Whenever someone wants to dismiss a possible candidate or successor to a position, in recent times, I have heard them use the word gravitas, or rather the lack of gravitas.

This led me to think about what is gravitas and whether it can be developed. And do I have gravitas and what are the things I do that erode away the gravitas?

Gravitas is a feeling and a perception someone has about you that cannot be measured.

The most appropriate definition I found was the following: “* “Gravitas: My notion of gravitas (and I know there are different views) is that it is the external evidence of a deeply held conviction that the individual is totally competent to do what is expected of them and handle anything that comes their way, without feeling the need to prove themselves.”

This is a double-edged sword. You need to have an air of being able to do stuff without proving that you do. It boils down to how you carry yourself during all circumstances. The phrase ‘carry yourself’ includes confidence and influence. Your words, attire, and body language – are critical. Your style of leadership and sense of urgency or drive also play a part.

Would it be useful to get people to evaluate you on those parameters? Maybe. Primarily it is how you perceive others perceive you and craft tweaks into your behaviour.

A coach can help but you need to be fully self-aware to make a difference. Due to my interest in this topic, I discovered somewhat an excellent resource in Colin Gautrey’s The definition above is also his.