Although there is a shortage of effective leaders in the marketplace, there is even more of a shortage of charismatic leaders. The recent death of Apple's Steve Jobs not only represented an end of an era, but the passing of a charismatic leader who made technology attractive. To be able to add personality to inanimate objects could only stem from the imagination of a charismatic leader. However, there are a few things an aspiring leader can cultivate in developing charismatic leadership skills.
1. These leaders are great innovators. Innovation comes through having a preternatural curiosity about how systems work and uncovering the gaps that make systems less efficient. Using Jobs as an example, he saw that Pop culture was influencing the behavior of individuals. Although technology had to have a utilitarian value attached to it, it also needed to be attractive and engaging. Taking cues from the fashion, entertainment, and automotive industries, charismatic leaders discover the latent desires of consumers and fulfill these desires with objects of affection. To develop your charisma, passionately focus on a challenge within your industry and turn solving problems into a mission. You will gain a following by evangelizing, writing, and developing practical solutions to problems.
2. Charismatic leaders are introspective. Charismatic leaders spend a lot of time reading, thinking, and synthesizing disparate ideas. Although, charismatic leaders are viewed as "great people" persons, a lot of their time is spent pondering ideas in solitude. These leaders define themselves by their performance. In the movie, "A Beautiful Mind" with Russell Crowe, John Nash had an insatiable desire to create an idea that would gain him recognition and distinction. Many charismatic leaders are similarly motivated. By pondering and sharing the ideas of personal unresolved and unfulfilled aspirations, charismatic leaders become more engaging to adoring participants. By spending more time reveling in the field of ideas, you become more imaginative and heroic in your pursuits.
3. Charismatic leaders speak with specificity. Although these leaders are noted for passionate and effective oratory, it is their ability to speak with specificity and detail that makes them magnetic. By providing clear, precise, and practical information, employees are able to see their role in an overarching vision. If you begin breaking a mission down step-by-step with passionate oratory that speaks to the long term manifestation of an idea, you will not only free the employee of ambiguity, you will inspire the employee to create options to the mission you may not have considered. In the end, clear and concise communication is used as a motivational device.
Steve Jobs created Apple using many of these traits. If you see your role on the world's stage as either transformational or merely trying to positively affect your department, using the strategies of charismatic leaders will allow you to have an edge within your industry.
Edward Brown, M.S., is a researcher and lead instructor for Core Edge Image & Charisma Institute, Inc., which teaches clients how to profit and lead their industry by developing charisma. He is the author of nine books including: Image, Power & Charisma, Power Moves for Those with Limited Cash, Clout & Connections, and Principles of Charismatic Leadership: The Missing Link...
Brown is the host for the online talk show Charisma Live and Editor of the blog, Charisma Today. He has advanced legal training from the University of Dayton School of Law and a master's degree from Mercer University in Leadership Development.