Motivation may get you started, but only INSPIRATION can sustain success
The Mother of all attributes for Influence and Leadership
By Bahar Alexander
The Attribute responsible for exceptional success in Leadership
What do you think is the most critical Attribute for Exceptional Leadership?
According to Harvard Business School, there are six most important attributes a great leader needs to possess:
- Ability to influence
- Transparency-to an extent
- Encourage risk-taking and innovation
- Value Ethics and Integrity
- Ability to make tough decisions
- Balance hard truth and optimism
Naturally, we would all agree that the above are super important, and I would add a few to this list, such as being a great communicator.
Yet, there is one characteristic I like to call “Mother of all Leadership Attributes” not often enough talked about.
This single Attribute encompasses all the above six and is the foundation on which the rest are built.
When cultivated and strengthened, this single characteristic will empower any leader with super-hero-like qualities to melt a proverbial iceberg in negotiations, win over the toughest of counterparties, pave any complicated to maneuver road, and turn every critic or nonbeliever into an avid follower.
I bet I have your attention now, and you are waiting with deep curiosity to know what this single Attribute is?
One word: CHARISMA
When asked what Charisma means, most people would think of being visually and physically attractive, perhaps being very charming and outgoing
And they could not be more wrong!
You certainly don’t need to be super attractive be Charismatic. Look at one of the most charismatic public figures we know in History: Winston Churchill. Not the most attractive man by any standards, yet his charismatic character made him one of the most remarkable influencers of all time.
You also don’t need to be outgoing. A great example of a highly charismatic leader who is also a classic introvert is Bill gates.
To become Charismatic, you only need to show up EMPOWERED through Personal Magnetism which is a by-product of a healthy self-image.
Charisma is defined as three distinct abilities: Presence – Warmth – Power
The ability to show up and engage, present in all senses in every moment, out of our heads and fully receptive
Leaders who grapple with insecurities, doubt, and skepticism have difficulty being fully present in a conversation. Lack of presence is a sure way to make a terrible impression. Interestingly, people who lack presence genuinely believe that no one can pick up on their inside chatter. The truth is, people, FEEL your absence through your body language, ability to engage and ask effective questions.
The ability to be compassionate, altruistic, and extend goodwill to others.
Although Empathy or Compassion are presumed most important in dealing with others, especially as a leader, WARMTH is much more significant.
Empathy is the ability to understand and feel what others are feeling, while Compassion is the ability to sympathize without truly understanding or feeling what others are going through. Warmth, on the other hand, is Empathy + Compassion + goodwill.
We don’t always need to understand others to wish them well and be open to their view.
For a leader, Warmth is an essential attribute, making it possible to turn any conflict into an opportunity, to remain open-minded, calm, relaxed, and collected in disagreements or negotiations.
The ability to express Warmth makes it possible steer clear of assumptions, prejudice, and judgment while opening space for Inclusiveness, Collaboration and Innovation.
The ability to express Calm-Confidence, expressed through Body language, Posture, Eye contact, tone, and speech.
Charismatic people exude confidence in holding their bodies up in space or positioning themselves as they sit.
They are known for their ability to make eye contact in just the right proportions to avoid looking creepy or as if they are hoping no one sees them.
The manner with which charismatic individuals use their speech is inviting to the listener’s ear and magnetic in its flow.
Even in the most challenging moments, a leader who is aware of his own demeanor, verbal and nonverbal communication can influence with power and authority without ego or overcompensating through brashness out of insecurity.
Now that you know how Charisma is defined, you are most likely curious how to develop it.
Developing Charisma requires tremendous self-awareness.
Charismatic individuals seek to find feedback through their own internal compass rather than relying on their environment, others’ compliments or mirroring to develop their sense of self.
This level of self-awareness requires the individual to spend significant focused time developing a positive and strong Self-image.
Our thoughts about ourselves, how we view external obstacles, and our ability to manage our own internal states are responsible for the outwards expression of a healthy self-image.
How we speak to ourselves always equals how we engage with others!
Judgment, negativity and criticism towards the self, causes the dreaded impostor syndrome, and excessive criticism towards others results in being seen as crude, cruel, and lacking Warmth.
Charisma results in feeling empowered and engaging with others through personal magnetism
Build your Charisma by mastering your self-image and your ability to self-manage in three steps:
- Spend time recognizing and defining areas of self-development you need to focus on
- Evaluate the areas of improvement required in your posture, verbal and non-verbal communication, use of speech, and eye contact
- Recognize your own triggers causing your fall into patterns of self-judgment and criticism for others
- Ask empowering questions about yourself, others, and circumstances with an eye for creative solutions rather than getting caught up in overthinking
- Learn to exude Warmth in your thinking and behavior
- Visualize showing up empowered
- Build your Self-Confidence and learn to display it in a calm, ever-present, and natural way
Building Charisma is much like strengthening a muscle fiber; the more you challenge and use it, the stronger it becomes.
I hope you have enjoyed this short read and have been inspired to focus your efforts on developing your Charisma on the path to becoming Extraordinary.
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