By Heather Campbell >>
Leaders with charisma usually win the hearts and minds of the people around them – whether that’s the people they lead, those they report to, or other stakeholders within or outside the organisation. Leaders with charisma quite simply win more often.
The great news is charisma doesn’t have to belong to a lucky few. Everyone can build it – and the secret to doing so lies in some surprisingly simple guidelines around how you communicate. These are the essential communication secrets you need to know if you want to build your charisma as a leader.
(1) Show genuine interest in what matters to the people you want to lead
Leaders are not born with charisma – instead, the people they lead come to regard them as having charisma. This is an important distinction because it means that one group may see a leader as having charisma while another group may not regard them in this light at all.
The simple principle here is that the more people see that you genuinely support their goals, the more they will also see you as being charismatic. So, find out about what is important to people around you and show that you want to help them achieve it.
(2) Listen to people before you start trying to lead them
Listening to the people you want to lead means that you build understanding of their history, their goals, even of the language they use. This means that when you start to lead, you speak with understanding of their history and recognition of their goals, and can use language that resonates with them.
This last point is one that too many leaders underestimate to their detriment – if the people you lead speak in terms of data and facts, and you talk to them in the language of opportunities and vision, you quickly put up a barrier that can prove difficult to surmount.
(3) Build a common identity by showing that you are like the people you want to lead
Leaders who set themselves apart from those they lead will not be seen as charismatic. But this isn’t about putting on a false front and pretending to be something you aren’t – it’s about finding the things that you share in common and focussing on those.
The CEO in one major British company that I worked with was regarded at all levels in the organisation as having great charisma. One of the most common reasons given for this was that he could discuss strategy in the Boardroom or chat with the frontline staff with equal ease. In other words, he was particularly good at building a common identity with the different groups of people that he worked with.
(4) Talk about ‘us’ and ‘we’
Leaders who are good at building a common identity tend to naturally talk about ‘us’ and ‘we’ – so they get a double helping of charisma here. For those who struggle to find that commonality, the good news is that simply using inclusive language – our goals, what we can achieve, how this affects us – will increase others’ perception of your charisma.
(5) Engage the people you lead in working out how to achieve shared goals
Too often leaders still work through all the tough decisions on their own, come up with the solutions and then direct others to implement these. This will reduce your charisma rating. Engaging others in finding a way forward will add to it – so share with people, listen to their ideas, respond constructively and regularly tell people you appreciate what they do. Charismatic leaders aren’t way out there on their own – they’re right in there with their people.
If you follow these straightforward steps – none of which are rocket science and all of which are good communication practices for any leader – your charisma rating will rocket as a result.