Can You Learn Charisma?
Some people possess natural charisma. Can you ever hope to match their appeal?
Although it can be tricky to build a proper foundation for it, charisma is teachable. Those interested in developing this particular leadership/life skill can learn and improve it.
Contrary to what the Greek origins of the word “charisma” suggest, it is not a divine gift. Some people are just naturally better than others at decoding its components and applying them in real-life settings.
With proper leadership training, everyone can learn and develop a charismatic, executive presence.
Breaking Down Charisma
An inspiring, charismatic leadership presence is a two-step act, or rather, a way of being.
- The foundation of charisma resides in integrity and congruence. The words, actions, and beliefs of the charismatic leader are aligned dynamically. Charisma does not command perfection, nor does it close the door to change. It does, however, demand integrity. In the context of intelligent leadership, a dishonest person cannot possess genuine, lasting charisma.
- Communicating the integrity resulting from the congruence of words, beliefs, and actions, is the outward-facing element of charisma, the component we see and appreciate in others.
Rich Antonakis of the University Lausanne Business School and his colleagues identified several pillars that support the effective communication of charisma.
- Using metaphors is the charismatic’s leader’s way of showing wit and presenting facts in easily-relatable terms.
“Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears.” – William Shakespeare (Spoken by Mark Anthony in Julius Caesar).
- Stories and anecdotes hook audiences and leave a lasting impression.
- Charismatic leaders exude confidence. They provide reasons why people should follow them out of the available choices.
- The oratory skills of the charismatic leader cover rhetoric questions. Such questions are great for capturing attention and prompting listeners to assume ownership of the communicated ideas.
- Moral conviction is one of the cornerstones of charisma communication. Leaders will appear more charismatic if they believe in what they preach and consider it the right thing to do.
- Various gestures and facial expressions add to the depth of the leader’s message, making it more relatable and triggering an imitation reflex in the audience.
Hand gestures and facial expressions bring communication to life.
- An animated voice tone adds life to communication. It relays feelings, capturing the attention of the audience through an additional, highly effective communication channel.
How to Become More Charismatic
Beyond improving the leaders’ power of persuasion through more effective communication, charisma plays a role in everyday life. Thus, rather than being a performance, it should be a way of life.
Effective leadership training insists on incorporating charisma into the leaders’ character. How can charisma-hungry leaders achieve such a feat?
- Charismatic people are aware of the power of the vulnerability effect and they are not afraid to use it. By showing vulnerability, they become more likable and relatable in the eyes of their peers.
- A charismatic person knows how to carry a conversation. By asking questions and listening more than talking, charismatic leaders engage with their interlocutors on a superior level.
- A charismatic person does not speak ill of others behind their backs. Rather, he/she gushes about people.
- The social wealth of a charismatic person translates into a bevy of relationships and great networking abilities.
Charisma is one of the essential leadership skills and an important predictor of executive success. More importantly, it is a teachable and learnable leadership skill.
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