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  • Linda R. Taliaferro

Gravitas: the Key to Promotion That Nobody Talks about

Today, I want to continue the series I’ve been working on to help professionals who feel “stuck” or “blocked” in their career. Maybe you feel like you’re treading water or that you’re backed into a corner with no room to move, but whatever your situation is, feeling held back is a draining and uncomfortable professional feeling.


In previous blogs, we talked about gathering supporters, putting in the extra effort, and cultivating that “it factor,” but the last thing I want to bring up for anyone looking to get unstuck is the importance of gravitas.

Gravitas is a fancy word for a simple concept: presence. A person with gravitas is someone who can enter a stressful situation, make a decision, and lead in a way that reduces chaos. That person is the one people look to for guidance, even if that leader isn't at the top of the corporate ladder!

I would say that 66% of having that business "it factor" boils down to gravitas, which is why I'm devoting a whole blog post to just this topic.


If you want to cultivate gravitas in your work, take a look at things like your body and vocal posture. When you're stressed, do you cross your arms? Change your tone? Take a look at how exactly you're communicating. People with gravitas react to stress with clear, decisive leadership and good communication, which is why I'm distinguishing it from charisma. Gravitas has way more to do with calm, measured competence than something like charm.

If you've got a good sense of emotional intelligence, it's much easier to cultivate this type of presence, because it's really rooted in a sense of accountability. If you're accountable for your own actions, you're accountable to yourself before anyone else, and you're prepared to own your decisions. That's serious gravitas, and people will take note.


If that sounds daunting, it might be because you haven't honed in on your value statement yet. What do you bring to the table? What's important to you? If you get crystal clear on those things, then you're going to be able to stand for those values without the kind of anxiety that stems from an unclear mission statement.

Once you sort out your values, you can do something that will seriously give you some gravitas: stand up for what you believe in. Nothing on earth gives you gravitas faster than speaking truth to power, even if what you're saying goes against the grain. If you're able to stand up to the powers that be and calmly and respectfully advocate for what you believe in, you're going to show up as someone that people around you will respect. Even if they don't agree with your point, we've all been impressed by the integrity of someone speaking up with strength and composure. It's an awesome thing to witness, and you can do it!

So if you've shaped up your appearance and you're confident in your communication skills, try working on your gravitas to really tip the scales and give you that "it factor" executive presence that will make you truly stand out.

If you're still struggling, let's connect! Put a one-on-one with me on your calendar and I can help you identify areas where you can stand out to cultivate your own personal presence.

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