Archives For character

Charisma seems to be a magical leadership word in American culture. It’s that magical thing that some people supposedly have and others don’t. If you have it you are supposed to be endowed with magical leadership abilities, opportunities, and potential. If you don’t have it you are doomed to a life of mediocrity.

I realize I might have exaggerated in the above paragraph, but I think there is some truth to how charisma is commonly viewed within the topic of leadership. People seem to think that if you are going to be an effective leader you have to have charisma.

Why Charisma Is Optional and Character Is Essential

Photo Credit: Martin Fisch

In today’s post I am going to explain why charisma is absolutely not necessary for effective leadership. In fact, I will provide research and examples of how it can actually hurt a leader. Instead of charisma being a requirement for effective leadership, I would like to show you why character and competence are essential to effective leadership.

I. Level 5 Leadership

In 2001 Jim Collins published the book, Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap. . . and Others Don’t (New York, Harper Collins, 2001), in which he wrote about “Level 5 Leaders.” These were the leaders of the companies that were the most productive, profitable, and continued their growth over long periods of time. Continue Reading…

Here's some more notes I took from Tony Dungy's interview at the Chick-fil-A Leadercast in May.

A good coach transmits his belief in his players – One of the
greatest things a leader can give to his followers is his belief in
them.  I've been able to serve more people and help more people because
there have been people in my life who have believed in me more than I
believed in myself.  One who comes to mind is my mentor, coach and
friend Steve Elliott.   His belief in me and my ability as a leader has
encouraged me to help more people and serve more people than I probably
ever would have done on my own.

I didn't catch all of it, but
Coach Dungy shared this poem at the conference which I thought was very

I believe in you, we can make it happen, this is my
team, and we're going to get it done.

Character is caught and
– This firms up the belief that most of us realize that
people watch what you do more than they watch what you say.  But they
will do both, and you can mold your team and your players' character by
modeling the character you want them to have and by affirming that character with words.

Family is
#1 because that's what is going to be with you for the rest of your life
– I need to focus on this one a little bit more.  Because leaders
are so visionary, they often can get so focused on doing great
things and making a difference in the world that they forget their
family who is at home wanting their attention and love too.  This is a
tough line to draw because leaders are required to spend so much time
at work, and that work can begin to consume us and become the
main priority in our lives.

God has put you where you are for a
reason and you impact more people than you think because people benefit

– While at my toastmasters meeting I heard a woman say, "Its not where
you are, it's where you are meant to be."  It was pretty profound,
especially for me since I often have feelings that I should be doing
more and helping more people.  But God always has us where we are for a
specific reason, and our job is to do the best to serve and help those