Leadership Myth Charisma - 5 Tips: Can you train charisma?

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You can Charisma learn? Maybe, if you define it appropriately and unfortunately also demoted. In reality, charisma is not a toolset that you can easily buy as a leader. It is the expression of a mature and experienced personality.

Leadership Myth Charisma - 5 Tips: Can you train charisma? Charisma Training

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Uli Groneick Uli GroneickUli Groneick is the managing partner of the Konjunkturberatung GmbH in Königswinter.


The truth about charisma


The theme of charisma is very much in vogue. Who enters the term in the search mask of online book shops, receives thousands of hits. If you research the term in combination with "training", Google throws millions of results worldwide. Both are clear signs of the desire of many people to acquire more charisma through reading or seminars. In fact, everyone should work on his posture and language, ability to speak and communicate, and facial expression and voice.

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Because these factors are enormously important on a professional and private level - be it in negotiations or in management. What many do not know is that charisma is not an intrinsic gift, but rather an effect on the outside world - that springs from a mature personality.

Myth or more than that?


There are many stubborn myths about charisma, even among professionals such as executives, scriptwriters, and trainers. The ancient Greeks still believed that this property was a divine gift. Today, most of the charisma is a bundle of behaviors that make other people superficially impressive. According to this viewpoint, this is something that you can easily train yourself and enable one to exude a high degree of integrity, authority, experience, and a strong personality.

The inner prerequisite for genuine charisma is ignored in this approach: whoever has experienced victories and defeats in his life and has already shone through deeds, will naturally take a convincing step without having to play for the world.

Neither divine nor success recipe


Charisma is neither born in the cradle nor is it a trait you can buy quickly in the weekend workshop. Rather, charisma is the result of a professional and private life that is rich in experiences, insights and experiences. But how can one's own impact on the outside world be increased and used profitably in the management of people?

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In this context, the concept of the political scientist and historian James McGregor Burns, who identified two types of political dignitaries: the transactional and transforming type. Transactional politicians stand for the status quo, transformational politicians for change. Based on this analysis, George M. Brass developed the theory of transformational guidance.

Visionary leadership personalities


Many people tend to focus selfishly on personal concerns. However, transformational leaders can move them to pursue higher goals from their inner drive. This type manager has visions, acts as a role model and understands people in their implementation.

In recent years, the image of the charism has changed: executives who show more semblance than being narcissistically exploit their fellow human beings for selfish goals are no longer contemporary. Properly understood radiation, on the other hand, is built on the foundation of a positive reputation.

The highest level of leadership quality


Renowned management expert Jim Collins has analyzed for his book The Road to the Best 1.435 US Companies. From the 500 for over three decades continuously successful of these companies, he crystallized the Top 11 out - those that are not only big, but downright "great". Surprising result: There seems to be no correlation between charismatic leadership and the extraordinary success of companies.

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Above-average executives convince with a mix of determination and modesty. This distinguishes corporate leaders who really deserve this title from competent and effective managers. According to Collins, these leaders have what he calls "Level 5 Leadership" driving the business forward.

1. professional determination


In this sense sketched leadership personality ...

  • stands for top results and is an important catalyst in the company
  • transforms things consistently and tackles what is important for success
  • takes excellence as a benchmark and does not settle for less
  • looks in the mirror and not out of the window.

2. personal modesty


Manager with Level 5 Leadership ...

  • act rather inconspicuously, are not interested in public commendation and do not pretend to be a diva
  • act prudently and clearly; they motivate their employees with high standards and not by imposed behavior
  • are ambitious - but less for their own ego, but for the company
  • choose a successor for themselves
  • look out of the window instead of in the mirror.

It is noticeable that the findings of Collins agree with the research results of Max Weber. The world-famous sociologist had already declared some 100 years ago: institutions that endure, their success not to the charisma of a leader, but the fact that they cultivate the art of leadership throughout the system.

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Values ​​and deeds are crucial


According to Jim Collins' studies, above-average managers act value-based. You do not necessarily need an exceptionally strong charisma. However, this can of course be conducive to the cause, since success also depends on a well-functioning social interaction between manager and employee - and in this context an authentic language as well as facial expressions and gestures play an essential role. Much more important than an impressive performance, however, are the concrete acts.

Similarly, the authors Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner, who examine the actions of managers. They wanted to find out how their leadership reached the employees and which behaviors decided success.

In addition to communicative skills, there are five key drivers for outstanding leadership, which they formulate as concrete recommendations:

1. role model


  • Find your own point of view by defining your values
  • Orient your actions on connecting values ​​and be a role model in them

2. Common visions


  • Sketch a future scenario of exciting and inspiring possibilities
  • Create enthusiasm in your environment with a shared vision and share your hopes and expectations with your employees

3. Processes


  • Searching for opportunities and opportunities for development and growth
  • Have the courage to experiment, take risks and learn from mistakes

4. To enable employees to act


  • Influenced by cooperative goals and confidence building the cooperation positively
  • Give space to others more participation and greater room for maneuver - so you strengthen them

5. encouragement


  • Openly declare your appreciation for outstanding, individual achievements
  • Praise and celebrate common values ​​and victories, in this way you will promote the spirit of communion

Charisma training - yes or no?


The findings of Collins, Kouzes and Posner represent the prerequisites for a successful management activity. Anyone who adheres to them makes themselves independent from the external control as well as the more or less clever advice in specialist books. The research results help to create an autonomous leadership personality with high radiation power to other people.

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And only at this point does it do it Senseto think about charisma workshops. Surely you can hardly train yourself to work on other people like Julius Caesar, Martin Luther King or Mahatma Gandhi. However, it works very well to develop your own personality to the maximum - but always remain aware that this process is never completely completed. Managers who start here can significantly improve their personal visibility with the right training measures.

Represent what you live


However, such seminars are only socially effective when the executives actually live the given values ​​and fulfill their role model in everyday business. There is no shortcut to genuine integrity - either by a quick course in charisma or by other tricks, which are supposed to give a strong charisma. For people have a very fine sense of whether someone is serious and has built a house of solid substance - or just want to impress with a quick painted facade.

In the long term, the only focus is on inner values. Who on this basis optimizes their personality and individual competences with the appropriate training measures, can become a charismatic charisma even in the digital age.

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