When it comes to leadership skills, charisma is perhaps the most misunderstood. Many people hold the false belief that charisma is something you’re born with, a trait that cannot be developed or cultivated. In reality, anyone can learn to cultivate charisma, motivate their team, and become a more influential leader.
Remember that everything starts in the mind
I’ve learned that charisma and confidence go hand-in-hand, and neither can be faked. We all have our demons that tell us that tell us we’re not good enough, smart enough, or likable enough to be charismatic. The truth, however, is that these voices are wrong, and it is up to you to vanquish them.
Growing up, I was never the most popular, athletic, or intelligent. I didn’t date and preferred to keep to myself rather than socialize. While that doesn’t sound like a recipe for success, my introverted nature helped me to develop confidence I needed to be charismatic in my later years.
Back then, I knew deep down what I wanted to be when I was older and worked tirelessly to build a solid foundation for the future. I knew that working hard, keeping out of trouble, and staying focused on my goals would pay off eventually. That knowledge instilled in me confidence that allowed me to stay the course and weather any challenges that came my way. In turn, my newfound confidence gave me the freedom to step out of my comfort zone and be charismatic when talking about things that I was passionate about.
Leaders looking to cultivate charisma need to first master their mind. Only by developing a solid mental foundation and quiet confidence can they hope to have moments of authentic charisma.
Be mindful of body language
Charisma manifests itself in some ways, but body language is at the top of the list. Your outward appearance and behavior must reflect what is inside to be an effective and charismatic leader.
Charismatic people are naturally magnetic and attract others into their orbit. Warm smiles, good posture, and a quickness of motion all help to make people feel energized, safe, and happy.
The most charismatic people I’ve encountered buzz with a certain energy, as though their inner happiness and excitement cannot be contained. I’ve learned, however, that this energy and positive body language is rarely a natural occurrence. Instead, it is a behavior that has to be practiced and reinforced over time.
I’m not always cognizant of my body language at BodeTree. For example, I have a tendency to put my feet up on my desk while I type on my laptop. It’s a matter of comfort for me, but I recognize how it can lead people who see me think that I’m flippant or too laid back. My personal body language is something I need to work on and remain constantly aware of.
Charisma cannot exist without warmth
Genuinely charismatic people are both powerful and kind. That potent mix makes people feel welcome and comfortable. Like confidence, warmth cannot be faked. It requires a genuine interest in the wellbeing of others and investment in the outcomes they face.
One of the most charismatic people I’ve ever met was a good friend of the family who was a surrogate grandfather of sorts. Looking back, I realize it was his warmth and compassion that made him such a charismatic figure in my life.
This individual was a self-made man who worked his way up the corporate ladder to become the president of a large equipment financing company. Interestingly, his charisma and warmth preceded his financial success. When you spoke to him, you felt like you were the most important person in the world.
I was about five years old when I first met him and vividly remember how special he made me feel. He treated everyone that way, and people looked up to him as a result. Even my father, who is only slightly younger than him, viewed him as a mentor figure. His charisma is, even today, undeniable.
Authentic charisma is very special indeed, and it is a vital skill for leaders that need to help their team navigate a difficult time or attain an aggressive goal. However, it’s important for these leaders to understand the key drivers of charisma and avoid shortcuts. They must remember that charisma starts in the mind, with a quiet confidence and conviction. From that point, internal beliefs and energy are made manifest through body language and conduct. Finally and most important, charisma is all about warmth. In the end, only genuine interest in others can make charisma truly authentic.
This article was written by Chris Myers from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.