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CEO Charisma: what is it? July 31, 2006

Posted by electrica in blog business tools, CEO blogs, CEO Videos, Video Blogging.

Here’s a comment I posted on CEO Blog – Time Management by Jim Estill, CEO – SYNNEX Canada Ltd.

The topic of one of his posts was executive charisma. He questioned whether he really had much charisma. I’d say he’s probably got plenty, because you have to have some charisma to lead such a successful and prosperous corporation.

Charisma can come across in a text blog, I suppose, to an extent.  But a CEO Video blog post can really communicate your charisma, personality, and vision.

Charisma is suddenly a vital topic to me, since I’ve gotten into video blogging and CEO videos.

What is charisma? Does it necessarily mean extroverted, wild-eyed, pulpit pounding enthusiasm, gushing charm and a twinkle in the eye?

I doubt it. I think there are many types of charisma, including a gentle, soothing, calm, shy, and introspective manner.

I point you to the book Credibility: How Leaders Gain and Lose It, Why People Demand It — by James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner.

Kouzes is chairman emeritus of the Tom Peters Company.

According to their research, constituents seek (1) Honest (2) Forward-looking (visionary) (3) Inspiring (4) Competent (5) Fair minded (6) Supportive…(etc.) leadership.

Where does charisma fit into this scheme? The word “charisma” is not even found in the index of the book.

Thus, I think charisma is a blend of the 6 qualities above, especially being Visionary in an Inspiring manner.

How you portray these qualities is up to you, or any other CEO.

According to Websters New World Dictionary, “charisma” is (1) a divinely inspired gift or talent, as for prophesying, healing, etc. (2) a special quality of leadership that inspires great popular allegiance.

I personally think you can have charisma, even when few follow you, and your organization is not doing very well, for reasons that are not your fault. I think of Socrates, Buddha, Jesus, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Martin Luther King, Jr., Abe Lincoln, Tim Berners-Lee, Jason Calacanis, Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, heck, even The Beatles…

Did they have “charisma”? As we commonly think of it?

Or did they have a burning passion for an idea that simply had to come to pass through their efforts and leadership?

How much of their lifelong achievement was due to charisma?

To me, charisma is passion, dedication, and a unique, warm personality that inspires others to follow cheerfully and expectantly.



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