Are you a charismatic leader or person?
Not only leaders, politicians and famous people but fathers, mothers, spouses, partners, friends and our children can be charismatic or have charismatic traits.

We know this because we are attracted to it. So, what attracts us to charismatic leaders and people?

Is it their energy? Is it their first impression and their ability to connect with us? Is it their communication style?

Many of history’s most effective leaders are labelled charismatic and there is some controversy about whether people are born with charisma or if it is made.

Ronald E Riggio, PhD has done a significant amount of research on this topic and published many articles and books.

In response to a question he received in an interview about what particular traits or qualities did someone like Martin Luther King possess that allowed him to lead and inspire so many people he said:
“Charismatic leaders are essentially very skilled communicators – individuals who are both verbally eloquent, but also able to communicate to followers on a deep, emotional level. They are able to articulate a compelling or captivating vision, and are able to arouse strong emotions in followers.” (What Is Charisma and Charismatic Leadership? Psychology Today)

In an article Riggio shares the elements of personal charisma:

“Emotional expressiveness. Charismatic individuals express their feelings spontaneously and genuinely. This allows them to affect the moods and emotions of others. We all know charismatic people who seem to "light up the room" when they enter.

Emotional sensitivity. This is the ability to read others' emotions and allows the charismatic individual to make an emotional connection by responding to their feelings.

Emotional control. Truly charismatic individuals have the ability to control and regulate their emotional displays. They don't "fly off the handle" (unless they purposely want to in order to make a point).

Social expressiveness. This is a verbal communication skill and the ability to engage others in social interaction. Charismatic people are skilled and entertaining conversationalists. They certainly affect us with their emotional expressiveness, but there is also power in their words.

Social sensitivity. This is a skill in reading and interpreting social situations, being able to listen to others and be "in tune" with them. It helps charismatic persons to be tactful and sensitive to their surroundings.

Social control. This is a sophisticated social role-playing skill that is particularly important for charismatic leaders. It can be seen in the way that charismatic leaders (or every day "charismatics") carry themselves with poise and grace.”
(Charisma: What Is It? Do You Have It? Psychology Today)

What about you?
-When you think about the above, are you or do you want to be a charismatic leader?
-Would it be helpful to allow the charismatic traits that you have to further develop and let them shine?
-What holds you back from doing so?
-Would it make you a better leader at work or in your personal life?

While being charismatic was commonly used when we define a superb leader, during the last years we have heard more about transformational leadership.

When Riggio was asked the question: What are several important characteristics that you believe every leader should possess he said: “A model that I think represents the very best leaders, and research bears this out, is transformational leadership.
You can think of transformational leadership as going beyond charisma because two of the components of transformational leadership deal with charisma. They are:
Idealized Influence, the first component, is the leader’s ability to be a positive (and moral) role model for followers. The transformational leader also “walks the talk,” and is on the “front line” working with followers (e.g. MLK Jr.), or leaders who sacrifice along with their followers. In business, the charismatic/transformational leader sometimes serves as the “face” of the company or the movement (e.g. Steve Jobs).
Inspirational Motivation is the second quality of transformational leaders and it is what charismatic leaders are noted for. Their ability to inspire and motivate followers to perform at high levels, and to be committed to the organization or the cause.”

Riggio sums it up as “Transformational leaders are charismatic, but they are also noted for leading high performing groups and teams, and developing followers’ leadership capacity, as much as helping the group or organization to change and innovate.”

The good news! You can be a charismatic transformational leader if you set your mind to it and work on the following areas:
-Emotional expressive, sensitive and in control
-Social expressive, sensitive and in control
-A positive role model for others
-Inspire and motivate

Leadership starts with leading yourself – you can walk the talk.

Leadership is needed to guide your family, friends and community. And last but not least, leadership is needed at work...your business, your team, your organization and, most importantly, yourself at work role-modeling the behaviors you admire. Role-modeling the behaviours for yourself, your co-workers, your team, your customers and the world to see!

Author's Bio: 

Ulrike Berzau, Executive Coach & Consultant, works with individuals, teams and organization to achieve exceptional results in life and business. With extensive experience as healthcare executive, she is known for providing highly respected insights and creative solutions to secure continuous advancement and excellence. Ulrike has an unwavering passion for igniting the talent and brilliance in others and her international and multicultural experiences allow her to relate to a diverse audience. Her ambitious, yet well balanced, positive and inspiring mindset is the catalyst of her own success and assures the success of clients, staff and organizations.

Ulrike is the co-author of the International Best-Seller Imagine a Healthy You and an inspirational speaker. She is certified as Thinking into Results Consultant, Passion Test Facilitator, ASAP Engagement Consultant and Achieve Today Coach, and holds a Master’s Degree in Management, a Master’s Degree in Health Science, Physical Therapy, and is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives.