Charismatic leaders are strong, fascinating, hard-working front-runners, but these coaches are not without their pitfalls. Some lack in planning, consistency, and professionalism. They have the potential to be spirited agents of change and steer entire organizations towards success, or they can be loud, egocentric pioneers growing their careers but costing companies millions.
They’re dynamic characters, often unaware of their social prowess. It’s fascinating to watch it happen. The other day I was sitting in a meeting with my new home sales team when my boss walked through the door. There are about 50 or so loud and outspoken people all chatting in a large room and the moment he walked in, the chatter became a dull roar and attention moved to him. It’s not an intentional shift, it’s almost like his voice becomes louder as the volume on the rest of us is dialed down.
There’s something remarkable about charisma in the workplace. Unable to be boxed or clearly identified, charisma is one of those things with which a person is born. Often times, those who have it find themselves comfortably situated in leadership positions.
Whether you’re the person with charisma or the person in charge of making decisions, it’s important to recognize the traits of a charismatic leader.
1. Highly motivated & self-confident
2. Expressive & self-aware
3. Clued into surroundings, able to read people easily
4. Boisterous, maybe even loud
The Charismatic Leader is so accustomed to things coming naturally to them. So much so that charisma can become a crutch on which they stand. These leaders can be a phenomenal! However, charisma on its own is not enough. If complemented with few skills, this leader can ensure a long and successful career, bring success to those around him on his way to the top.
1. Apply intentional planning. It is the rare leader who has control over his plans as well as exudes people skills. This can be a costly problem for companies. If plans are made, implemented, and then rescinded. Not only is there a human cost in time and energy, but there could be a substantial cost to the organization itself. If it’s against your nature to plan, create time in your day, even 5 minutes, to write down your objectives and think through the potential problems and ramifications. In a phrase: slow down.
2. Provide accurate reviews. Purely charismatic leaders are guided by their gut. Which, to be fair, have likely served them well for the majority of their careers. However, when it comes to employee reviews, it’s vital to ensure that emotions are not part of the employee’s overall performance review. Use data and commit to taking note of successes as well as failures throughout the review period. Gut instinct here is not reliable because the information that stands out will likely be negative. Give your employees the benefit of the doubt and keep updated files on each employee. Save emails, save positive feedback, save disciplinary action. Use data and numbers to compliment your well-honed instinct.
3. Be mindful of the line. Those of us who are people-people may have a hard time treating people differently at work than we do in our social lives. Not only do your employees like working for you, they genuinely like you as a person. It can be easy to slip into casual-talk when you need to be formal, or socialize with subordinates outside of the office, or even give unsolicited personal advice. Many a leader has lost their job for not minding the line between work and social life. Don’t let this be you. Remember, your employees want a boss who acts like a boss. They will be more comfortable and treat you more respectfully if solid boundaries are created and kept in place.
4. Hold yourself to a higher standard. Charismatic leaders like to play. They’re fun! Just remember, you’re the role model and set the standard for which your employees perform. Set the bar high and keep it there.
5. Practice & praise consistency. One of the most challenging things for a gut-instinct leader to do is to stay the course. It’s much more interesting to change things up every once and a while, or change standards if you realize they need changing. However, without consistency, success for your employees is a moving target. There is no employee more frustrated than one who want to succeed but can’t because the rules keep changing. This also goes for your attitude and personal interactions with staff. Think about Starbucks. We keep going back there because we like what we got and we know it’s going to be the same every time. This is you. They already like you, you have your job for a reason. Now keep yourself consistent and when making changes, go back to #1 and make sure they’re deliberate.
6. Implement transparency. It can be hard for a leader, any leader, to be completely transparent in the workplace. This last tip applies to everyone: the greatest way to disinfect is to shine sunlight on something. Keep communication open on all levels and allow for fluid conversation. Make yourself available and ask questions often, this is how you keep yourself accessible and give yourself the ability to resolve issues before they become real problems.
You and your employees will be blown away by the powerful, positive impact these little adjustments lend. Charismatic leaders are already like-able. If you can back up your charm and instinct with facts and figures, you will earn respect and be able to more appropriately lead your team. Also, once you get into data analysis, you may notice how fun it is to meld the two together. Data and gut combined leads to a very well-informed and insightful leader for whom we all want to work.
What do you think? Share your thoughts and experiences below!