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Can you learn charisma?

The first question is, what is charisma anyway? It may take some brainpower to make that tangible. We judge people in our everyday life almost casually as having charisma or not. According to Wikipedia, charisma is a strong personal appeal that someone has on other people, which is perceived as a certain image. Charismatic behavior in an enterprise is associated with personalities that can get their employees enthusiastic.

The higher you go in an organization, the more important your style is. In other words, how you're successful is increasingly important as you climb higher. At the top, your behavior will ultimately be decisive. That's a change, because you often became successful with different behavior. For example, because you over achieved growth targets for your company for years, you get promoted. But at the top, you will be dealing with more stakeholders: employees, the non-executive board, the works council. And they all have their own interests.

Do you really know how others actually see you? What is their perception of you? When you enter a room, are you able to connect with the people in the room in a confident and open manner? Do you ever ask for feedback on how you come across to others? Maybe not so easy to do for the first time, but believe me, it is one of the fastest ways to learn to understand their perception. Thereby giving yourself the opportunity to improve your effectiveness.

Showing this kind of behavior is working as a good role model. It leads to better communication. Thereby leads to better cooperation in organizations. As a company gets bigger and more complex, you must adapt your working style to a style that helps you make use of the teams to achieve your results. Delivering through people we say. Because on your own, you can only be successful to certain extent. We see in our firm that there is often still a lot of opportunity there for organizations. Through silo working, the organization does not get maximum results. Results that are within reach through their existing budgets and teams.

Back to your own daily behavior as a business leader. What can you do differently tomorrow? Well, for example, by.
  1. Use your senses. Look carefully. What do you see actually if you really pay attention? How do people react to you? Go actively looking for signals, verbal and nonverbal.
  2. Invest in your self-awareness. What drives you? Where do you get emotional satisfaction from? What are your strengths and what are your weaknesses? Where are you are going with your life and your career?
  3. Listen with empathy. Show that you are really listening to your colleagues. Summarize what they say. Don't interrupt people.
  4. Get into the habit of regularly asking for feedback. If you as a business leader set the tone, managers in your organization can't afford an indifferent attitude anymore.
  5. Communicate different to different audiences.
One of the most fascinating books I have read on this subject in recent years, is The Charisma Myth by Olivia Fox Cabane. A must read if you want to invest in developing your own charisma. In contrast to the general prevailing opinion, Cabane convincingly shows that charisma really is not so much nature. Charisma is primarily the result of a well-planned process.

Food for thought.

Have a nice weekend,


By Paul Donkers

"my purpose is to help improve strategy execution, to create high performing teams and coach for effective business leaders"

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