Charismatic Leader – Can I be one? Do I want to be one?

Originally Published July 1, 2018

Originally Published July 1, 2018

Charisma: Compelling attractiveness or charm that can inspire devotion in others

When we think about a charismatic leader, what comes to mind?  Is it this “larger than life” figure with the perfectly kempt hair, well pressed suit, charming smile, and booming voice?  Is charisma based upon how you make a first impression?  I would like to suggest, a leader who is truly charismatic is something a little different than what we may think.

The word “charisma” finds its root in the ancient Greek word “kharis” which means grace, favor.  As a leader, we should show grace and/or favor towards others, in all facets of our lives.  Are others seeing this grace and favor? 

Here are some thoughts on how all of us can be charismatic leaders:

  • Love life!  Be someone who maintains a genuine, upbeat attitude.  Do not be fake.  People will see right through a façade.

  • Expect the best of others.  Do not confuse this with placing unrealistic expectations and/or timelines on others.  This really means that your disposition is that you believe those around you are looking out for the best interests of the company, organization, or group.

  • Give others a reason to hope.  Hope is the greatest of all possessions.  If someone has hope, they can surprise you with better than expected results.

  • Share of yourself.  Open up about who you are.  Share stories of growth and struggles.  Celebrate your victories with others.

  • Place the concerns of others above your own.  Another way to think of this is to treat others the way you would want to be treated, even when you are not being treated the way you want.  Many of us learned this as a preschooler, and it still applies today.

Dale Carnegie wrote in, How to Win Friends and Influence People, “You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”

As a leader, are you willing to change your focus so that others are a higher priority?  Can you seek to give a great first impression by showing that you love life and want others to join in that joy?  Are you willing to share of yourself?  If so, you can be a charismatic leader without having a “larger than life” persona.  Being charismatic is more about being an authentic, joyful, and caring for other than it is about anything else.


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