working out how you can use your skills and strengths and knowledge to best effect in that context.
Once you’ve done the groundwork, developing gravitas ultimately is about taking a risk and offering your view because you believe it is of value. That will get you noticed for the right reasons and will start you towards being seen as someone with gravitas.