Leaders need charisma... by Tita Datu  Puangco
   clippings by gerwin hontiveros

            Leadership has often been defined as “the ability to get work done through others.”  So personal efficiency may not necessarily translate into leadership effectiveness.  Leadership effectiveness requires the ability to accomplish tasks and , at the same time, develop the appropriate leadership style.  When you talk of your need improvement area as “the ability to inspire others,” it brings to mind the word “charisma.”

 Learned skill

What is charisma? Is it a mystique that is inborn?  Or is it just like any other skill that can learned? Eagle’s Flight International’s president and founder, Phil Geldart, believes it is a skill that can be learned.  Based on research, he was able to identify competencies that people can see in a person possessing charisma.

                Gelder defines charisma in a leader as “that quality which attract others and creates within them the desire to follow, or be part of the visions or plans of that leader.” He proposes the following techniques that are teachable and learnable to raise one’s charisma quotient.

                · Smile
                Remember the saying that it takes fewer muscles to smile than to frown.  People are drawn to a friendly person who is animated and cheerful.  They are turned off by a person who takes himself too seriously.  Typically a charismatic person is slow to take offense and has an open posture with regard to body language.

                · Be decisive

                Decisiveness is shown through the ability to process information quickly and to speak with conviction.  The person demonstrates courage, trusting in his own abilities.  He does not stutter but instead shows intensity through physical gestures.


                · Be knowledgeable

                Being knowledgeable means tuning in to a wide variety of information, seeking the opinion of others and being well read.  It also means anticipating questions and future problems.

                · Listen well

                A charismatic person has the ability to listen first, then respond.  He listens intently and takes notes.  He avoids interrupting the speaker and shows active interest by maintaining eye contact.  He eliminates distractions and asks clarifying questions.  He is patient and waits for his turn to respond.

                · Have ready ideas

                A person with charisma practices brainstorming and creativity techniques.  He thinks quietly through a subject in anticipation of addressing it publicly.  He thinks of several solutions and goes beyond normal and current thinking.  He has a wide exposure in areas other than his own area of expertise.

                · Speak clearly and with conviction

                Having ideas is not enough.  Modulation is a core quality.  One must modulate tone, volume and speed of speaking.  Pausing periodically will allow your words to sink in.  Being precise and brief increases effectiveness.  Use of words that the listener can understand, gestures, analogies and props are also helpful.  Persons who have mastered this technique are politicians and religious preachers as can best be seen on television.


                · Encourage others

                To do this, one has to learn to be insightful, observant and be approachable.  One has to be able to absorb information calmly, provide comments that are relevant, constructive and helpful.  A charismatic person gives praise and credit when and where it is due.  He is able to complement strengths and suggest alternatives to people who are discouraged.

                · Be enthusiastic

                Enthusiasm is shown through the use of voice and body language.  A charismatic person exudes energy, creates hope and joy and shows and knows what another person feels.  He is able to create excitement.

                · Create a fun atmosphere

                This also adds to a person who is creative, enthusiastic and inventive.  He shares in the fun and joy.  He enjoys what he does, shares hopes and dreams, and takes pleasure in light moments.  He also goes out of his way to do things out of the ordinary for others, has a sense of humor and spontaneous in approach.


                · Speaks the truth

                A charismatic leader is honest, fair, kind, sensitive and courteous.  He picks the right moment to communicate and has the courage of conviction.  He takes time to understand the whole story when assessing situations.  He speaks to people, as he would like to be spoken to.

                A word of caution: the use of these techniques to build charisma has to be based on a keen sense of ethics and social responsibility.  History is replete with people who have misled whole companies and nations because they used their charisma to pursue blind ambition and personal aggrandizement.  So develop and tap your charisma, not just to serve your needs, but also the needs of your organization, the community and the country.

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