How to Build Gravitas

When people describe a colleague as having “gravitas,” it typically means that they are taken seriously, their contributions are considered important, and they are trusted and respected. Many people assume that gravitas is a quality you either have or you don’t, but you can actually develop it in a way that feels authentic to you. First, you have to be able to articulate your goals and values. Ask yourself, “If someone were to describe me, what would I want them to say?” You also need to be receptive to feedback, so actively seek it out. Ask those who work with you, “What could I do differently to make my leadership and our working relationship more effective?” Their answers will let you know whether you’re having the impact you want — and help strengthen your relationships. Another way to develop gravitas is to build rapport and trust by demonstrating curiosity about your colleagues’ lives outside of work or sharing something about your own. Finally, don’t believe the myth that confidence is the same thing as gravitas — it isn’t. Even high-powered leaders feel nervous or anxious at times. So focus on building courage instead of confidence. This internal shift may seem subtle, but people will sense — and respect — it.

This tip is adapted from “Gravitas Is a Quality You Can Develop,” by Rebecca Newton

Categories: Management and Career Tips

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