It’s true! The Canadian government, under the leadership of Justin Trudeau, has achieved a 50/50 gender balance and the outcry around merit is huge. Suddenly, now that women are being appointed to leadership positions, there is a question about whether or not they are qualified to be appointed to those positions. The interesting point is that if we had kept the status quo, appointing few or no women to Cabinet, there would have been zero questions about Cabinet Minister qualifications.
With this bold move and direct justification of it (see an excerpt of his speech here), Trudeau has demonstrated several important aspects of leadership, including the ability to be decisive and follow a distinct vision. He’s also held his ground on this action, another quality that the best leaders embrace. They aren’t afraid to show they won’t back down in the face of criticism. All of these elements are part of what is often called gravitas.
The official definition of gravitas is ‘a serious manner’ or ‘dignified, sober’. In a broader sense, it conveys weight, or qualification for a leadership role. Essentially, it’s what we see as credibility. When a leader demonstrates the necessary emotional intelligence, dignity and confidence to gracefully navigate any situation, we are seeing gravitas in action. Although Trudeau is younger than many of the leaders that grace the world’s stage, he’s already demonstrated throughout his campaign and in the very first days of his tenure as Prime Minister that he’s got plenty of gravitas to spare.