Freddie Mercury once said, “The reason we're successful darling, My overall charisma, of course!” Charismatic leaders are the most successful, the most respected and the most loved of all. You can enforce your leadership with a dictatorial style, you can ensure results with bureaucratic leadership and you can affect a relaxed work atmosphere with a laissez-faire style, but if you really want results and you want to be liked while you get things done, you have to be a charismatic leader!
A very famous quote about charisma reads, “Charisma is a sparkle in people that money can't buy. It's an invisible energy with visible effects”. Charisma is a quality that is associated with leaders, and is often said to be that one trait that is not necessary for effective leadership but can make all the difference in the world. You do not have to be a charismatic leader to be a good leader, but if you have charisma, you will be a great leader, a revered leader and above all, a memorable leader.
It has often been said that it is easy to impress other people, win their trust and loyalty, inspire their confidence and teamwork, but without charisma, it is difficult to be liked and the love and affection of people can only be gotten with personal charm, appeal and of course, charisma. Out of the various leadership styles and traits, charisma is the vaguest, least known quality. Charisma is intangible and cannot be confined to a fixed structural definition; it is an abstract energy, a magnetic appeal that draws others to you.
So what are the charismatic leader traits and how are they different from the regular, better known leadership qualities?
Don’t Just Lead, Be Liked
If charismatic leadership traits have to be narrowed down to a single defining characteristic, likeability tops the list. Those who know a little something about leadership already will know that you don’t necessarily have to win people’s votes in order to be able to lead them. Some of the most famous leaders in history have acquired that status through the use of brute force and sheer will. However, charismatic leaders do not force others to follow them or ask them to do so or even request loyalty: they earn it and they inspire it because they are just so darn likeable! Charismatic leaders are nice, fun, caring, passionate and empathetic people. A likeable leader is always going to be a great leader because the followers will choose to be a part of the team and will do so with gladness.
Care for Others Before You Care For Yourself
A good leader makes his followers feel good about him. A charismatic leader makes his followers feel good about themselves. The first and foremost trait of a charismatic leader is the ability to make people feel taken care of, appreciated, respected and above all, important. A charismatic leader is, before all else, genuinely interested in other people.
Celebrate Life, Inspire Enthusiasm
A significant charismatic leader trait is an unbeatable sense of enthusiasm and love for life. Charismatic leaders inspire others to be happy because they are happy themselves; they love life, they enjoy every moment of their work, they take pride in their responsibilities and they are full of energy. A charismatic leader is one who simply radiates joy, enthusiasm and passion. Charismatic leaders celebrate life in the smallest moments, and it is with this ‘joi de vivre’ that charismatic leaders win followers and support. It is very basic psychology really: happy people attract other people.
See the Best in People, Channel It
Charismatic leaders are set apart from others by the fact that they can immediately see the potential of other people, they appreciate the said potential and they know how to bring it out and put it to use. Charismatic leaders do not just focus on harnessing others’ potential; they truly appreciate it and place a high value on it. A charismatic leader is one who recognizes the strengths of others in the team, respects them, and is personally glad to have the opportunity to work with other talented people. Charismatic leaders are predisposed towards seeing the best in people and expecting the best from people. They set a high bar for everyone and have the faith that each person is going to meet the expectations. It has often been said that charismatic leaders show so much faith and confidence in their teams that the others are inspired to do their very best.
Deal In Hope
To quote Napoleon Bonaparte, “Leaders are dealers in hope”. Charismatic leaders are optimistic people: they expect the best, they look forward to positive results and invariably, they get great things done. Hope, is a defining feature of charismatic leaders, and not only do they have a ton of hope themselves, but more importantly, they spread it amongst others. Charismatic leaders understand that each person wants to do well and be successful and has a deep hope of achieving something in their lives, so they work hard to strengthen this hope and give people the positivity to dream big and believe they will be able to succeed. Charismatic leaders infuse people with optimism and passion and make a bright, fantastic goal seem like an achievable reality, each time.
Spread The Goodies
A very positive trait of charismatic leaders is that they are willing to share their strengths, experiences, skills and knowledge with others. Many leaders like to keep some aces up their sleeves, keep their skills to themselves and not empower others fully in an attempt to stay one step ahead always. Charismatic leaders, however, are not afraid of losing their leadership because they want to achieve the greater good and are happy to do so by enabling others to succeed both at an individual level and as a team. Thinking about others is the founding block of charismatic leadership, and so, charismatic leaders are always looking to share their resources and wisdom and findings with others.
In respect of these traits, it is worth noting that charismatic leaders are actually true servants of their followers: they aim to please, empower and enable their followers to do all they can to achieve all they can.