In my research for my new book, “Charismatic Leadership”, I have found that there are many kinds of charisma, many different definitions of charisma, and many different ways that each of us can display charisma. And that’s part of the problem. For many of us, charisma seems somehow unattainable – gifted to a few lucky people who have it naturally in abundance. 
Not so. I believe charisma lies within all of us – and all we need to do to be more charismatic and effective as managers is to understand and learn the skills that will make us far more motivating as leaders.
My research says that charismatic leaders have five traits that make them charismatic. 
(A trait is defined as habitual patterns of behaviour, thought and emotion. Those habitual behaviours require skills if they are to be affective and effective. Each charisma trait has five key skills that charismatic leaders can deliver every day in observable behaviours.)
They are:

  • authenticity; 
  • personal power; 
  • warmth; 
  • drive; and 
  • persuasiveness. 

These traits enable them to:

  1. Win the trust of followers. To do this they need a set of skills that will help them deliver authenticity. Leaders are only seen to be authentic if they have the skills to show who they are, as well as to be consistently transparent and principled, and thereby generate trust with and among their followers.  
  1. Command attention and win respect. For this, they need the skills that will help them develop personal power. Leaders who possess personal power have the skills that enable them to be magnetic and more ‘followable’ as a leader. 
  1. Engage with followers and make them feel valued members of the team. To do this they need to develop the skills that will give them warmth, and a more affective presence. Leaders with warmth have the skills to bring out the best in others by making people feel great about themselves. 
  1. Impart a sense of direction and urgency. To do this they need to have the skills to articulate a compelling vision and sense of purpose that will arouse the passion to deliver it. Their drive comes from a relentless focus on continuous improvement to achieve the goals. Leaders with drive have the skills to articulate a compelling cause, and the skills to align everyone to their cause. 
  1. Connect with followers and enthuse them with the will to succeed. To do this, they need to develop their communication skills and become more persuasive. Leaders who are persuasive have the skills to hold high-quality conversations which transfer their passion for success to others. They also have the skills to encourage robust dialogue that powers innovation and progress. 

It is a blend of these five traits that makes the difference.
It is no good trying to become brilliant in only one of these areas. Managers who are strong in one of the skill sets, but weak in others, can actually be destructive as leaders. It is those leaders who are moderately good in all five who are most effective. 
A recent study shows that exceptionally charismatic people are more likely to be bad leaders. Those with moderate levels of charisma, says the research, are more effective at managing an organization. 
That’s good news for all of us – to be hugely more effective as a manager, we only need to be moderately good in each of the five charisma traits. To learn how, more details and tips are in my new book, “Charismatic Leadership”, out on February 3.
More details here: