Charismatic Leadership: 5 Steps to Boost Your Career Success

Strengthen your "it" factor for ultimate achievement

President Barack Obama has been widely described as a charismatic leader. (Image: Getty)

You’ve met this person before. They have that extra special something that you just can’t put your finger on. They have a magnetic energy and ability to engage others that sets them apart.

He (or she) has “charisma.”

Brian Evje, management consultant at Slalom Consulting and leadership development expert, describes charisma as a set of attributes that involve the ability to articulate a vision, project confidence and create an inner sense of purpose. Charismatic leadership is the ability to use your qualities to fulfill the needs of a vision other than yourself (ie. your company or organization).

Evje adds that an awareness of the proper use of charismatic leadership is important to protect companies from dissolving or becoming inefficient. Here are five tips on how to embody or improve charismatic qualities and guidelines on effective use:

Find your own natural charisma: In most cases, charismatic leaders are great public speakers who exude high levels of confidence. Determine why you wish to embody charisma. Is it for personal immediate gain, or to promote a larger vision? If the latter, focus on strengthening your charismatic attributes to solve and address the issues of your company, not yourself.

Evje suggests taking training courses, participating in skills workshops and getting a professional coach so you can develop your charismatic qualities.

Don’t become obsessed with the quality of your own charisma. Charisma is entirely self-reflective. When leaders shift focus from themselves to the organization or the “higher” cause, they’re transitioning from “charisma” to charismatic leadership. otherwise, you might lose focus on your company’s needs, issues, or concerns. Charisma can be used as a tool to help achieve a larger goal.

Use charisma in moderation. “Charisma is a tool, and like any tool, it’s awfully handy when you need it but it’s not appropriate for everything,” Evje says. When a company becomes highly dependent on its leader, it may be the result of being addicted to that leader’s charisma. In this case, the company is incapable of sustaining itself without that person’s constant guidance.

Adjust the amount of charisma according to the stage of your organization’s growth. A highly charismatic leader can be very useful in the early stages of a startup to build a presence. “The work of a leader within a high-growth company is to see the phase and adjust accordingly,” Evje adds. Reduce the amount of charisma used to avoid addictive dangers, and share your power to cultivate a healthy work culture– one that doesn’t involve a complete dependence on one leader.

Be aware that charismatic leadership involves an element of team accountability. As a company grows, so will their need to disperse responsibility and accountability within the organization. In this way, there is a higher chance for the company to sustain itself. Leaders of organizations need to let their organizations do the hard work of change, because that’s where the change happens — in the individuals of an organization, not [solely] because of the actions of an individual leader,” Evje says. “Leaders need to shift the focus from themselves to the people who they are working with, and [who] will solve the problems.”

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