Aristotle and leadership gravitas

In this video blog post I will discuss Aristotle and leadership gravitas. And why this is such a relevant and useful tool to fast track your leadership development.

If maybe you are leading a winning team already but want to sharpen your tool box. You may find this post useful as well: How To Inspire Change In A Winning Organization. (Opens in a new tab for your convenience).

Aristotle and leadership gravitas – script

So, what is leadership gravitas? Do you have it? Do you know how to get it?

It’s something that the Romans held in great importance along with dignitas. They measure a person equally by both in terms of your status in society.

Now days it’s very different. Today gravitas means weight, it means impact, it means persuasion. There are many things we could talk about. There are many books out there. We could talk about your stature, your poise, your voice, your knowledge.

But, I actually want to talk about the core root platform of gravitas –  which is really build into your self awareness and aspirations.

There is actually an equation. Aristotle had an equation for gravitas. I think he might have had an equation for everything! So, it’s based on his 3 Pillars of Persuasion:

Ethos + logos + pathos – insecurity – anxiety

Ethos is who you are, what you believe in. What is your true north? What is your expertise? What do you bring to the table? It kind of gives you your reputation.

Logos is your logic, reason and the knowledge. Yours needs to be better than those around you.

Pathos is passion. It’s the way in which you live, the way in which you feel about what you believe in.

Then minus the insecurities and anxieties. We’ve all got them – many and varied! And we tend to keep hold of them through life, which is really weird to me, but we all do it. It could be – your dad never hugged you – you didn’t make it through school – your too fat, too thin – not funny enough. All these things that hold us back.

People with gravitas, they carve them away. Through their life they start to let them go.

For me, it’s about helping others. I got the fortunate opportunity to build some self awareness.

I look back at school, I was the guy that people went to. I was the guy they told about their worries or concerns.

I look back at my career in sales. I wasn’t a great negotiator. What I did do though, was deeply invest in my customer. Their personal life, their business life and their political life. And it generally served me well.

Ten years ago, I moved into this career to really double down on helping others and after working with 700 teams in 30 or more countries I feel like I’m pretty darn good at it, and that’s what my customers tell me. I love seeing the lightbulbs come on. I love seeing people finding the strengths and potential they didn’t know they had. I love seeing people turn around adversity and make strengths out of weaknesses. I love it when I see people let go and move on – and two years down the line they are now mentoring people, through their change journey.

But, yes I have piles of insecurities! I’ll pick one of many. I grew up in a tough neighbourhood. I grew up on the streets and it was all about survival. And I wasn’t the roughest toughest people so I kind of survived by getting into peoples heads and getting to know them. I never thought I’d be here (sitting next to Sydney Opera House) almost as if I don’t deserve that. Classic imposter syndrome. But, I’m working on that, I’m cutting that away.

I think it’s a rare opportunity in life to find out who you really are, what you want to be when you ‘grow up’ – and become really bloody good at that subject and live it with passion! Hopefully you have met someone like that in your career or maybe you are one. Typically these people are both grounded in their beliefs but they take themselves lightly. They have cut away their insecurities or they are happy to talk about their weaknesses.

So there you have it, Aristotle and leadership gravitas – still relevant today!

I’d love to hear your stories of gravitas. Do you know what it is? Do you think you can get it? Let us know in the comments below!


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