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Posts Tagged ‘engagement’

Extensive research and numerous studies examining the benefits of charisma confirm that people with high levels of charisma are happier, healthier, enjoy more success in their chosen careers and possess increased resilience to the challenges and difficulties that life presents. If the advantages of charisma are so appealing, why then do the majority of organisations shy away from developing the charismatic potential of their leadership team?

An undesirable attribute
There are people who subscribe to the theory that charisma can not be taught, you either have it or you don’t. Other people perceive charisma as a form of psychological bondage that poses an inherent risk for their organisation. I remember when our Business Development Director had a meeting with a major High Street Financial Institution. During the presentation he was a little surprised when their HR Director asked: “Do we really want charismatic leaders?” Charisma can trigger a strong negative reaction because of the legacy left by disgraced and selfish charismatic leaders. Remember the public outcry about the former CEO of Royal Bank of Scotland, Fred Goodwin, media publisher, Robert Maxwell and disgraced jewellery tycoon, Gerald Ratner?
Even when an organisation’s charismatic leader has proved to be an asset to the organisation, what happens to the business after the leader has moved on? How would the public and investors of the Virgin Empire react if Richard Branson exited his connection with the Virgin brand? The former CEO of Sainsbury’s – Justin King optimised his charisma and created a tripling of profits during his ten year tenure. Yet on the day he resigned almost £400 million pounds was wiped off of Sainsbury’s share value. Little wonder that corporate values across the world rarely feature charisma as a desirable leadership competency.

The dark side of charisma
This corporate prejudice against charisma pales into insignificance when looking at the impact of charisma on an entire nation. Historical writer and documentary maker Laurence Rees produced a disturbing 3 part series -The Dark Charisma – based on Adolf Hitler, an awkward, dysfunctional man who developed a level of charismatic attraction almost without parallel in history. Memories of Hitler sends many subconscious messages that charisma is an evil manipulator and highly dangerous when possessed by a meglamaniac. Adolf Hitler was without question an extraordinarily charismatic presenter. Certainly in terms of his rise to power, his personal charisma was one of the most effective tools that he used to tap into the collective psyche of the German people. The Harvard Business Review published an interesting view from Dr Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic , international authority in personality profiling and psychometric testing. Dr Premuzic argues that, amongst other things, charisma disguises psychopaths, distracts and destructs, and is responsible for ‘downgrading leadership to just another form of entertainment’. Whilst I disagree with much of Dr Premuzic’s article, it is well written, and certainly mirrors the distrust that the business community seems to have about charismatic leaders. This sweeping generalisation that some individuals may use their charismatic presence inappropriately, often prevents corporations from taking charisma seriously. Whilst I concur that charisma can be used for good, or for evil – that distinction need not prevent an individual or their organisation from benefiting from what is a genuine competitive advantage. As with any soft skill, there is a mantle of responsibility inherently implied for the charismatic leader.

Charisma increases success
Today most leaders, acknowledge that a charismatic leader appears to effortlessly attract loyal and supportive followship. Charismatic leaders attract more publicity and more attention from outside groups as well as exerting a strong (albeit invisible) bond with their organisation’s workforce. Numerous studies and experiments have been conducted that prove conclusively that charismatic leaders are more successful. According to many different credible research sources* Charismatic Leaders, outperform their non-charismatic peers by an average of 60%.

Charisma improves engagement
Charismatic Leaders build higher levels of workforce engagement and there is a proven link between double-digit growth and high engagement levels. The Cremer and Knippenberg report, published in the Journal of Applied Psychology, 2002, used scenario experiments, cross-sectional surveys and laboratory studies to prove that inspirational and charismatic leaders had a stronger effect on cooperation than their non-charismatic counterparts. Charismatic leaders affect both their followers and the organisational culture. They are capable of altering workforce attitudes, beliefs and motivation, making changes that are not easily implemented through conventional leadership approaches alone.

Charisma and talent
A 2014 survey that analyses employment trends* revealed that attracting the right talent and skills as biggest challenges for employers over the next decade. Great people want to work for great leaders. The greatest differentiator among the organisations of the future will be the ability to build world-class capability and skills. The war for talent exists at all levels of an organisation and charismatic leaders are more effective with attracting and retaining talent because they enjoy better quality relationships. It’s little wonder that the leader who possesses most charisma also has a natural tendency to attract followers who are the crème de la crème of talent. Mark Carney, the Canadian who took over as the governor of The Bank of England in July 2013 has a movie-star brand of charisma that has seen people’s perceptions towards Canadians move from zeros to heroes in the UK. People are now queuing up to work for the trendy and eco-friendly Carney who has transformed the staid Bank of England culture into a genuinely exciting and collaborative place to work.

Charisma and resilience
The belief that leaders have the endless stamina, ideas, and skills it takes to deliver success year after year is an old fashioned fallacy. Today’s Leaders have to be able to bounce back, cope, renew, and revitalise. They need to be tough. They need to be resilient. There are two related issues with regards to resilience. Firstly, a passion for excellence can take them only so far; leaders will burn out if their physical, emotional and mental limitations are ignored. A recent study by Korn-Ferry found that 90% of leaders were let go due to physical or mental conditions that impaired their leadership effectiveness. Secondly, organisational changes planned without consideration for the impact on the human condition, will not only cause current leadership to falter, but they will also cause the next crop of leaders to be inefficient and ultimately everyone will suffer. Charismatic leaders possess more natural resilience because they are ultimately more authentic and more ‘heart’ focussed. They tend to have high self worth and greater self awareness. It takes less energy to be yourself than it does to be the person you think others expect you to be. Charismatic leaders place more importance on heart count rather than head count efficiency. You can read more about why charisma naturally builds high levels of resistance in chapter five.

Charisma and health
Charismatic people have a positive acceptance about themselves and often have the same positive belief in others. This provides the ideal inner environment for developing our potential and the qualities of charisma. Because charismatic leaders are more comfortable in their own skin, they operate in synchronicity with their immune system and consequently their health. When we feel good our brain releases chemicals such as serotonin and oxytocin that perpetuate this feeling of balance and strengthens our immune system and ensures good health. When we feel stressed, our hypothalamus, a tiny region at the base of our brain sets off an internal alarm system. Cortisol is released into our system and activates our fight or flight response. Cortisol is not supposed to remain in our system for long because it alters immune system responses and suppresses the digestive, reproductive and growth systems. When we experience long term stress at work our whole system becomes anxious, paranoid and fearful. Our job is then literally killing us. Consequently charismatic leaders tend to be healthier when compared to their less charismatic peers.

What is charisma?
How can you develop your own charisma without knowing exactly what it is? During general and everyday communication, different words mean different things to different people. Certain phrases trigger a strong emotional response in some people yet not in others. So imagine the variety and scope of meanings people can attribute to something as abstract and intangible as charisma? When I don’t understand the meaning of a particular word, a quick look at the online dictionary gives me instant clarity and understanding. So at first glance, Wikipedia and The Oxford Dictionary both describe charisma as a compelling attractiveness or charm that can inspire devotion in others and a divinely conferred power or talent. As you then start to explore under the surface of what charisma really means, you’ll find a multitude of leadership experts, scholars, sociologists, organisational psychotherapists, coaches and gurus, who give numerous and contradictory views on defining charisma.

Defining charisma
In 1947, renowned German sociologist, Max Weber, categorised leadership into three styles and defined the charismatic style as a certain quality of an individual personality, by virtue of which one is ‘set apart’ from ordinary people and treated as endowed with supernatural, superhuman, or at least specifically exceptional powers or qualities. These as such are not accessible to the ordinary person, but are regarded as divine in origin or as exemplary, and on the basis of them the individual concerned is treated as a leader. Webers choice of language is very provocative; ‘supernatural’ ‘superhuman’ ‘exceptional’. These words immediately place charisma into the scarcity box because how many people do we know who we could describe using those three words? Weber perceived charisma as a set of traits or distinguishing qualities, such as being visionary, energetic, unconventional and exemplary. This view contrasts with studies by Professor of Organisational Behaviour, Robert House, who determined in 1977 that charisma is a set of behaviours. House cited behaviours, such as exhibiting high levels of self-confidence, persistence, determination, passion and optimism. More recently, the theory that charisma is created from different component parts or behaviours and can be learned and perfected by anyone is cited by Olivia Fox Cabane in her book, The Charisma Myth. In 1995, Fernando Molero, an expert researcher in charisma and Transformational Leadership proposed a new classification of charisma, based on Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalysis. This stated that charisma is the individual’s ego, driven by a desire to become a dominant father figure. Another refreshingly different perspective is offered by Gerry Spence, renowned US trial lawyer who describes charisma as energy from the heart zone. Dr Tony Alessandra, Leadership Motivator, plays it safe with his definition that charisma is an ability to influence others positively by connecting with them physically, emotionally and intellectually. The more I searched for a definitive definition of charisma the more confused I felt. Looking closely at the Robert House/Olivia Fox Cabane definition means that you would need to improve your charisma by developing different charismatic behaviours. Yet what if these – charismatic behaviours – are not aligned with who you truly are inside? If on the other hand you accept Max Weber’s definition then you have to accept that you either have this ‘super power’ or it’s game over for you on the charisma front.

Seeking a relevant definition
Each and every one of us has the potential to be both charismatic and uncharismatic. Because we recognise and understand this shared inconsistency in others, charisma can be really hard to define. Understanding and defining charisma becomes easier when we understand what it is not. Charismatic Leadership will be effective, both in the short and long term. Uncharismatic Leadership will be most effective in the short term (as anybody who has ever needed to get a teenage son or daughter out of the house to a tight deadline will testify), but it won’t captivate hearts and minds. Charisma is not confidence, you don’t need to have a big maverick personality to possess it. Charisma is not charm and it does not appear with trained communication skills. In 2008 Alan Chapman, owner of a free online educational resource – BusinessBalls and I ran a competition for six months to encourage business people to submit their own definition of charisma. From the hundreds of responses we gathered, I became even more aware that charisma meant different things to different people and that I needed to create my own definition.

Learning from charismatic icons
I studied the behaviours of four charismatic icons who had been filmed in many different situations. These individuals, in my view, exhibited extremely high levels of charisma. I began looking for behavioural similarities. This proved to be a challenge. Margaret Thatcher used eye contact as a decisive, authoritative tool, whilst many of Elvis Presley’s most memorable performances were sung with his eyes closed. Martin Luther King spoke of peace with inflamed passion. Muhammad Ali, who made his name in an aggressive sport, spoke quickly with wit, humour and fast animated hand gestures. Thatcher and Ali both raved about their successes, regularly playing to the crowd, whilst King’s oratories appeared ignited with religious fervour and powerful metaphors. I noticed that Presley, often appeared humble and awkward when he wasn’t ‘performing’ especially during interviews when he stumbled over his choice of words. This gave me my first clue to the theory that charisma is contextual. Someone might be extremely charismatic in one context yet possess no charisma in another. My initial theory that any individual will become charismatic simply by replicating specific charismatic behaviours was completely wrong. As these charismatic icons demonstrate, they each show their charisma using different types of behaviours. Charismatic people stand out not because of their behaviours, but because of something innate within them that commands and compels our attention.

An inside out approach
Inspired by Louise Hay, renowned author and lecturer on the impact of thoughts on the body (‘when we really love ourselves, everything in our life works’), I began exploring whether charisma can be developed by adopting an ‘inside–out’ perspective. In other words, the external behaviours exhibited by charismatic people are a – ‘reaction to’ – or an – ‘effect of’ – an internal cause. I started looking at the inside causes of external charismatic effects. This eventually lead me to identify my blueprint for becoming more charismatic. Expanding on this principle, charismatic people are generally passionate about what they do yet each charismatic person manifests their passion in their own unique way. Martin Luther King’s body language, including his facial expressions, were relatively low key during his famous – I have a Dream – speech. His biblical cadences, the evocative pictures he painted and his evangelical delivery were the behaviours that indicated the passion he felt. Contrast these behaviours with those that Muhammad Ali demonstrated when speaking of his passion to win before a big fight. Ali would talk quickly with high energy and paint pictures with his hands. His varied vocal range was varied and sprinkled with lots of commanding tonality. Both Martin Luther King and Muhammad Ali were passionate about their subject yet each man expressed their passion with different behaviours. Imagine if Muhammad Ali tried to emulate Martin Luther King’s behaviours? It’s likely he would have appeared fake and lacking in authenticity. Charismatic people speak with their heart and soul. If you try to emulate Martin Luther King or any other charismatic individual you admire, you are effectively putting on a mask that causes you to emulate behaviours that are not necessarily a reflection of the real authentic you. This immediately dilutes your emotional intensity and inhibits the flow of your natural charisma. If you are not behaving in alignment with who you truly are, then others will unconsciously or consciously sense – something just isn’t right about you – and they will disconnect from you emotionally.

My definition of charisma

I define charisma as an authentic power that captivates the hearts and minds of others. To put it another way, when you are being you, and you love what you do – you shine. This definition begins to explain why charisma is contextual. The charismatic individual who shines in a career context can be almost invisible in a social or home environment. A performer or a politician may dazzle when they are in the public eye, because what they are doing is important to them. Put them in another setting and they merge to become one of the crowd. If the late Martin Luther King was asked to deliver a speech on boxing, would his passion, authenticity and charisma have shone through in the same way? This definition differs from the stereotypical view in two key ways. I do not believe that an extrovert or having a ‘big personality’ is a pre-requisite to being charismatic. On the contrary. The single most important factor that determines an individual’s charisma is the extent that they are able to ‘captivate hearts and minds’. Often you’ll find that quietly confident, introverted people are every bit as charismatic as their more self-publicising counterparts.

This view is supported by a study reported in Business Week showing that a more reserved style of introverted leaders can actually inspire better performance in followers. Researchers Adam Grant of the Wharton School, Francesca Gino of Harvard Business School, and David Hofmann at the University of North Carolina found that if the employees are an extroverted, proactive bunch by nature, the team will perform better under the leadership of an introvert than under an extrovert. The study goes on to explain that introverted leaders are more likely to take a team approach to problem-solving and to let talented team members spread their wings.

Within my own experience I am sure that we can all think back to leaders, managers, teachers or mentors who have patiently drawn out our opinions, encouraged our creativity and have genuinely valued and shown appreciation for our contributions to the achievement of a collective goal. These people may not all have met the regulation blueprint of a charismatic leader, but they managed to ‘captivate our hearts and minds’ none-the-less. When we think of charismatic and introverted people who have had enormous impact on the world – there are many examples. Mahatma Ghandi, Meryl Streep, Steve Jobs, Albert Einstein, Princess Diana and even Robbie Williams, often showed a quiet vulnerability that somewhat disproves the claim that you need to be an extrovert to be charismatic.

Charisma and authenticity
The key to charisma is authenticity. One of the most exciting television projects I did was as an Official Political Commentator for Aljazeera during the 2010 live UK election debates. Working with the Professor of British Politics (who was required to commentate on the leaders’ policies), my role was to commentate on their authenticity and charisma. I remember watching Gordon Brown as his insecurities around being pitted against his two younger adversaries were demonstrated in the form of aggressive and often rude behaviour. Shortly afterwards I watched Gordon give his resignation speech that he had written himself. As he spoke from his heart, his warmth and ‘humanness’ shone through and I wondered why he had not just been himself during ‘The Lives’. In business, as in politics, alarm bells start to ring when a leader’s ‘from the heart’ emotional response seems a bit too coached. I remember watching Tony Blair in 1997 as he announced the death of Princess Diana. I was filled with a sense that he was delivering a brilliant speech designed to tug at our heart strings. It felt a bit too contrived. When the words just don’t match with the body-language, and especially when our hard-wired unconscious mind just feels that there is something less than authentic about them, we will experience a negative reaction that we often can’t quite explain logically. This may well be why we love our sporting heroes to be charismatic in the absolute stereotypical –big, brash, confident, sense of the word! When Muhammad Ali, with absolute unshakeable self-confidence, stared down the camera and stated that he was ‘The Greatest’, we believed him, and we didn’t start looking for any hidden agendas, because there were none. I would go as far as to say that we expect our sporting heroes self-esteem to be developed close to the point of arrogance, otherwise it just doesn’t seem authentic. Unconsciously we question whether they have that all -important ‘will to win’. For me, Andy Murray won more fans for losing to Federer at Wimbledon in 2012, and letting us see just how much that loss hurt him, than he did by reversing the result several weeks later at The Olympics. Conversely, because we have a fundamental belief that politicians are – first and foremost -public servants, for us to see them as authentic, (and therefore charismatic), we need them to show far more humility than our ego driven sporting heroes. Our Political Leaders draw their charismatic appeal not from their displays of confidence or self-esteem, but from their vision, driving force and devotion to their mission or purpose. We believed in Nelson Mandela because he showed us, with his suffering and sacrifice, that he really cared. Nobody could ever doubt that Ghandi wasn’t passionate about the plight of his people, or that Martin Luther King not only had a dream, but that he totally believed in it.
In business, the leaders that we recognise as being truly charismatic have the ability to walk that fine line between letting us see that they possess huge drive to be successful, whilst at the same time, demonstrating an appreciation and understanding of their ethical and social responsibilities. The really interesting thing is that, in business, as in politics and sport, at the point when a charismatic leader ceases to be authentic, at the moment when he or she fails to connect at an emotional level, their charisma is lost, and the spell is broken.
If an individual lacks authenticity, if they don’t mean what they say, they will dilute the strength of their character and consequently the strength of their charisma. Some individuals compensate for their lack of internal and external congruency by over developing their external charm. If you try to emulate any other charismatic individual you are effectively acting and wearing a mask of charisma.Whatever external mask you choose to wear, if it doesn’t reflect the genuine, authentic ‘you’ this will automatically convey a superficial aspect to your personality. The only way to be truly charismatic is to be authentic and speak from your heart.

Heart felt communication
In our western culture, many of the leaders that I have worked with feel uncomfortable when they see that part of my charisma definition mentions – heart – . Many organisations already have strong and robust processes in place to build employee engagement. Leadership teams are generally good at winning the – minds – of their people. Engagement and motivation are emotional responses, an unconscious as well as conscious desire to work with heart and soul for the benefit of their leader and their organisation. When leaders cannot communicate with their heart, and find difficult to express their emotional side, they generally struggle to build engagement, and often encounter even more resistance to changed ways of working. Heartfelt communication triggers serotonin and oxytocin – chemicals that naturally increases empathy, feeling good and trust.

Charisma and the vagus nerve
There is a scientific explanation that explains why some leaders can evoke a strong positive emotional response and attract massive followship. The vagus nerve is a bundle of nerves that originates in the top of the spinal cord. It activates different organs throughout the body (such as the heart, lungs, liver and digestive organs). When active, it is likely to produce that feeling of warm expansion in the chest—for example, when we are moved by someone’s goodness or when we appreciate a beautiful piece of music. Neuroscientist Stephen W. Porges of the University of Illinois at Chicago refers to the vagus nerve as the nerve of compassion. This is because it stimulates certain muscles in the vocal chamber, enabling communication and it reduces the heart rate to promote a feeling of calm. Studies suggests that there is a connection with oxytocin, a neurotransmitter involved in trust and empathy. Consequently, the vagus nerve is associated with feelings of caretaking and the ethical intuition that humans from different social groups (even adversarial ones) share a common humanity. People who have high vagus nerve activation in a resting state, are more likely to be altruistic, compassionate, feel gratitude, love and happiness. Genuine charisma boosts the vagus nerve activators and draw people towards them without effort in an almost unconscious manner.

Classical economic theory is not enough
In a sense I agree with experts who say that charisma cannot be taught because charisma is a already within all of us. You don’t have to become someone different to become more charismatic. You just need to re-connect with who you really are inside and you’ll instantly light up like a Christmas Tree. Think about the attention a tiny baby creates. As we grow up, we learn how to play different roles that make it harder for us to remember the charisma we have inside. We wear different ‘faces’ to mask how we really feel. “I’m fine” is the biggest lie that millions of people tell every day. I once read a report about a high powered city business woman who has extensive Botox specifically so she can look neutral in meetings, fearing that her emotions may betray what she really feels inside. This struck me as intensely sad. In some corporate arenas, it’s not politically correct to show any emotion, in fact, some business people see emotion as a sign of weakness. Emotions play a far greater role in determining business outcomes across industries than many executives grasp as Gallup research continues to demonstrate. Classical economic theory says people make decisions each day by processing a set of objective information based on a rational economic model. In contrast Daniel Kahneman, senior scientist in the field of behavioural economics acknowledges that human beings are not entirely rational in their decision making. Those organisations who understand the role emotions play in predicting outcomes will ultimately perform better. Charismatic leaders emotionally engage their people because they are comfortable with engaging their own emotional responses.

Remembering who we truly are
The good news is that in order to increase your charisma you don’t need to learn anything new. You simply have to feel comfortable being you, connect with your emotions and find purpose and personal meaning in your everyday work. This may sound simplistic because it takes real courage to remain fundamentally true to who we really are inside – with every individual we meet – and in every context. Years of environmental conditioning often stops us from allowing our softer and therefore, more vulnerable side to show. Once we start to honour our true self we experience a feeling of euphoria at the sheer sensation of being alive. And in the same way that we never forget how to ride a bike this feeling of bliss is our birthright, it is a natural state that is within all of us, just waiting to be awakened.

Charisma -  heart felt communication

As I travel around the country speaking within organisations, and increasingly these days, at CEO groups, I regularly come across leaders who feel ’less than comfortable’ when they see the part of my charisma definition that mentions ‘heart’. Many organisations already have strong and robust processes in place to build employee engagement, and leadership teams who are generally good at winning the ‘minds’ of their people. However, engagement and motivation are primarily emotional responses – an unconscious deep-seated desire to work with heart and soul for the benefit of our leader and our group. When leaders cannot communicate with their heart, and find it difficult to express their emotional side, they generally struggle to create emotional engagement and often encounter far more resistance to change than they really need to.

There is a scientific explanation that supports why leaders who evoke a positive emotional response attract followship. The vagus nerve is a bundle of nerves originating at the top of the spinal cord. It activates responses in different organs throughout the body (such as the heart, lungs, liver and digestive system). When active, it is likely to produce that feeling best described as a warm expansion of the chest – for example when we feel moved by someone’s goodness, or when we appreciate a particularly beautiful piece of music. Neuroscientist Stephen W. Porges of the University of Illinois in Chicago refers to the vagus nerve as ‘the nerve of compassion’. This is because it stimulates certain muscles in the vocal chamber enabling communication, and at the same time reduces the heart rate to promote a feeling of calm. Other studies suggest that there is a connection with the vagus nerve and oxytocin, a neurotransmitter associated with trust and maternal bonding. Consequently the vagus nerve is largely responsible for feelings of caretaking and the ethical intuition that humans from different social groups (even adversarial ones) share in common. People who have high vagus nerve activation in a resting state are more likely to be altruistic, compassionate, and feel gratitude, love and happiness. More likely in fact, to feel emotionally engaged.

I read a report recently about a high-powered city businesswoman who has had extensive botox treatment specifically so that she can look ‘neutral’ in meetings – fearing that her emotions may betray what she really feels inside. It struck me as intensely sad that, still, in some corporate arenas, it is not politically correct to show any emotion – any sign of weakness.

The good news is that in order to increase your charisma you don’t need to learn anything new, or employ devices or tactics to mask your feelings. You simply have to feel comfortable being you, embrace your ability to connect with your emotions, and do what you really love doing! Although this sounds simplistic, years of environmental conditioning stops us from allowing our softer and therefore more vulnerable side to show. It takes real courage to remain fundamentally true to who we really are inside, but if we allow people to see the real us, the results can be amazing.

“Charisma is an authentic power that captivates the hearts and minds of others.”

Nikki Owen, Founder of The Charisma Model Programme

Quantum Physics explains disengagement

I felt extremely honoured last week when Matthew Bent, Managing Director of Bents  – one of the UK’s Top 5 Garden Centres  –  acknowledged our very own Big Apple Experiment as the inspiration behind the launch of The Great Plant Experiment.

The Cheshire based garden & home centre has set up an experiment that aims to subject two sets of plants to very different emotions. Half the plants will be ‘loved’ with kind words and happy thoughts, whilst the remaining plants will be subjected to ‘hateful’ conditions and harsh words, whilst all other conditions such as watering and fertilization will be exactly the same.

Matthew Bent says that he had the idea for The Great Plant Experiment after attending a Chief Executives Group Masterclass that I was running on Charisma. During the Masterclass I was using the ‘One bad apple spoils the barrel‘ idiom in relation to employee engagement – citing research by AON Hewitt that showed that it takes 4 fully engaged employees to counteract the negative impact of one disengaged and disconnected colleague. I explained that The Big Apple Experiment was created to demonstrate how our negative emotions can accelerate the rate of decay in an apple, and Matthew was pretty astonished by the results!

For the last few years that we have been running The Big Apple Experiment I am regularly asked how it works. Whilst I obviously have my own theory, I generally do my best not to get drawn into any attempt at a scientific explanation – I am not a scientist. On the odd occasion when I have made the mistake of trying to explain how – for over 75% of the people that try the experiment – their thoughts and emotions create a visible difference in the rate of decay of an apple, I have to admit that it even sounded a bit like pseudo-science to me! The great news however, is that all of this may soon be changing!

I am currently reading a fascinating new book, written by a real scientist, which appears to offer an explanation as to how The Big Apple Experiment works. The Honeymoon Effect – The Science of creating heaven on earth – by cellular biologist Bruce Lipton PhD explains the influence of quantum physics, biochemistry and psychology in creating and sustaining loving relationships. Bruce Lipton is a cellular biologist who taught at the University of Wisconsin’s School of Medicine, and later performed pioneering studies at Stanford University.  He is now an internationally recognised leader in bridging science and spirit, and a leading voice in new biology.

In his book, Bruce Lipton explains that what quantum physics teaches us is that everything we thought was physical is not physical. Instead everything in this Universe is made out of immaterial energy, and everything radiates energy. It is a given fact of science that every atom and every molecule both radiates and absorbs light( energy), and because all organisms are made out of atoms and molecules, you and I and every living thing ( including apples), are radiating and absorbing energy (vibrations =‘vibes’).

To explain the difference between ‘good vibes’, and ‘bad vibes’, he describes the action of dropping two rocks of the same size, from the same height, into a pond. At the point that the ripples made by each rock converge, the power of the ‘entangled’ energy waves is amplified, and the height of the now combined waves is greater that the heights of the individual ripples that gave rise to them. This phenomenon, explaining the science behind ‘good vibes’ is known as constructive interference. Lipton then goes on to explain that if the rocks are dropped out of sync, they will create ripples /energy waves that are not in harmony. This energy will not amplify the power of the out-of-phase-waves. It will in fact dissipate it. This phenomenon of cancelling energy is called destructive interference, and it describes the energetic effect of ‘bad vibes’.

I believe this little bit of science goes some way to explaining why it takes 4 fully engaged employees to counteract the destructive interference of one disengaged colleague. I believe that it may well explains why ‘one bad apple spoils the barrel’ and why, when focusing hate, anger, frustration, fear and the energy of destructive interference on one half of an apple, it will decay far more rapidly than the half that is subjected to the constructive interference called love.

When we ‘entangle’ with someone else’s energy, we want the interference to be constructive (good vibes) not destructive (bad vibes). We want the interaction to increase our energy, as well as theirs, not deplete it. I believe that this is why living, and working, in harmony is, scientifically proven’ to be so much better for us all. When we access our natural state of charisma we enable our energy to constructively interfere with others. That’s why charismatic people have such a positive impact on our energy levels.

A report by Hilary Osbourne in today’s Guardian reveals that British workers are feeling less secure and more pressured at work than at any time in the past 20 years, with pay cuts and diminished control over their jobs among the biggest concerns.

The Economic and Social Research Council and the UK Commission for Employment and Skills six-yearly survey into employee wellbeing interviewed more than 3,000 workers aged between 20 and 60 in 2012. For the first time since 1997, public sector workers were more concerned about losing their jobs than those in the private sector. The research showed that job stress has gone up and job-related wellbeing has gone down since 2006. People reported working harder, with both the speed of work and pressures of working to tight deadlines rising to record highs.

Interestingly however, the researchers said that employees were more content and less anxious about job or status loss “where employers adopted policies that gave employees a degree of involvement in decision-making at work”.

Prof Alan Felstead of the Cardiff School of Social Sciences, said: “The slowness with which employers in Britain are enhancing employee participation is becoming an issue of considerable concern.”

The Chartered Institute of Personal and Development said the survey made worrying reading. Peter Cheese, chief executive at the CIPD, said ,“What’s good for people is good for business, and if we can embrace that truth to build cultures in which people want to work and are unified by a common purpose, we can not only prevent catastrophes, we can truly build more sustainable economic growth.”

Elsewhere in the news this month, paragon of employee participation John Lewis announced their plan to offer it’s staff the chance to study for ‘degrees’ under a work based scheme dubbed “University of John Lewis”. The staff owned retailer plans to offer senior managers a level 6 vocational equivalent to an honours degree by the end of the year. Last year 1,330 John Lewis partners gained a retail diploma, with a third picking up a level 3 qualification, which is at a standard equivalent to A -Levels.

John Lewis personnel director, Laura Whyte, said “Our partners give us the competitive edge, and if we want them to stay with us for the long term, we need to make sure that they have the right skills to meet the challenges we face in an evolving retail environment.”

Unlike many of it’s rivals, Waitrose, the upmarket supermarket arm of the John Lewis Group, has benefitted from their clean bill of health during the recent horsemeat scandal, reporting an 11% increase in sales in the last three months. The retailer reports that customers trusted the stores over it’s competitors and that it had been winning shoppers from Tescos – one of the worst – affected grocers. According to the latest Kantar Worldpanel retail data, Waitrose market share grew to 4.9% in April, compared with 4.5% last year, gaining customers faster than Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons combined.

As an aside, leading London Estate Agents Foxtons have reported that the announcement of a new Waitrose store opening actually increases property prices in the location!

In an economic environment where most experts agree that employee wellbeing has been on the decline since 2006, it is good to see an organisation that is not only bucking the trend, but seems to be growing as a result of it’s investment in, and commitment to it’s people.

One can only speculate as to whether or not the way that this organisation looks after their people had any bearing on the fact that they were one of the very few that kept clear of the recent horsemeat scandal? All I know is that on balance, the more engaged, secure,valued and consulted we feel as employees ( or even better ‘partners’), the more likely we are to speak up when we see something in the workplace that is clearly wrong.

“I think we’re a business that has got a heart and soul, which we haven’t lost through the economic downturn, and we want to help our customers while being true to our principles.”
Mark Price, Managing Director, Waitrose UK Limited

Last Friday I had the privilege of speaking at The Public Sector People Managers Association’s Annual Conference in Bristol. The theme of The PPMA Conference was ‘Talent, Opportunity, Prosperity’. I was invited primarily because it was felt that the conference delegates, made up from HR and Learning and Development professionals representing a wide range of public sector bodies, including Government Departments, County Councils, the NHS, might be interested to hear how the private sector are increasingly recognising the importance of personal charisma within their leadership functions.

Speaking to several of the people attending, it came as no real surprise to hear that many of the issues and concerns facing business today are mirrored – and often magnified – in the Public Sector. Engagement, empowerment, recruiting and retaining the right talent, encouraging innovation and creative thinking, along with the perennial ‘doing more with less’, are clearly universal issues. Traditionally perhaps, particularly when we think of The NHS, we think of a workforce with a high percentage of individuals that are following their vocation, or calling. However, people highly motivated by a desire to serve, to help others, and to make a difference, are no less vulnerable when a survival mindset sweeps through an organisation. In fact, there is an argument to suggests that the more deeply that an individual cares about the quality of their output, the less able they are to roll with the punches when cutbacks, bureaucracy, and poor management decisions impact upon their ability to carry out their role to their own exacting standards.

For me, the importance of charismatic leadership is simple. I am sure that we will all be able to think back to people in our lives that have inspired and motivated us. Role models, teachers, bosses and mentors who believed in us –sometimes even more than we believed in ourselves. I can think back to times in my life when complete strangers – with no idea of the impact that they had on me – with a kind word or a smile, delivered at precisely the moment that I needed it most, made a huge difference to me and my ability to persevere and succeed. And the chances are, when we look back and think of the people that had the biggest positive impact upon us, and our worlds, we will remember them as charismatic.

The people that we see as charismatic possess, to our point of view, highly developed abilities in several, or all, of five internal attributes:

Self Esteem
• Sensory Awareness
• Driving Force
• Energy
• Vision

The chances are that the people that had the most significant positive impact in our lives did so because they happened to be there at a time when we were feeling a bit lost, exhausted, confused, or lacking in confidence or direction. It is entirely possible that if we were to go back and meet these people again now, we might not find them anywhere near as charismatic as they are in the pictures that we have painted in our memories. This is because, at the time that these inspirational, motivational, ‘agents of change’ came into our lives, their self-esteem was higher than ours was. Their sensory awareness and emotional intelligence was more tuned in than ours. Their energy, vision and driving force was far in excess of ours, not necessarily because it was especially high, but because, at that moment, ours was particularly low. To be remembered, by us, as charismatic, they only actually needed to be a bit more charismatic than we were!

The importance of charismatic leadership to organisations – whether they are Private or Public Sector – is this. If your organisation has a clear vision that you want your employees to follow, the quickest, simplest, most enjoyable, inspirational, rewarding and sustainable way to do it, (for both the organisation and the followers) is to employ charismatic leaders, or to develop the five internal attributes of the leaders that they’ve already got.

“Go to the people. Learn from them. Live with them.
Start with what they know. Build with what they have.The best of leaders when the job is done, when the task is accomplished, the people will say we have done it ourselves.”

Lao Tzu

” When we contribute to the common good, we ourselves are enriched. Compassion promotes happiness and will help build the future we want.”
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
 for the International Day of Happiness, 20 March 2013

I’m not sure if it made it onto your radar, but this week, at the High Level Meeting on ‘Happiness and Well-Being: Defining a New Economic Paradigm”, the General Assembly of the United Nations proclaimed 20 March the International Day of Happiness. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon stated that the world “needs to recognize the parity between social, economic and environmental well-being are indivisible,” and went on to state that “Together they define gross global happiness.” The meeting was convened at the initiative of The Buddhist Kingdom of Bhutan, a country which, most impressively, has recognised the supremacy of national happiness over national income since the early 1970s and famously adopted the goal of Gross National Happiness over Gross National Product!

As you would imagine there was some skepticism about whether the United Nations, which deals daily with the misery created by war and famine, and which, at the level of the Security Council, appears unable to resolve crises in Syria and elsewhere, really needed a Happiness Day. Le Monde grumpily noted that around 120 days a year were already set aside in the U.N. calendar to celebrate themes as diverse as jazz, migratory birds and rural women, and went on to write “This is either a way of trivializing happiness, or of suggesting that one day’s happiness a year is enough -sacré bleu!

There have been many academic studies of happiness carried out in recent years, with findings acknowledging a definite link between happiness and economic prosperity. A WIN-Gallup International poll of global hope and happiness revealed in December that gloom was subsiding worldwide amid optimism about economic recovery, with Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Brazil rating as the Top 3 Most Hopeful Countries. It should be noted that countries in Western Europe were well represented in the ‘Top 10 Most Gloomy Countries’, with the UK scoring marginally better than Germany, and substantially better than France!

In terms of organisations it seems clear that the same dynamics apply. According to a series of studies carried out by Joyce Bono, Organizational Psychologist at The University of Minnesota, and published under the title Charisma, positive emotions and mood contagion, charismatic leaders build happier, and more successful working relationships. The report goes on to suggest that charismatic leaders love life, and are celebrators, not complainers.

Now normally I would be the first to celebrate any reports, surveys or research that flies the flag for charisma, but on this occasion, I think perhaps we are missing the point: It’s not so much that charismatic people are happier – it’s far simpler than that. Happy people are more charismatic.

At a cellular level we have just two operating mechanisms; we survive, or we grow. A cell can only be in one mechanism at a time, and as the study of Epigenetics shows us, cells receive the signals to either operate in ‘survival’ or ‘growth’ mode entirely from their environment, and when we are talking about the cells in our body, that environment means us. In a growth mindset – one where we feel safe, valued, inspired, supported (happy) – we stimulate all manner of ‘feel good’ life-enhancing hormones like serotonin and oxytocin that naturally repair and energise our cells, promoting growth. When we feel fear, anxiety, threatened, (unhappy) however, our bodies stimulate Cortisol, a stress hormone that causes the gated membranes in our cell walls to ‘clam up’ and close down. If a cell is in survival mode it is not growing. Long-term exposure to stress hormones damages and kills cells.

According to numerous research studies including papers from Harvard Business Review and The Lausanne University, charismatic people are more successful, happier, healthier and enjoy better relationships. At a cellular level then, charismatic people are in growth mode, which is co-incidentally, exactly the same place that the cells of happy people operate from. This means that if you are looking to develop your own natural charisma, then a good place to start might be to put on a happy face.

When you smile your body is sending itself the message “life is good!”

Smiling is a natural happiness drug. Smiling releases pleasure hormones called endorphins, natural painkillers and antidepressant hormones such as serotonin. Smiling reduces stress and boosts your immune system. Smiling actually makes you look younger, attractive, confident and successful. When you smile you’ll find you feel more positive and optimistic. Your thoughts will naturally turn to the positives in your life. You’ll find it harder to think negative thoughts while you’re smiling. Research has linked smiling to happiness, optimism, successful marriages, good health and positive longevity…. a bit like charisma.

‘You notice the person who has it. You’re aware of a special quality and though you can’t define it, you know what it is. It’s charisma.’

Last week my attention was drawn to an Insight Report, which you may have seen, carried out by Hay Group in 2012. The report examines annual engagement and enablement levels within 1,610 organisations – representing an extraordinary 5,000,000 employees worldwide – and it concludes that over the past few years we have seen employee engagement across the world decline or stagnate at 2008 levels. This is happening at the very point when organizations around the world really need to deliver better performances than ever.

I guess I must be getting a little immune to reading about ‘worrying levels of engagement’, and I think it is the scale of this particular report that made me sit up and take notice. Apparently more than 44% of the global workforce intends to leave their employees within five years, and more that 21% are intending to leave within two years. These statistics are set against a difficult world economy and depressed job market that must be having a significant impact on reducing employee mobility and churn. Clearly there is now a build up of restlessness and frustration, which as the report suggests, is likely to result in a dramatic rise in staff mobility if there is so much as a small improvement in the labour market. Very often it is the best performing workers who are prepared to vote with their feet if their organization doesn’t give them what they need to deliver.

The report concluded that lack of engagement was not the only problem. It also revealed that more than a third of employees reported that they are unable to perform optimally, with an average of 33 per cent of workers claiming that barriers put in place by the organization are preventing them from excelling at work.

“There is a stubborn gap between the discretionary effort employees across the world are willing to put into their work and the level of support available to help them excel. For organizations looking to harness the full productivity of their workforce, leaving this pool of motivation untapped is a wasted opportunity. To truly drive productivity, business leaders must understand the role they have to play in enabling high levels of performance – removing the barriers that are holding their employees and their organizations back.”

Mark Royal, Senior Principal, Hay Group Insight

“Removing Barriers” has been The Primary Objective what we do with The Charisma Model Programme since 2008. For the last 5 years we have been helping individuals, within organisations, to recognize and then choose to remove the barriers to engagement, empowerment, high performance and growth that they have consciously and unconsciously created.

From a very young age we each of us learn how to put up walls to protect ourselves from harm, failure, embarrassment, hurt and a host of other perceived potential negative emotions and experiences. Very often these walls become so effective that we become so comfortable living within them, we begin to fear ‘stepping outside’.

We believe that if an organization is truly looking to “remove the barriers that are holding their employees back’, they must first recognize that, in the vast majority of cases, the stuff that stops us from reaching our full potential – both as individuals and as organisations – is not lack of skill or lack of knowledge. The barriers that blocks our success often have nothing to do with any problems with the quantity or quality of our output, or even the way that we organize our time and resources. The walls that we just can’t seem to climb over, or smash through are held deep within our values and belief systems – and very often they are so deeply held within our subconscious that we are not even consciously aware that they are there, getting in our way.

“The potential of the average person is like a huge ocean unsailed, a
new continent unexplored, a world of possibilities waiting to be
released and channeled toward some great good.”

Brian Tracy

Last week our Business Development Director had a meeting with a major High Street Financial Institution. During his presentation of our Charisma Model Programme he was a little surprised when their HR Director asked: “Do we really want charismatic leaders?” After a bit of exploration it became clear that the question was raised out of a very real concern – in the aftermath of ‘Fred the Shed’ (and arguably Bob Diamond) – that powerful, forceful leaders, with the ability to inspire followers headfirst into potentially reckless and out-of-control actions, might well have had their day.

As is my way, I found myself asking, so what’s the alternative then? Are our Financial Institutions now so full of fear that they would actually prefer to appoint ‘uncharismatic leaders’? Would they really feel safer appointing leaders that were powerless and ineffective? Perhaps they would be more comfortable limiting leadership’s ability to inspire strictly to average – or better still, just below average. That way The Board would never again be put at risk of feeling stirred into foolhardy decisions by some dangerously maverick leader. And if they appointed somebody really uncharismatic, somebody who could carry out his (or her) duties without drawing too much attention to themselves, then all of the bad publicity about (what many would deem to be) outrageous bonuses might just go away….

For the rest of us however, the benefits of ‘uncharismatic leadership’ are less clear. For me, the definition of charisma is ‘an authentic power that captivates hearts and minds’ It would follow then, that an uncharismatic leader would be ‘not authentic’ and ‘not captivating’, either logically or emotionally – certainly not somebody who I would feel inspired about working ,or voting for!

Our Authentic Charisma is built upon the degree to which we have developed five key internal attributes; Taken to the ‘nth’ degree then, truly spectacularly uncharismatic leadership behaviour would require an individual to, not only, be less than authentic or captivating, but they would also ideally need to be out of balance in all, or most, of the following 5 pillars of charisma:

• Self Esteem
• Sensory Awareness
• Driving Force
• Compelling Vision
• Balanced Energy

Any imbalance in these internal attributes, causing them to be either under, or over- developed, might show themselves in any of the following behavioural clues, all of which will negatively impact upon our individual ability to ‘captivate hearts and minds’.

Self Esteem issues: Defensive, hypersensitive, boastful, arrogant, craving constant positive feedback, self-critical, indecisive, excessive will to please, perfectionism, guilt, pessimism, envy.

Sensory Awareness Issues; Contained, reserved, distant, aloof, uncommunicative, inconsiderate, thoughtless, unaware /oblivious of the impact of their words or actions, doesn’t admit mistakes, biased, closed, seeks out evidence to support own opinions and beliefs, inappropriate, judgemental, sees threats not opportunities, lacks empathy

Driving Force Issues: Ineffectual, indecisive, compliant, trying to please everybody, highly risk or change averse, looks for reasons why actions or plans won’t work… or bullying, high driver, impatient, intolerant, inflexible, task focus at expense of relationships.

Vision Issues; Overly detailed, logical appeal lacking pathos, Inability to paint pictures of a better place, or visualise what that better place looks and feels like, or too ‘Big Picture,’, dreamer, idealistic views with no real plans of how they can be achieved.

Energy issues; Low energy, complainer, victim /poor me, low resilience, poor health, demotivated and demotivating, or wired, anxious, snappy, workaholic, compulsive completer-finisher. Inconsistent ,unpredictable, emotional rollercoaster.

Each and every one of us has the potential to be both charismatic and uncharismatic at times. Because we recognise and understand that same inconsistency in others, charisma can be really hard to define. Sometimes when we can’t quite put our finger on what a thing is, it can be much easier to identify what it is that it will, and won’t do. Charismatic Leadership will be effective, both in the short and long term. Uncharismatic Leadership will be most effective in the short term (as anybody who has ever needed to get a teenage son or daughter out of the house to a tight deadline will testify), but it won’t captivate hearts and minds. It won’t create bonds and trust and loyalty, and it won’t be effective, or cost effective, in the long term.

So, in terms of your own organisation; which side of the charismatic camp are you falling into? Do you have the courage to develop your own charismatic potential or are you taking the ‘safe’ option into the grey zone?

“How can you have charisma?

Be more concerned about making others feel good about themselves than you are making them feel good about you.”

Dan Reiland

There was an article that really caught my attention this week. Written by Graham White, HR Director of Brighton & Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust, and published by People Management Magazine, the article was commenting on research from the Office of National Statistics 2012. This research revealed that ‘one in five employees are unhappy in their jobs’. It went on to explain that for many, one of the critical factors contributing to their degree of happiness (or not) at work is the relationship that they have with their boss. Graham White goes on to challenge us to ask ourselves what factors we should consider when deciding whether or not we should be putting up with a ‘bad boss’, and identifies three very important questions that we should be asking ourselves about our manager:

1. Do they genuinely care about me?
2. Is their criticism of me accurate?
3. Are they making me better at my job?

It occurred to me that simply by reframing these three questions from the point of view of ‘the boss’, we would have an interesting mechanic from which to assess the degree to which we, as individuals, can consider ourselves to be authentic, charismatic leaders;

1. Do my employees believe that I genuinely care about them?
2. Do they recognise and accept that my criticism of them is accurate?
3. Do they feel that I am helping them to become better at their job?

Charismatic Leaders possess a highly developed level of sensory awareness of others, allowing them to be far more intuitive about their employee’s feelings towards them. Even more importantly, Charismatic Leaders have a clear insight into the effect that their personality and preferred leadership style is having on others. They will be aware of, and vigilant to, any potential area of friction in all of their important relationships. When you work for a charismatic leader you will feel that they genuinely care about you.

Charismatic Leaders recognise that if they are to create a truly high performance culture, employees must feel valued and secure. They are confident in their own abilities, in the support and trust of their own line management, and of the organisation as a whole. Because Charismatic Leaders possess high levels of self-esteem, and because their own ego drive doesn’t need to be bolstered with displays of power, or reassured by a need to feel secure (manifesting in micro-management or reluctance to delegate), they will take care to offer up only constructive criticism. When you work for a charismatic leader you will recognise and accept that any criticism of you is accurate, and is designed to help you develop and grow.

Charismatic Leaders empower and inspire employees to move from a mindset of survival (disengagement, resistance to change and performance coasting), to an attitude of growth (engagement, openness and high performance). Charismatic leaders possess a wonderful ability to create a powerful vision of a better place that compels us to strive to be the best that we can be – because we want to. This shared vision, coupled with a dynamic driving force that captivates and sweeps us along with them, often empowers us to achieve more than we ever would have believed ourselves capable of. I am sure that we will all be able to relate to situations within our own lives and careers when we have been pushed to operate beyond the self-imposed boundaries our own comfort zones. The chances are that we resisted at first, and the chances are also that, with the benefit of hindsight, we will recognise that it was on these occasions where we really grew, developed and achieved something to be proud of. When you work for a truly charismatic leader you will, above all else, feel that they are helping you to become better at your job.

A boss creates fear, a leader confidence.
A boss fixes blame, a leader corrects mistakes.
A boss knows all, a leader asks questions.
A boss makes work drudgery, a leader makes it interesting.

Russell H Ewing

In a recent review of research carried out at The University of Lausanne in Switzerland, Harvard Business Review reported that: “The most effective leaders layer charismatic leadership on top of transactional and instrumental leadership to achieve their goals.”

Whilst I wholeheartedly welcome any reports that help to spread the word that a sprinkling of charisma – used in conjunction with proven leadership disciplines – can only serve to improve leadership effectiveness and results, I have to say that I struggle to understand why so many people still seem to be surprised by this information!

It was The Greek Philosopher Aristotle (384BC – 322BC) that first identified that, to be a more effective communicator and leader, an individual must first understand and master the ‘Art of Rhetoric’ – the ability to see and utilize the available means of persuasion. He described three main forms of rhetoric: Ethos, Logos, and Pathos:

Ethos (Greek for Character) Refers to an individual’s credibility or ethical appeal. Simply, we tend to believe people whom we respect. The trustworthiness or credibility of a Leader – their ethos – is often conveyed through the tone and style of their message and through the way they refer to differing views. Personal ethos will very much be affected by reputation as it exists independently from the message – individual expertise in the field, along with previous record or integrity. One of the central challenges of leadership is to project an impression that you are an authority, someone worth listening to, and at the same time someone who is authentic, likable, and worthy of respect.

Logos (Greek for Word) means persuading by the use of reasoning. Logos refers to the internal consistency of the individual’s message, the clarity of the claim, the logic of its reasons, and the effectiveness of its supporting evidence. The impact of logos on an audience is sometimes called the argument’s logical appeal. For a Leader, giving effective, persuasive reasons, along with facts and statistics to back up your call to action is critical to ‘winning minds’. However, as Aristotle, The University of Lausaunne, and countless other commentators over the centuries have identified, a really effective, persuasive, call to action – one that is likely to win battles, inspire revolution, and ( perhaps more relevantly today) change cultures and behaviours – will need to be delivered from the heart, and will need to resonate and connect at a deep emotional level. Truly effective Leaders understand the power of appealing to pathos when it comes to ‘winning hearts as well as minds’

Pathos (Greek for ‘suffering’ or ‘experience’) is often associated with emotional appeal to the audience’s sympathies and imagination. An appeal to pathos causes an audience not just to respond emotionally, but to identify with the leader’s point of view – to feel what they feel. Charismatic Leaders know that one of the most effective ways of conveying a ‘pathetic’ appeal is through narrative or story, which can turn the abstractions of logic into something palpable and present. The values, beliefs, and understandings of the individual are implicit in the story and conveyed imaginatively to their audience. In Leadership terms, pathos creates both the emotional and the imaginative impact of the message and the power with which the Leader’s message moves the audience to decision or action.

Charismatic Leaders instinctively recognize that the persuasive appeal of pathos is an appeal to a group’s sense of identity, their self-interest, and their emotions. Charismatic Leaders understand that the better that they are able -with their words and example -to create a positive image that their followers can identify with, the more effectively they will inspire and motivate their followers to achieve mutually desired goals.

NB. ‘Charisma’ derives from The Greek ‘khárisma’ meaning ‘gift of grace’. Interestingly, for anybody looking to become more persuasive, to The Ancient Greeks, the word had a second meaning, which was ‘favour freely given’.