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thegreatpretender
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26 May 2009, 5:19 pm

I increasingly see "gravitas" as a required attribute for management jobs.

I am still not sure I really understand what "gravitas" really means (and the Roman history references in Wikipedia do not help much ;)). However I often have the impression that "gravitas" means pomposity without substance, i.e. maintaining an air of importance and seriousness when you don't know what you are talking about.

I found I can give a good impression for a few minutes, but then have to laugh. Does anyone else struggle with the required theater of management and leadership ?

Somehow related question: Does anyone think acting classes could actually be useful for work ?



Postperson
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26 May 2009, 7:13 pm

It's a word that's always intrigued me, I think it means a kind of dignity or awesomeness. It gets sent up as 'gravitass' because in the end, no one has any perpetual dignity. Everyone is some kind of fool.

Another hollow selection criteria value designed to exclude certain people.



Aili
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27 May 2009, 3:13 am

Quote:
I found I can give a good impression for a few minutes, but then have to laugh. Does anyone else struggle with the required theater of management and leadership ?

:lol: yes. and good way to describe it. i always find it amusing how people buy into this type of thing.

Perhaps gravitas is not the word you are looking for? i certainly understand what you mean. Pretentiousness perhaps? Anyhow, i believe this quality is not only valued at the management level but is pretty pervasive throughout corporate culture. Academia as well. I've always thought is was a spin-off from boy culture. (being pompous as a girl to other girls is the opposite of cool.) However, this might be a stretch.

Personally i have no talent for blathering off on a subject i know nothing about. I can talk relatively coherently on subjects i do know well. Even then, though, i can only speak on topic and don't know how to bring "me" into it. (at least not in an artful way). I have developed an alternative management style that works well for me. Some value it more than others. (Usually the ones best at gravitas, or whatever it is that we're talking about, appreciate it the least). As a result of this deficit, i've had to become extremely good at what i do. For instance, if i make a mistake, i'll readily admit it. (not cool.) It still amazes me how so many people can do a half-assed job at something, but because they are good talkers, get the credit, promotions, raises, etc. Oh, and one other thing that comes to mind is that apart from formal presentations, which i can do quite well, i should never *ever* represent the company in an type of intercompany event. I've had to develop many creative ways to make sure i did not get into such situations.

I think that acting classes would help. Just pretending i'm someone else allows me to say things in situations i wouldn't normally be able to say. And, like many aspies, i've become a good mimic.

excellent topic ... that is if i've gotten it right ... if not forgive and ignore me ... i'm sure there is a word for that too...



thegreatpretender
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27 May 2009, 8:25 am

Yes, you've definitely got it right.

Sometimes, in a meeting, someone says something which clearly shows they don't know what they are talking about. You know that. They know that you know. You know that they know that you know. Etc.
Yet everybody manage to keep their dignity and seriousness.

It reminds me of a game played by kids in France: "le jeu de la barbichette": in this game, each kid holds the other kid's chin in his hand and stares at the other's eyes with a lot of seriousness. The first kid to laugh loses the game.



Aili
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27 May 2009, 11:38 am

my goodness, that game gives me the shivers just thinking about it! 8O :lol:

the thing is, i'm not sure they *do* know. However, calling them on it never seems to be a good idea.



Fiat_Lux
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27 May 2009, 12:03 pm

I think that the word is 'credibility'. I've worked under many managers who can put forward the most hare-brained ideas and get other people to accept what they say. Furthermore, they were able to brush aside any logical argument that ran counter to their own ideas.

Quote:
It still amazes me how so many people can do a half-assed job at something, but because they are good talkers, get the credit, promotions, raises, etc.


Absolutely. The least competent people have got way with it because of the attributes given. Sometimes, they don't have to talk that well. Somehow, they make their target audience feel comfortable; logic seldom does that.



BadPuddle
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29 May 2009, 3:49 am

I suppose 'gravitas,' to me, means me being able to respect the manager. I work in a technical government field and if the boss has knowledge of the actual job, that goes a long way.
Being listened to and respected as a competent worker also gets brownie points from me.
I will respect them most of all if they care about their staff and put them before all the corporate BS that they get from above. If not, they just become mouthpieces for the nonsense that is spouted up on high. :roll:
I'm glad to say that my current manager is newly promoted from doing the same job as I do. She is technically minded and competent. I also recognise that she has a job to do, so I wouldn't dream of being awkward in any way.
How I am going to reconcile that with my firm belief that power should never be given to those that seek it, remains to be seen. :)