Does the character and charisma in your personality enable you to inspire, influence, enthuse and motivate with care and an attitude of “fun and fetch”?
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Have you noticed how some people just seem to “stand out” from others? Is it because they keep projecting themselves, as in a determined act, or is it simply inherent? Is it presence, or their behaviour, or their enthusiasm? Isn’t it interesting that it is so often found in leaders? But it’s not only in leaders, is it? Everyone can display it. How about you? Are you someone that “has it”? Or do you wish you “have it”? What do you believe is true for you?
In my corporate career I used to believe that you “had it or you didn’t” and greatly admired (even envied) those that did. I didn’t realise that I too “had it”, because I didn’t believe it for myself. Through my coaching journey and working with so many different clients I have learned that it is in fact “only” a belief, and that whether you “have it or not” is actually a choice. A decision that you can make.
So what am I talking about when I say “it”? I’m talking about character and charisma.
I’ve seen personal character is defined as the qualities and features that distinguish us from others. Qualities like moral and ethical strengths. I see character as the ability and the willingness to act out of our convictions, sometimes against the flow of the tide or when or what everyone else thinks or does. Character is what keeps us going on a commitment to ourselves long after the euphoria in which the original decision was made has passed. Character isn’t formed when we are “cruising”. It is built and grown when we are challenged and tested and have to “dig deep” to find the resolve to overcome obstacles or setbacks. It’s what makes us get up again when we have been pushed back or knocked down.
Yeah, yeah I can hear some of you groaning. That’s necessary and logical and sensible and responsible etc but where’s the fun in all that “being tough” stuff? Could that perhaps be found in the inspiration of the goal or purpose that we are driven by to achieve something we haven’t or has never been achieved yet – the enjoyment of the journey, and the excitement of the anticipated outcome?
What I have also learned is that character and charisma are very good bedfellows. They are both often found together in successful individuals and successful leaders.
I’ve seen charisma defined as a personal attractiveness or “interestedness”; the force of personality that enables us to inspire and influence others. It’s about enthusiasm; motivation; caring, exuberance, an attitude of “fun and fetch”. You can all think of some personalities or celebrities that have charisma, can’t you? So what do you think differentiates you from them? Were they all born with charisma and you not?
Isn’t Character and Charisma over-emphasized?
I have observed a growing feeling on negativity towards the celebrity style “always switched on” and always “upbeat” approach modern day “selling ourselves” seems to demand. In Susan Cain’s book “Quiet”, where she talks about “the power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking”, she outlines her experience at an Anthony Robbins weekend where she struggled with everyone being expected to be “jumping out of their skin” excited ALL THE TIME.
In Jim Collins’ book “Good to Great” they too found that of the 15 companies they studied that outperformed selected, relevant competitors in their respective fields many fold, almost everyone had a CEO that was the antithesis of the stereotype expectation that the leader had to have celebrity style charisma.
I know from my coaching work with business leaders, how many struggle with this expectation of them to have to have a charisma that is “just not who I am”. This often requires a reframe to highlight all their other strengths that more than offset this “weakness” they seem to perceive to be true for them. If you are nodding your head as you read or hear me say that, the above two books will make a whole lot of sense to you.
So let’s be clear that the purpose of this blog isn’t to try and make you all superhero celebrity charismatics that would make Anthony Robbins proud, OK? It is to create an awareness of the strengths you can develop while still maintaining your authenticity, as well as how you can leverage such behaviour situationally to inspire those that you lead, that I’m wanting to focus on.
Do you mean me?
So if character is a track record that is built over a (longer term) period of time, can charisma not be seen as something we can choose to display right here and right now? I think so and I say this because I believe that to be true. Throughout my over 200 blog articles I speak specifically about choosing certain attitudes and behaviours that help to propel us forward in our quest for “being the best you that you can be”.
The way I see it anyone can develop great character and spice their presence up with added charisma. When you have chosen the attributes and attitudes those successful people who have made this choice display, you will:
- Be a great listener. You will ask great questions to lead the conversation where you want it to go and have the patience to accord the people you are speaking to the respect that you think they have something worthwhile to listen to. You earn the right to persuade and inspire them to the desired outcome with your enthusiasm. Enthusiasm is a choice.
- You have a “can do” attitude that understands that rejection, opposition and fear are to be expected and are there to be overcome.
- You have an unwavering belief in yourself. You have learned to develop a confidence and trust in yourself to find the wherewithal it will take to keep going until the outcome has been achieved.
- You have a purpose which you pursue by setting and chasing goals. You have a reason and “drive your bus” to fulfilling it. You “fetch” what you want, and don’t wait for it to be “brought” to you. Your purpose drives your outcomes and fuels your belief. It inspires others at best and prevents them from “keeping you within the pack” at least.
- You have developed a winning attitude; one that has you keep trying different ways until you find the ones that work best. You have a strong commitment to and have learned to back yourself. You have built a solid and reliable track record, but your means of achievement are never predictable. Surprise is always a factor because you plan to use it to its greatest effect.
- You have developed a set of “soft skills” with which you confidently, easily and effortlessly persuade and influence others to follow you. You are diplomatic but still assertive. You can build rapport instantly and can engage artfully and eloquently with everyone you communicate with at their level. You negotiate forcefully but fairly, always leaving the other party “somewhere to go”.
- You don’t groan out of bed, you leap out of bed each morning, inspired by your purpose. You look forward to the day and what it will bring or what you will learn with enthusiasm. And enthusiasm that is contagious and brings everyone you come into contact with along, because they want to be part of something that is going somewhere. Don’t we all?
- You have learned to appreciate challenges, not fear them. The curiosity you have developed enables you to find ways to overcome challenges. You understand the power of the reframe to find different ways to look at things so you find different ways of solving them.
- Sometimes you realize you need to push the envelope and you even choose to act with “chutzpah”, which means to “express admiration for non-conformist but gutsy audacity”, and you are never arrogant, selfish or greedy.
- You have learned how to “play” life and work at a different level. You have chosen to apply a “force of personality” that initially takes a bit of a push to get you out of your comfort zone, but as you experiment with it shows you where and how to drive for unusual results.
Now would you agree with me that the balanced approach to the above characteristics, attitudes and behaviours are likely to lead to improved outcomes? That they could significantly enhance your image as a leader? That they could (even if grudgingly at first) inspire people around you first to notice and then to follow you? That you might be labeled as being able to have character and charisma?
And would you agree with me that if not all, then perhaps most of the above attributes can be learned and developed?
You see, this is what coaches help our clients do for themselves. But only that small (but growing) percentage of those who choose to see the value of investing in themselves will see that. Engaging a coach is one of those investments successful people are willing to make.
So if any of this rings true for you and has struck a suitable chord with you, then you have a choice to make. Do you say to yourself “that’s quite interesting” and walk away? Or do you choose to do something about it and make a decision to “have a go”? If it’s the latter, what are you waiting for? What are you afraid of? Go on, contact me and Let’s Talk Coaching.
I wonder what more you could achieve for yourself if you thought you could?
You may find the following blogs of interest from some of the references made above:
- Interested or Interesting?
- What is your purpose?”
- Being curious
- The 5% that know Why