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Charismatic leadership skills: learn how to inspire and influence

Charismatic leadership skills are a source of power (French and Raven called it referent power, one of the six sources of power). Properly channeled these skills can inspire devotion and enthusiasm in others.

It’s simply a matter of understanding the behaviors that underpin charisma.

Here’s a little of what charismatic leaders do, to inspire others:

1. Define a unique and attainable vision

Your team will come together more powerfully if they understand the “why” behind the work that they are doing. This could be a grand vision that guides the entire organization, or a well-crafted team goal.

2. Take actions to emphasize key values

Churchill, one of the great charismatic leaders, faced a dilemma early in the Second World War. The entire French fleet was anchored off Northern France, and the new French government would not give the order for them to sail.

To prevent this valuable asset from falling into the hands of the Germans, Churchill ordered the bombing of the fleet.

The message was clear, England would never surrender.

Within your own work, you need to find opportunities to dramatically demonstrate the key values you believe in.

3. Show belief and confidence, in yourself and your team

Tony Hsieh asked his lead developer, Zach Ware, to handle the $40 million renovation of City Hall (Zappos new HQ), even though he had no urban development experience. Ware told that he declined the offer three times, but after having drinks with Hsieh, he finally said yes.

This kind of belief and confidence inspires staff (and Hsieh often talks about the power of inspiring, not just motivating).

4. Communicate at an emotional level

Too often, business leaders assume (usually without even recognizing their assumption!) that there is no place for emotion in the workplace.

Yet, without emotion and passion, how will your team be inspired to give their best?

Charismatic leaders understand the power of communicating at an emotional level.

(And it’s interesting to note, many charismatic politicians where not good presenters early in their careers. They learnt the skills.)

Charismatic leadership skills can be learnt

Many of these behaviors are rooted not just in specific skills, but also in underlying attitudes and values.

Can new attitudes and values be embraced? Can skills be learnt that support these new values?

The answer is YES.

Ask yourself: which of these charismatic leadership skills, attitudes and behaviors will help me grow as a leader? How can I integrate these skills into my leadership?

Colin Bates

Colin Bates

I'm at my best when helping people to learn, grow and succeed. This might be facilitating a training program, coaching a colleague, or sharing advice with my kids. I'm also an introvert by nature, and love to read, reflect and write. Hence this blog!