GWPR Masterclass: Mastering Gravitas in Leadership

Published 5th Jan 2024

GWPR Empower Masterclass from Antionette Dale Henderson

Blogpost on Masterclass 1 by: Annapurni Hariharan

In a world where leadership is more than just a title, it is crucial to understand the concept of gravitas and how to wield it effectively. Global Women in PR (GWPR) recently hosted a session on Leading with Gravitas led by the insightful and accomplished Antionette Dale Henderson.

This session was a part of the GWPR Empower programme, and it provided invaluable insights on understanding, embodying, and using gravitas to lead effectively in the workplace.

Antoinette Dale Henderson and Annapurni Hariharan

GWPR Empower programme: Nurturing Emerging Leaders
Before diving into the key takeaways from Antionette’s session, it is essential to understand the significance of the GWPR Empower programme, as it is unique. This programme is a platform for emerging women leaders in the field of PR to be mentored by experienced professionals, giving them the tools and knowledge, they need to thrive in their careers.

As part of the 2023-24 intake, I have the opportunity to attend these sessions and build my learnings. The Leading with Gravitas session was a part of this initiative, designed to equip mentees with the attributes of gravitas, which are essential in leadership.

Unlocking Gravitas: Antionette’s Insights
Antionette Dale Henderson, an expert in leadership and communication, shared practical tips and suggestions for understanding and incorporating gravitas in leadership roles. Gravitas is that intangible quality that commands respect, influence, and authority. Here are some key insights for me, from her session:

Confidence, Not Arrogance: Gravitas is not about being arrogant or domineering. It is about having confidence in your abilities and decisions. Antionette encouraged participants to stand tall in their convictions while remaining open to others’ perspectives.

Effective Communication: Gravitas is closely linked to effective communication. Antionette stressed the importance of clear, concise, and articulate communication. Leaders with gravitas have the ability to convey complex ideas in a straightforward manner.

Resilience in the Face of Challenges: Gravitas shines brightest in challenging situations. Antionette advised that true leaders remain calm under pressure, adapting to unexpected challenges with poise and determination.

Listening and Empathy: Gravitas is not just about talking; it is also about listening. Leaders who listen actively and empathise with their team members are more likely to gain respect and trust.

Realising the Impact at the Workplace
The insights from Antionette’s session on leading with gravitas were not theoretical but highly practical. Many of the participants in the session found her guidance invaluable when it came to applying these concepts in their workplaces.

Antionette gave examples tailored to individual situations and questions that were posted. She not only took time to understand the context of our questions, but also helped us with some focused inputs that we can use to handle our everyday work scenarios. Based on my learnings, here is an example, I wanted to share that a lot of us face in general:

Imagine you are facing a critical client meeting, and unexpected challenges arise. Instead of panicking, if we are able approach the situation with a composed demeanor and communicate clearly; it helps handle the situation and re-set expectations.

This not only lets you resolve the immediate issue at hand but also strengthens reputation as a reliable and capable leader.

In conclusion, the session had a lot of take-aways for each of us.