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Are you a charismatic leader who inspires your people to achieve better results than the leaders around you?


This series will tell you all about leadership charisma and how to develop it – so, if you are already a charismatic and inspiring leader you can become even more so. If you’re not yet happy you’re as inspiring as you could be then let’s look at how you can raise your charismatic appeal to your direct reports.

In 2010 Bud Haney, Jim Sirbasku and I worked with Profiles International to complete the largest study ever undertaken into what creates the nature of ‘Leadership Charisma’ – the charismatic impact that some leaders have upon the people that work for them.

As I mentioned in the first post the term ‘charisma’ has been around a few thousand years – and it tends to mean different things to different people. The type that we understand in its everyday definition is good only for enhancing your ego – but put it to work in the service of your business and it should have only one goal: to drive better business.

So, we redefined what it meant to be a charismatic leader in business as follows:

“Charismatic leaders create and maintain a work environment where people are emotionally and intellectually committed to the organization’s goals.

They build an energetic and positive attitude in others and inspire them to do their very best.

In doing so they create a common sense of purpose where people are more inclined to invest extra energy and even some of their own time in their work.”

Having defined what impact we’d like to help each and every leader in our clients to achieve, we then set out to find out what those leaders who had this shared in common – we set out to find out what drives employees to engage with charismatic leaders in a business environment.

The largest study ever conducted into the nature of charisma

The study took feedback on more than 40,000 leaders from almost 400,000 of their employees (Direct Reports), from more than 40 countries worldwide.

Those employees not only rated how their leaders demonstrated Leadership Charisma as we define it above – but they also rated those leaders on 70 very specific leadership behaviors that 30 years of research have shown differentiate the best leaders from the rest (developed as the foundation of the Checkpoint System).

When we analyzed the results we found that those leaders rated as highly charismatic shared a specific subset of those leadership behaviors in common.  Those same behaviors were notably rated very poorly in those who were perceived by their people as uninspiring and uncharismatic.

Charisma: the bottom line?

We proved that that charisma is no more than a perception that others form of you when they see you display a specific set of behaviors that appeal to them.   Charisma is driven by behavior.   And, if it’s driven by behavior, then any leader who is prepared to invest the necessary time and energy can become more charismatic and more engaging.   Also, because engaged employees produce dramatically better results, those leaders will have a much greater impact upon the productivity and profitability than other less charismatic leaders.

The nature of charisma

In the next post in this mini series, ‘Charisma is like a kaleidoscope’, I’ll talk a little about the nature of charisma – how almost all leaders have the seeds of charisma in their current behaviors, and how even small changes in the way you interact with your people can have a dramatic impact upon the extent to which they view you as being charismatic.


What are the key behaviors you expect the research revealed as charismatic?

Use the Comments feature below to share your perspective on charisma