Leadership Qualities Week 2: Charisma

As I mentioned last week, I am working my way through John Maxwell’s The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader. For week two, the focus was Charisma, which Maxwell describes in the following way:

Charisma, plainly stated, is the ability to draw people to you.  And like other character traits, it can be developed.

To have Charisma, Maxwell state that you have to love life, put a “10” on every person’s head, give people hope, and share yourself.  He adds that the things that prevent us from having Charisma are pride, insecurity, moodiness, perfectionism, and cynicism.  He suggests the following three action items.

  1. Change your focus.
  2. Play the first impression game.
  3. Share yourself.

Charisma isn’t the first word someone would use to describe me.  I’m an introvert and have spent most of my career behind a computer screen.  I think that most of the people who have gotten to know me would say that I’m loyal and caring and that helping people is genuinely important to me.  BUT…  Charismatic I am not.  In fact, that’s how I would describe my husband.  With that in mind, I’ve decided to spend more than a week working on this quality.  IMHO, I have some serious work to do here.  Not just a little tweaking, but some serious development!  I’d like to end the second week of study with a clear plan on how I’m going to develop Charisma.  I’m not looking for miracles, but I really want to explore this issue and have a game plan.
I think I do pretty well at his third suggestion: share yourself.  Most of my life is dedicated to the serving of others either through work or through my ministries. I also actively seek new opportunities to share my time and talents with others.  I will, however, make an effort to pay attention to those opportunities and say yes more often!
The first–Change your focus–had to start with a little research.  I had to spend a few days evaluating my interactions with others.  I found that the focus of my interaction varied widely depending on the situation and my comfort level.  They averaged 50-50 focus on me and the other person, but in situations where I felt insecure, the focus clearly became me.  Odd huh?  You would think that the more insecure you are in a situation the less you would want focus on yourself.  Turns out that I was just more likely to respond rather than focus on pulling out the other person.  So…  Much needed work there!
I haven’t gotten to the second suggestion yet.  It requires meeting someone new, which I haven’t over the last week.  Maxwell recommends that when you meet someone new, you should make the effort to put a “10” on the person’s forehead.  Learn the person’s name.  Treat him/her as someone who is genuinely special.  Hopefully, as I embark on a new ministry Thursday, I will have the opportunity to try this one.
Here’s my game plan for this week:

  1. Research conversation techniques for introverts to overcome shyness/insecurity.
  2. Practice changing the focus of conversations to the person with whom I’m interacting.
  3. Meet new people!

I have to admit…  I’m skeptical that someone like me can learn Charisma, but John Maxwell’s leadership advice hasn’t failed me yet, so I’m going to give this my best effort.  Pray for me!  I’m going to need it!

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