The Road to Developing your Leadership Charisma
Testing the theory that Charismatic leaders are born rather than made
When most people hear the word charisma, they think of that one person they know who people flock to, the person that when they speak, there is silence in the room, and everyone around them is completely engaged in what they are saying and following their every word. People want to impress this charismatic person; they want to associate themselves with them.
I had just graduated from college and begun my first “serious” job post university. I always considered myself a social person, but if I wanted to become a well-respected business woman in today’s working world, I needed to have an edge up on my competition. I work in an organization where our executives are renowned for being extraordinarily charismatic and I wondered to myself if those same skills could be obtained without a lifetime of experiences.
So I decided to attempt to make myself more charismatic. But before I even got started I hit a pothole in the road to my success: I didn’t know where to begin! I was so excited to make this decision in my life and ready to dramatically increase the impact I have on my colleagues, friends, and family, but I had no clue how to go about it. I always thought that these phenomenally charismatic people were just born that way, that charisma oozed through their veins and they never had to give it a second thought.
So I did some research.
Google is my most trusted resource; I would say I probably use the search engine more than 20 times a day! (What did people do before Google?) I researched some of the most charismatic leaders worldwide and was presented with the likes of CEOs Richard Branson- Virgin, Jeff Bezos- Amazon, Michael Dell- Dell computers as well as many other infamous leaders such as Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, and even Oprah. I have nothing in common with these people, so how could I ever compare myself to any of them?
I then came across a concept that outlined how being a more charismatic leader in the workplace can significantly increase the bottom line results of your people. Coincidentally, my employers, Profiles International were publishing a new book on the topic. Leadership Charisma. The book focuses on the connection between a leaders charisma and employee engagement. Here is one of my favorite quotes from the book that re-assured me how these skills can be acquired; hope is not lost for me on my quest of becoming a more charismatic person.
“The most dangerous leadership myth… asserts that people simply either have certain charismatic qualities or not. That’s nonsense; in fact the opposite is true. Leaders are made rather than born.”
-Warren Bennis, leadership scholar
Now I was intrigued. Part of me didn’t believe that this could be so and the other part of me greatly wished it to be true, so I continued to read on.
The book outlines research results conducted on over 40,000 leaders worldwide and promotes the fact that charisma is all about behavior. That it is all about behavior means it can be learned. Good news!
It provides five easy-to-follow steps;
1. Make a decision to become a more charismatic leader.
2. Build a foundation for your charisma
3. Fine-tune your physical charisma
4. Create a charismatic leaders persona
5. Recognize the greatness in orders.
These five steps are obviously covered in multiple chapters and in a lot more detail including the how-to’s of this process, but that may be slightly too much to fit in this blog post. But at least I could check off step one!
So far, the book is an excellent read and has given me reason to believe that it is possible for me to make myself a more charismatic leader.
Will keep you posted-- results and step two to follow!