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LEADERSHIP IS A PROCESS OF SOCIAL INFLUENCE, WHICH MAXIMISES THE EFFORTS OF OTHERS TOWARDS THE ACHIEVEMENT OF A SHARED GOAL.
Thursday, February 25, 2010
The word comes from Greek, meaning divine favour, as true charisma can seem to be a gift of the gods. In the 1920s the German sociologist Max Weber defined it as "a certain quality of an individual personality, by virtue of which one is 'set apart' from ordinary people and treated as endowed with supernatural, superhuman or at least specifically exceptional powers or qualities" that are "regarded as divine in origin or as exemplary." In our time, with brands and personalities exerting huge cultural influence, charisma is bigger than ever.
Corporations large and small recognise that success begins at a personal level, and they realise that charismatic leaders are valuable because they are the ones who can connect with others in a visceral, direct way, creating memorable, treasurable experiences. They also know that charisma plus operational ability can make for a very strong leader.
What does it take to be a charismatic leader?
According to Richard Wiseman, professor of the public understanding of psychology at the University of Hertfordshire you don't need divine powers to be charismatic. He estimates that charisma is half inborn and half acquired, which means you have to be blessed with certain qualities at birth but you also need to nurture and develop them. He says every charismatic leader shares three qualities: He or she feels emotions very strongly, excites them in others and is impervious to the influence of other charismatic people.
Here are some quick keys to being charismatic, or at least to drawing on the virtues of charisma even if you haven't really got it yourself. These are things people with real charisma consistently do:
Stretch the world: Charismatic leaders live as if heeding the old saying sometimes attributed to Niccolo Machiavelli, "Make no small plans, for they have no power to stir the soul." They realise that only an audacious view of the future will excite people and bind them together. They also make it a point not to restrict their bold outlook to one primary aim; they extend it to almost everything they get involved in. In every undertaking they push the boundaries beyond what is ordinarily thought possible.
Don't hide. Be seen: Charismatic leaders keep themselves always visible. They stand up to be counted in every crisis. They make unwavering efforts to motivate their people, whether by listening and responding to them or by working alongside them. Their constancy emboldens their people to go on, even in the darkest times.
Talk the talk: Charismatic leaders embrace every opportunity to convince others to adopt their vision. They make it a point always to speak in ways that convey personal integrity and engender trust.
Speak even when you are silent: Charismatic leaders send out the right signals through all their actions. They always appear enthusiastic and passionate and make others feel good and strong in their presence. They let people know that they matter, even if just by simple and subtle gestures such as upright posture, direct eye contact, genuine smiles and firm handshakes.
Charisma effectively deployed can have electrifying results.
For more, see - http://www.forbes.com/2010/01/25/charisma-speaking-communication-leadership-managing-inspiration.html