Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Will the charismatic leader please rise...

Those of you who have been in contact with me as a candidate will know that I have two standard questions: “What is a good leader” and surprise surprise the follow-up question “would you consider yourself a good leader”.
As you may have guessed…no one answers “no” to the second question. Opinions on what makes a good leader however come in large varieties.

Leadership covers many grounds and as it is one of my favorite topics, this will not be the only blog I will ever write about the subject but today I want to talk about what first comes to mind: charisma.

When I think of charisma, words such as engaging, charming, captivating automatically come to mind. Images of Steve Jobs announcing the newest Apple bestseller, Emma Watson in the HisforHer speech…pop up in my head. And you? What do you think of?

These images however are build on perception so to get to the bottom of what makes a charismatic leader in the business world, I decided to look back at my previous bosses.
Some of them have been very charismatic and they all shared the same trait: they were capable of inspiring me and made me rise above what I thought I was capable of doing.

How did they do it and would someone be able to learn it?

Charisma is a combination of interpersonal skills and communication. Most important factors are
  • Believe in yourself
It is easier for others to believe in you if you believe in yourself. How else would they feel confident that you will show them the right way?
  • Be authentic
Being charismatic does not mean that you have to be the life of the party at all times. Even with an introvert personality, you can be charismatic provided that you are genuine and people feel your true interest in them.
  • Communicate clearly
Explain in a clear and concise way what you expect from someone and what the bigger picture is. Tell a story that is personal and engaging, a story that people can buy into.
  • Listen to others
Listen with interest, be engaging and empathic. Everyone enjoys talking to people who make them feel important.
  • Trust
The most important factor of charisma is trust: making people feel that you trust them to do a good job, empowering them to rise above themselves.
  • Body language
You can have all the skills that are described above but if you don’t model them in your behavior and your body language they will loose their impact. You need to exhume drive, engagement and enthusiasm in order to get others engaged.

All of these skills can make someone charismatic. It is not a guaranteed recipe for success but it provides a solid building ground.
Consequently it is not a born quality. You can learn it, even the most engaging leaders have to work on their impact. Look at the people that you find charismatic and learn from them. Copy their behavior and adjust it to fit your own personality. Practice until it becomes part of your natural behavior.

And you…are you already a charismatic leader? Or can I help you in identifying those areas that you still need to work on?

I look forward to hearing from you,

Through a personalized and tailor-made approach, Ingenium Executive Search aspires to assist you in attracting the right talent that matches the DNA of your company

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