According to a study by the Center for Talent Innovation, 268 senior executives said that executive presence accounted for approximately a quarter of what it takes to get promoted, with gravitas being cited by 67% as the core characteristic of executive presence.

Executive presence and gravitas is clearly considered a major component of leadership success and if you’re serious about improving your promotion prospects you should really consider improving your executive presence and gravitas.

How would you rate your executive presence and gravitas? Think about what evidence supports your thinking?

Now, imagine what you could achieve if you had just 10% more executive presence and gravitas.

What is Executive Presence and Gravitas?

Understanding what executive presence and gravitas is, and how it can help you in your role, is the first step to developing these critical leadership attributes.

There are three major factors that contribute to your executive presence and gravitas:

Authority, Impact and Presence

  1. Your Authority is about how you bring your experience, knowledge and qualifications to the fore. It’s also about who you know and how you relate.
  2. Your Impact is more concerned with the way in which you intervene to enable outcomes and how effectively you can reframe situations to change the emotional climate.
  3. Your Presence is the degree of attention you give to situations and the people around you. It includes how quickly and purposefully you can build rapport and relate to a wide range of people.

Executive presence and gravitas happens when each of these factors overlap and trust is established.

A Quick Exercise in Executive Presence

To help you visualise what this looks like in practice, try this quick exercise:

  1. Conjure up a role model that you believe has executive presence and gravitas; this can be someone from your real life or someone in the public eye who you believe has these qualities.
  2. What do you see and hear them doing?
  3. How do they make you feel?
  4. What words do they make you think of?

The person you chose probably has several common outward characteristics like assertive body language, paced speech and relaxed breathing; they are probably instantly engaging and challenging yet non adversarial.

Does that sound about right?

This is what you see and hear them doing but what you see on the surface is never the full story.

Good presentation skills mixed with a dose of charm isn’t enough to win your trust, is it?

We rest our case!

So, it’s also important when thinking about executive presence and gravitas to consider what’s happening on a deeper level?

When you were choosing your role model…

  • Were you also subconsciously searching for people who you considered to be authentic and had opinions you wanted to hear?
  • Were you looking for someone with purpose and who believed in themselves and in others?
  • Were you seeking evidence that your role model would take time to build relationships and be proactive and outcomes focused?

What you can do to improve YOUR executive presence and gravitas?

Well, as a leader wanting to improve your executive presence and gravitas the same rules apply to YOU.

It’s rarely enough to excel in only one of the three areas of authority, impact and presence.

For example, you may be fantastic at bringing your experience, knowledge and qualifications to the fore but if you don’t pay attention to your people and the different situations you find yourself in, you’re unlikely to win the hearts and minds of those around you.

Nor can you rely only on your rapport building skills if you’re unable to alter the emotional climate in order to change momentum.

But when you get all of these factors working in tandem, your executive presence and gravitas will improve and you’ll be able to build far greater levels of trust with your colleagues and clients, which will in turn enhance your leadership performance and prospects.

Notion’s development programmes are an excellent way to develop your executive presence and gravitas as a leader.

We’ve designed a fantastic new programme as a great introduction for leaders to help you develop your executive presence and gravitas which also blends wonderfully with Operational Coaching™ development programmes that offer longer term solutions that can grow with you as you grow as a leader.

The programmes are designed to help you address any limiting beliefs that hold you back from being an excellent leader and help you to understand how to build fast rapport and have a positive first impact.

They give you the tools to handle difficult conversations and engage with others at a higher level and also help you to develop a flexible communication and management style for every situation using our unique Operational Coaching™ approach.

So think about it: How do you show up?

What are you doing and well and where is there room for improvement?

And then ask: What one action could you take that you know would make a big difference to your executive presence and gravitas?

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