In assessing CEO reputation management, I often draw from a survey that proffered gravitas as a core quality in leadership presence. Specifically, these six qualities of gravitas, that I use as a guideline when I work with leaders in developing executive presence.
Confidence. The feeling or belief that one can rely on someone or something; firm trust.
As a start, I find that executives often confuse confidence with hubris. Hubris, which is defined as an excessive pride or self-confidence, often comes from the ego and manifests as “I’m the smartest person in the room.”
True confidence, however, the type that builds trust and is critical to CEO reputation management, is inclusive and empowering. “I’m smart, but I’m secure enough to let your thoughts, ideas and opinions make a difference.”
Decisiveness. The ability to make decisions quickly and effectively. We’ve all worked for leaders who have analysis paralysis. A leader who knows how to take in all the information, sort it out and within a reasonable period of time decide on a course of action enjoys a reputation for sober action.
Integrity. The quality of being honest. Less about morality than being known for giving and keep your word, it can be as simple being on time and doing what you promised. At a deeper level, however, integrity means telling the truth about any given situation. In other words, “Say what you mean and mean what you say.”
Emotional intelligence. The capacity to be aware of, control and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically. One of the biggest challenges I have when working with a client on developing executive presence is getting them to even find their feelings.
Often when I ask a leader “How do you feel?” I get back something generic such as fine, good, bad, okay. These, however, are not feelings. Feelings are more specific; i.e., confused, happy, frustrated, joyful, etc. The more you can identify what your specific feelings are, the more you can engage your emotional intelligence.
Vision. The faculty or state of being able to see. Imagination. “We’re here, we want to be there, and here’s how we’re going to get there.” When it comes to CEO reputation management, leaders who have a clear idea of the future they want to create (and know how to powerfully talk about it) win hands down.
Reputation. The beliefs or opinions that are generally held about someone or something. The bottom line is that developing executive presence requires paying attention to the reputation you currently have — as well as the one you desire. Leaders with a strong positive presence pay attention to how they are perceived by their staff, co-workers, customers and the business community at large.