Effective leadership communication is regarded by many leaders as being the most desirable leadership skill. This is understandable given that research has demonstrated that leaders spend 80% of their time communicating with clients, staff, investors, the media and other stakeholders.
A leader who has poor leadership communication skills will struggle to lead the organization, perform badly during media interviews and find it harder to establish respect, than a leader who is a great communicator.
When people think of leaders who have strong leadership communication, Bill Clinton, Jack Welch, Steve Jobs and Barack Obama are just some of the names that come to mind. All four of these highly skilled leaders have that unquestionable ability to connect and mesmerize the masses that goes by the name of charisma. There is a popular belief that charisma is a natural quality that people either have or they don't. Scientists, however, have confirmed that whilst some individuals may have innate elements of charisma, much of charisma is made up of a set of behaviors that can be learned.
Charismatic leaders find it easier to
* Advance in their career.
* Develop relationships.
* Influence and persuade others.
* Steer an organization through stormy waters bringing the crew with them.
Charisma is an essential qualification for leadership, because merit and ability are rarely sufficient to progress through the ranks or steer the ship. Charisma is a 'people skill' and people skills are the now ultimate currency within organizations, particularly during these challenging times. It is for this reason that highly successful leaders often radiate charisma and those who don't, wish they did.
Charisma is sometimes regarded as a nebulous concept. You know it when you see it but asked to list the qualities that make up charisma and people usually get stuck describing it as 'personal magnetism', 'positive energy' or an 'aura'. They can even tell you the names of charismatic individuals (Clinton and Obama topped the polls) but they are unable to distill the charisma's distinct components.
The Ingredients of Leadership Charisma
The following characteristics, when combined together, will help ensure a leader is perceived as charismatic:
1. The ability to maintain a steady hand.
2. Self assuredness and confidence.
3. The expectance of acceptance.
5. Belief, conviction and certainty
7. A willingness and determination to take the lead
8. A smile!
Whilst developing leadership charisma requires consistent practice, given that it is a common trait amongst the world's most successful leaders, clearly an investment in leadership coaching or a good leadership book is one worth making.
Martin Soorjoo is a communication expert, leading attorney, founder of Communication Downloads and author of The Black Book of Leadership Communication. Martin has had the privilege of working with some of the world's top leaders from business,law, banking and politics, including the late Robert Davies, Founder and CEO of the International Business Leaders Forum