Monday, March 25, 2013

Charisma is a Skill

A few days ago I pointed out that charisma is that special personal quality that inspires enthusiasm or support. I also  provided a link to a Forbes article that suggested there were five qualities of charismatic leaders. Although it's true that these qualities come more naturally to some people more than others, charisma is actually a product of developable skills.

I'm also providing a link to a clip from the movie Ghandi.  In this clip, Ben Kingsley as Ghandi is making his argument for non-violent protests.  As I watch this clip, there are a number of things about Kingsley's delivery that influence how I receive his message.  His calm, confident demeanor, passion, commitment, and energy without being demonstrative all contributed to the effectiveness of his message.  Most of all, his demeanor almost screamed authenticityHis demeanor was a perfect fit between his message and his personality.

Few of us will ever be involved in as noble a cause as national independence.  We can, however, use the techniques that influence others. No matter how big our enterprise or scope of duty as a leader, we can all influence our organizations by drawing on the personal qualities or techniques these two examples demonstrate.

My overarching point is, don't fake it.  Develop the skills, yes.  Tailor your message to the audience, yes.  But don't act like you are passionate or committed or interested in the other person's view or listening....when you are not.  One of leadership's most important imperatives is to be authentic. 


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