Can you spot a fake?
When it comes to gravitas, I believe that anyone with a reasonable amount of experience can easily detect when someone is pretending. They may not be able to explain why, but they will certainly get the feeling that the individual they are considering is not all that they appear to be.
Gravitas and presence is a key topic within leadership development circles. Maybe you have been told you need to develop gravitas if you want to get promoted to the higher levels. Certainly, talent spotters and recruiters always have at the back of their mind, “Has this person got the gravitas required of this role?”
There is a merry band of people out there who would have you believe that all you need to do is build your personal brand deliberately. Providing you are not being ridiculous, with a little practice, you can stretch into your desired brand. Indeed, I could be accused of being a merry person too, I’ll admit.
However, I realise that there is a BIG risk with this approach ― particularly when it comes to gravitas.
The problem is that gravitas* comes from within ― when it is ready. It cannot be convincingly wrapped around a quivering wreck, or even someone with good levels of confidence. Experienced people can spot it a mile off. So, bolstering and bluffing up your personal brand is not the way to develop gravitas, genuine gravitas.
* 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.
Although it comes when it is ready, my belief is that gravitas can be ushered forth more quickly. But only by building the genuine, authentic confidence within, rather than buying a new suit. In actual fact, I would say that the harder you try to polish the wrapping, the more foolish you will appear. Bolstering and bluffing up your personal brand is not the way to develop gravitas.
And, the benefits of developing genuine gravitas? Well, that depends on you, but you can expect to gain…
- Higher levels of credibility with the people who matter to you and your career.
- Attention from those around you, waiting to hear what you have to say on a given subject.
- Improved access to senior people who begin to recognise you as one of them.
- Escalating levels of confidence and competence as you add more results to your track record.
- A far more enjoyable time at work!
Which leads me to two questions for you to think about:
- What do you need to do to become totally confident that you can comfortably meet everyone’s expectations of you in your role?
- How will you personally benefit when everyone believes you are perfect for your job?
Colin Gautrey is becoming the most sought-after expert in power and influence by ambitious and talented professionals who are serious about accelerating their careers and their results. But, Colin is certainly not for the faint-hearted.
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