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CHARISMATIC MOMENT ARCHIVES: Developing Charismatic Leadership

Edward S. Brown, III

There is an unending debate that pits "nature" versus "nurture" when posing the question as to whether leaders are born or created.

Both sides have ample evidence to justify their position and a more seasoned observer might reconcile the two points of view: Leaders are born and created! However, one's ability to cultivate and nurture charismatic leadership rests on his level of ambition and determination.

"The question should be, is it worth trying to do, not, can it be done!."
--Allard Lowenstein

This issue of Charismatic Moment looks at developing charismatic leadership.

There are three ways to begin developing charismatic leadership.

1. Combine logic and emotion

It is often said that people act on emotion and justify their actions through reason. The charismatic leader is often passionate about his mission and expresses it with great enthusiasm. His enthusiasm stirs the emotions of others that lead them towards accepting his point of view. He then uses logic and reason to encourage adherents to move in a particular direction by laying out a plan of action that follows a logical conclusion. This trait is effective whether you are former President Bill Clinton or Adolph Hitler. The motive of the charismatic leader is not the question, but his understanding of human nature to produce a certain outcome. As a caveat, always strive to move people in a positive direction and society and history will speak favorably of you.

2. Give people the power

The days of the tyrant or despot are over. With the emergence of the "Information Age," the charismatic leader has to give power to the people. People are too smart to accept mediocre or limiting solutions, particularly the sector of individuals you are attempting to influence. They support what they help create! If you want to endear people to you and the direction of your organization, create ways by which they can shine and contribute. The most basic need among humans is to be recognized. If you allow supporters to take credit for their efforts, they will help you reach your goals and aspirations often without being asked.

3. Be a lifelong learner

In the absence of well-informed leadership, people will follow the crowd, but once a leader rises with greater knowledge, focus and clarity of vision, ill-equipped leadership falls by the wayside. Over a period of time, charismatic leadership evolves to higher heights that allows the leader to respond effectively to the changing dynamics within society. The charismatic leader who is a student of life embraces new information and melds it into concepts that are solution-based. The charismatic leader fuses theoretical paradigms with practical applications.

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