Leadership Distinction #26: Charisma

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Leadership Distinction #26: Charisma

How to be consciously charismatic

If there is a leadership topic that draws the interest of everyone it is the art and practice of what draws the interest of one person toward another. Human attraction has many varieties and many purposes. Charisma is the particular variety that is central to the subject of leadership.

The Pragmatist philosopher Charles Sanders Peirce espoused that each of us approaches any other person — or object, for that matter — with their purposes fully engaged. We may not always be conscious of these purposes that control our observational lens, but they are there, like the most diligent of scouts.

At certain times your purpose may be to seek out a leader; at other times, to recruit a follower. What attracts you to any other person who may fit either bill is the alignment of mutual purposes. But sometimes the initially glittering characteristics of the person we are attracted to prove to be anything but golden.

Much has been written about the ‘curse of the charismatic leader’. And history is full of horrific examples that prove that ‘curse’ is not too strong a word to use for some results brought about by a few highly charismatic leaders. Some of these leaders misled others about their true intentions, but some notable ones were quite transparent about their desires and objectives.

Your ‘leadership attractiveness’ – your uniquely personal form of Charisma – will be assessed by the conscious and the unconscious purposes of potential followers. To prevent anything remotely negative from resulting, let alone anything we might think of so darkly as a ‘curse’, ensure that your purposes have integrity. Fulfilling that means your thoughts are aligned with your words, and your words are aligned with your actions. And all are as transparent as they can possibly be. That’s an attractive proposition.

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