Leading Blog






11.24.10

The Laws of Charisma

Even though charisma is thought of as something intrinsic to the individual, a person cannot reveal this quality in isolation. It is only evident in interaction with those who are affected by it. Charisma is, above all, a relationship, a mutual mingling of the inner selves of leader and follower.
—Charles Lindholm, Charisma

Charisma
Charisma is often thought to be something in your DNA. You either have it or you don’t. But as Kurt Mortensen makes clear in The Laws of Charisma, it “is a trait that can be taught and mastered.”

Charisma is about connecting with others. Mortensen defines it as “the ability to easily build rapport, effectively influence others to your way of thinking, inspire them to achieve more, and in the process make an ally for life.” Like leadership, it can be used positively or negatively. It depends on where the emphasis is: self or others. For example he lists some of the differences between ethical and unethical uses of charisma:

Ethical
Unethical
Serves othersUses others
Creates win-winUses for selfish interests
Has high moralsHas low morals
Empowers peopleForces people
Open up communicationsCloses down communication
Follows the heartFollows the money, power, or greed
Defines a vision and purposeMakes it up along the way
Helps people growBank account or ego grows
Works for the good of othersWorks for own good
Helps societyHelps themselves


Ultimately, charisma will only take you so far. Without character and competence, it is fleeting.

Our greatest roadblock to developing charisma, Mortensen points out, is that we lie to ourselves. We think we are better than we are. We think our weaknesses aren’t that noticeable and it gives us a false sense of security and no starting place from which to begin to make the improvements we need to make.

Mortensen has created a self-assessment for 30 attributes that define a charismatic individual. Chapter by chapter, he takes you through each of these describing them, showing how they are applied with real world examples and what the counterfeit version of each looks like. For instance, passion is not hype or bouncing off the walls. It’s more like conviction that radiates from within. You may think you’re coming across as confident, but you could be perceived as either arrogant, cocky, or condescending. Arrogance is about self and confidence is about others. Control is not power. It creates short-term compliance even as it drains the life out of people and creates long-term resentment.

The attributes are organized into four areas:

The elements of presence—how to radiate charisma through passion, confidence, congruence, optimism, positive power, energy and balance, and humor and happiness.

Tapping into and developing the core inner qualities of charisma: self-discipline, competence, intuition, purpose, integrity, courage, creativity, and focus.

Delivery and communication—how to use presentation skills, people skills, influence, storytelling, eye contact, listening, and rapport to speak with conviction and get heard.

Empowering others through inspiration, esteem, credibility, motivation, goodwill, vision, empathy, and respect—the components of contagious cooperation.

Other things to consider are how you communicate (both verbally and non-verbally), how you look, and your feelings and moods.

Each chapter is well thought out as he looks at each attribute from different angles. Each attribute is just a piece of the total charisma picture. The more you develop, the better you will be able to connect with others. While some of these attributes will come naturally to you, some will take a concerted effort. Taken as a whole, these thirty attributes are overwhelming. Take them one at a time. It’s a lifelong process.

Posted by Michael McKinney at 12:31 AM
| Comments (0) | This post is about Communication , Personal Development



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