Sector News

Do business leaders need charisma?

October 27, 2015
Borderless Leadership

Is personal charm and charisma essential when steering a successful venture or does it have little impact on overall results? Two business leaders take opposing views

Alice Bentinck Entrepreneur First – charisma debateYes says Alice Bentinck, co-founder of Entrepreneur First

I back the leaders of the businesses of tomorrow. Whether they have a proposition or not is immaterial. What is essential is that they are brilliant at what they do and can convince others in their team to believe in their mission, because no individual succeeds on their own.

Leaders with charisma are able to inspire action within their workforce. Whether that’s networking to cultivate new prospects or engaging in dialogue with investors, shareholders and customers, the charismatic leader has a magnetism that helps create a valuable and necessary proposition.

The confusion comes when people believe charisma is innate. It’s not, and it can be learnt. People often defer to stereotypes, thinking that ‘techies’ can’t possibly have charisma – but look at Bill Gates. If you break down charisma into its core principles, they can all be learnt.

Whether it’s through adopting a mindset that fosters a genuine interest, finding new reserves of energy, listening to people’s concerns, or treating each individual as uniquely special, these behaviours all exude empathy, which, in turn, deliver the message that you are an attractive person to do business with.

Charisma isn’t about Obama-level rhetoric. It’s the finishing touch that can elevate a good business in a crowded marketplace. That’s why leaders need to think of it as an essential skill to nurture.

James Brook Strength Partnership – charisma debate No says James Brook is co-founder and joint managing director of Strengths Partnership

Charisma is all about a leader’s charm, confidence, likeability, and power in the eyes of their employees. Like any other leadership strength, it is only powerful in helping the organisation succeed if used in the right way.

When used with caution and care, charisma can help a leader energise employees to support a particular vision, attract a following and build strong relationships – influencing employees and key stakeholders alike. Both [Sir] Richard Branson and Carolyn McCall [easyJet’s chief executive] are great examples of leaders – they demonstrate the power of charisma when used properly.

However, charisma also has a dark side when overused or used selfishly to advance personal interests and autocratic power. When employed in these ways, it can undermine trust with employees, customers and the society at large, as followers discover the leader is more interested in themselves over and above the company’s success.

The leader then loses support and influence. Leaders can succeed without charisma if they use their natural strengths to build trust and influence with stakeholders. We have worked with ‘servant leaders’, strong introverts who lead from the back and put others in the spotlight.

Employees follow them not because of their charisma, but because of respect for their humility, delegation, and calm, supportive style.

By Hannah Baker

Source: Director

comments closed

Related News

December 5, 2021

Should you wait to get a promotion, or make a lateral move inside your company?

Borderless Leadership

Should you stay in your current role in hopes of a promotion or make a lateral, internal job change? That question will be familiar to many people who work at medium or large companies, where promotions aren’t always tied to internal role changes. To find out, use the P.R.O.M.O. method.

November 28, 2021

Becoming a more humane leader

Borderless Leadership

Most of us think we have to make a difficult, binary choice between being a good person or being a tough, effective leader. This is a false dichotomy. In truth, doing hard things is often the most human thing to do. There are two key ingredients — wisdom and compassion — and it takes learning and practice to lead with both, as well as some unlearning of conventional management habits.

November 21, 2021

How much ‘radical transparency’ in a workplace is too much?

Borderless Leadership

A lack of transparency has been a workplace problem for years. Not only are workers happier in transparent workplaces, but they may also be more likely to stay in their jobs; research shows when communication is poor, many workers are more likely to consider leaving their positions.

Send this to a friend