Are Great Leaders Charming?
To be considered charming, a person must attract and captivate others with their words, actions, and demeanor. Charming people create a positive atmosphere through their warmth, friendliness, and confidence. They show a genuine interest in others and build rapport by focusing all of their attention on others in social situations.
These endearing qualities make others feel better about themselves. Charming people create a deep and lasting connection to people through their curiosity. They want to learn about people and engage them in conversations. Charming people are more approachable and interested. That makes people want to be around them.
Here's a wild conclusion. Great leaders are charming.
The qualities of charming sound a lot like what the best leaders seek to be and do. While not every leader needs to be charming in order to be successful, making others the focal point of interaction creates the goodwill that binds relationships. Leaders who captivate others by focusing on them create the followership necessary to achieve extraordinary results.
Most leaders frown at the idea of being charming as a reflection of quality leadership. Reasonably so. They often view charm as guile or false warmth. Or they see charm as woven into the fabric of charisma, an idea that has worn out its welcome as an ingredient in effective leadership.
This resistance may also be a result of the checkered history of the concept. A century ago, charm schools were chartered throughout the world to teach the secrets of social grace, etiquette, decorum, poise, and personal grooming to privileged young people. Charm was taught as a means to get ahead socially or to find a wealthy mate, not as a pathway to leadership success.
Yet, it is important to note that the idea of charm came of age before leaders and organizations gave up command-and-control leadership for more inclusive and empowering styles. We may be left with a bad taste about the role of charm in leadership, but the fact remains that much of what it means to be charming is what leaders strive for to create cohesive relationships and teams.
Perhaps it is time to revisit the role of charm as it relates to leadership. We often think of leaders as people with a presence and gravitas worthy of our notice. In contrast, a charming leader is one who notices you. Maybe all leaders need to be more charming.