The COO of a global energy service corporation asked me to work with one of his VP’S to help him develop the quality of gravitas. Earl was the head of the fracking division of the company. He was extraordinary effective at leading the flagship division, but his behavior and communication style at the executive level of the organization was not so effective.
In meetings with the C-level executives, Earl was long-winded. He told prolonged stories that seemed to have no points. The COO shared with me that Earl was in danger of losing his job because the CEO became exasperated and impatient with Earl in important meetings.
I found Earl to be warm, friendly, super smart and open to learning to change his leadership communication style. He exuded a lot of natural presence. We discussed gravitas for leadership presence. I introduced Earl to the qualities of gravitas. We looked at examples of leaders who embodied gravitas. Earl identified qualities and characteristics he wanted to embody. I taught him to ground himself in his body and to contain his expression. He learned to say much less and to speak only when he had valuable information to share. We worked on shortening his stories and using them to illustrate important points rather than to entertain.
Earl was a quick study. He transformed his style of leadership communication in a few private sessions. He said he could feel the difference in his ability to be present in the C-level meetings. He could also sense when it was appropriate to speak and when not to speak.
Not long after, he shared that he had become great friends with the CEO. In Earl’s case, it only took a few behavioral tweaks for him to show up in meetings with gravitas and to adjust his style to interact more succinctly with the company’s top executives.