Below are four simple habits that you can start developing right now to become a charismatic leader:
1. Speak with purpose
There is a famous quote that goes like this:
“A wise man speaks because he has something to say. A fool speaks because he has to say something.”
Think before you speak. Don’t be vague. Be intentional about your communication. For example, don’t enter a meeting and ask:
“How’s it going, guys? Thanks for coming. What do you guys think about the new website? Did you see the colors?”
Know your objective. Have the meeting planned. Ask a question that pulls the team in the direction of your objective:
“Who has seen the new website? Did you find the bright blue distracting? What other colors have you tried? Please show the team.”
Everything you say works for you or against you. There is no neutral ground in speech.
Get in the habit of thinking first and speaking with clarity and meaning.
2. Gauge the situation
The first thing you need to do is pay attention. Does your team look interested? Is there something bigger happening that is making them restless? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen leaders failing to lead simply because they didn’t pay attention.
Gauge your audience. This applies to a one-on-one conversation or a big meeting. The principal idea is the same for both. Watch people’s body language and look at their expressions. If they look bored or lost, you need to change something. Make them stand up, bring them up to the front and ask them to speak about what is on their mind. Ask people to take a 5 minute break. Do something to make a change when you are losing them.
Always address the elephant in the room. Sometimes there is bigger news that takes the spotlight. Even if you have a big idea that you are excited talk about, if your listeners aren’t present, then you’ll waste your time. I know it can be disappointing on your end, but you are a leader and this is about your team. You need to know when they have other needs that you need to address first. You must make sure they are in the mental state that is ready for your message.
For example, I remember a team meeting that happened the day after a layoff. Our manager didn’t even mention it. He carried on like nothing had happened. What did he say in that meeting? I have no idea, neither does anybody else. We were so worried about the layoff the previous day that we weren’t in a mental state to listen to him. Had he first addressed where we were – thinking about the layoff – he could have brought us around and held a productive meeting. He didn’t do that. He didn’t lead.
Know when to stop what you’re doing and address the big event, even if it’s awkward, it usually is. Embrace the awkward.
Get in the habit of addressing the elephant in the room because it will get people engaged in what you have to say.
3. Make time for people
As a leader, you are there for your people, not for yourself. Make people feel like they can stop by for a minute without feeling guilty or awkward. Never act like you’re “too big for the little people.” The little people are the reason you are there.
People shouldn’t be scared to disturb you. Some leaders or managers create a vibe of “Don’t disturb me. I’m too important.”
I worked for a guy like this. He would never have time for you. When he gave you the “privilege” of speaking with him, he was aloof and pretended you were disturbing him. Sometimes he would look away and scroll up and down in his email inbox, looking at messages that he already read for no reason other than to not give you his full attention. It was a stupid power play that didn’t work. He didn’t even know he had the reputation of being the office jerk who nobody wanted to work with. He was blinded by his own ego.
As a charismatic leader, you need to set a welcoming vibe. Make people feel comfortable approaching you with questions. How do you do this?
Keep your office door open. I realize that you may need to close it from time to time, but try to keep it open more than you keep it closed. If it’s closed more than a few hours a day, you need to change something.
Pay attention to how you react when people walk in. Avoid closed, pushing body language. Don’t fold your arms when they walk in. Don’t lean away. Don’t look at your computer or phone. Look at them, lean forward, welcome them in. And most importantly, smile and make eye contact.
Get in the habit of making people feel welcome.
4. Bookmark this page and read it again every month
There's a ton of information packed in here. More than just what I’ve outlined in these four steps. Each time you read it, you’ll find something you missed, forgot, or didn’t pick up on. Leadership is deep and complex. It’s a skill like learning to play a musical instrument — it takes time and practice, and you’ll need a lot of repetition before you get everything down.
Come back and read again.
Be the charismatic leader people look up to
By now you’ve realized that charismatic leadership is a powerful way to lead your team and employees. When you get the balance right, you’ll find that people pay more attention to you. You’ll find that you get more respect. Your team will be more productive. You won’t need to micromanage people. They’ll trust you more and in turn you’ll have more trust in them.
It’s a win-win leadership style when you care about people and maintain that balance of authority of liking.
Follow this guide to becoming a charismatic leader and you’ll become the leader they look up to.
Article by Miles Whitney, Lifehack
Photo by Sarah Pflug from Burst