Tuesday, May 29, 2012

How Charismatic Leaders Use Personalized Charisma




Edward Brown, M.S., of Core Edge Image & Charisma Institute provides questions and answers on when and why charismatic leaders use personalized charisma.

Q: First of all, what is personalized charisma?

Brown: Andrew J. Dubrin in his book, “Leadership Research Findings, Practice and Skills,” defined personalized charisma as a means of a leader utilizing their persuasive powers for personal gain.

Q: That sounds manipulative, how is this important to students of charismatic leadership?

Brown: Because charismatic leadership is the predominate leadership model where sheer personality is its effectiveness, a charismatic leader has to use highly advanced interpersonal relationship skills to get things done. The charismatic leader is not afforded nepotism or job promotion in leading a mission or crusade. Consequently, manipulation might be necessary to affect a desired outcome.

Q: Is this where charismatic leadership gets its bad reputation?

Brown: To a large degree, yes.  However, the act of manipulation speaks to the naiveté of individuals as opposed to anything a charismatic leader does.

Q: How so? What do you mean?

Brown: How many times have you tried to persuade someone to act in a way that benefits society as a whole? If people are basically selfish and motivated by self-interest, what evidence can be provided that suggests that people are inclined to do the right thing for the good of society without some level of persuasion? Without religion, government, and laws, we would have total chaos. We have these institutions in place and still crime is rampant in the U.S., the freest country in the world.

Q: Your point is clear, but isn’t the secret to manipulation lost once you reveal its motivation?

Brown: On the contrary!  The hard-wiring for people to believe in hope or something bigger than themselves makes the manipulation process viable.  I heard a minister once say that if he found out that there was no God, he would continue worshipping God anyway. He received an “Amen” from his congregation, but how logical is such proclamations?

Q: Are you excusing the manipulation of charismatic leaders, because people have faith and need to find hope where they can?

Brown: I don’t attribute negative connotations to words like “manipulation” or “self-interest.” When a politician, you haven’t seen in four years, kisses your baby on live TV during a reelection campaign, do you vote for him because of his political platform or because he made your family celebrities for 15 minutes? In most cases, individuals don’t even know the platform issues of politicians. You don’t vote for a politician necessarily because of his views, you vote based on how he makes you feel.  Your self-interest on feeling good is more important than a politician’s views.  

Q: So, what’s the answer?

Brown: The French philosopher Rousseau said that humans ceased to be whole as soon as they were touched by civilization.  Every day we all are persuaded, influenced, or manipulated on some level. The point is not to deny this reality, but to be vigilant when persuasion, influence, and manipulation act contrary to our self-interest.  Even charismatic leaders cannot act contrary to the will of the people without the people’s permission.

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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Inner Game of Charismatic Leaders



Edward Brown, M.S., of Core Edge Image & Charisma Institute provides questions and answers on the mental inner workings of charismatic leaders.

Q: In the past, you said that your core passion was getting into the minds of charismatic leaders. How do you do that?

Brown:  I essentially observe the behavior of individuals who have a preternatural way of capturing imaginations that appear surreal to the average individual. Once I lock into what these individuals are doing, I attempt to explain behavior by using the tenets found in philosophy, psychology, sociology, history, and theology. 

Q: So, what are charismatic leaders doing consciously or subconsciously to be successful in their endeavors?

Brown: Fundamentally, charismatic leaders solve problems they find compelling.  If there is a difference between the charismatic leader’s approach to a problem compared to the average individual, it is that the charismatic leader becomes a zealot for the solution.  The average person does not care that much about the solution to a problem to make it a cause.

Q: What is the charismatic leader’s “inner game?”

Brown:  The charismatic leader’s inner game is Machiavellian or amoral in that whatever is required to achieve certain results will be utilized.  People and resources become expendable to achieve a goal.

Q: Well, that doesn’t sound positive or does it?

Brown: Conventional wisdom suggests that people should not be used to facilitate an objective. However, in every human endeavor throughout the world, people are being expended to facilitate a particular result every day. On some level, whether it’s a question of war, security or finance, people are being used to affect the will of the nation state. Charismatic leaders do a better marketing job of gaining greater commitments by inspiring the hearts and minds of individuals around an objective.

Q: What do charismatic leaders understand more deeply than traditional leaders?

Brown:  Charismatic leaders have an understanding that men have a will to power. Nietzsche said that God was dead and all that was left was the amoral superman.  In some respect, the charismatic leader is the amoral superman. Charismatic leaders address the hard-wired need of people to worship heroes as postulated by philosopher Thomas Carlyle. If there isn’t a God, people will invent one.  The insatiable need for charismatic leaders to understand human nature underscores their clarity of purpose. The relationship is symbiotic, the people want to adore a leader and the charismatic leader wants to be adored.

Q: What happens when the human frailties of charismatic leaders overtake their God-like persona?

Brown: The charismatic leader that goes so far as to believe his own hype usually causes his own demise.  Followers will either become disillusioned and lose faith or consciously overlook the frailties of the leader and focus on his iconic exploits.  Either way, there is a seismic shift in the social landscape when the charismatic leader departs, unlike any other leadership model.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Improving Your Critical Thinking Skills Like Charismatic Leaders (The IRAC Method)




Edward Brown, M.S., of Core Edge Image & Charisma Institute provides questions and answers on how you can make better decisions, solve more problems, and complete goals using the IRAC Method for critical thinking.

Q: Why is critical thinking important, particularly for charismatic leaders?

Brown: People often believe that the great visions and missions that charismatic leaders create are “Pie in the sky,” as oppose to a systematic approach to critical thinking. Charismatic leaders are voracious readers and analysts who develop ideas through extensive research.  Everything begins and ends in your ability to think effectively and execute a plan of action.

Q: So, what is the IRAC Method for critical thinking?

Brown: The IRAC Method is used in law schools to encourage students to think critically and systematically in dealing with issues of law. By enlisting the same method in any problem solving manner, you will improve your thinking skills. IRAC is actually an acronym for:

I---Issue. What is the issue or problem and the root causes of it?
R---Rules. What are the laws, regulatory mandates or industry standard that the problem falls under?
A---Analysis/Application----Where are the gaps in current solutions and recommendations and what alternatives should be considered?
C---Conclusion---What are the final results or recommendations for solving the problem?

Q: Do charismatic leaders use the IRAC Method as a de facto approach to solving problems or creating visions?

Brown: Charismatic leaders might use an abbreviated version of the IRAC Method, but the thought process is similar.  For example, charismatic leaders may determine a problem exists, develop immediate solutions, and begin acting on results. Martin Luther King, Jr. was good at strategizing a plan and implementing it using what was tantamount to the back of a napkin or envelope.

Q: So, the process is not long and drawn out?

Brown: It depends on the nature of the problem. The four (4) step process is the standard. The process for making the pieces fit together is totally individual. It’s not the length of the process, but the necessary thinking that goes into the process itself.

Q: If the IRAC Method solves problems and helps aid in creating missions, why are charismatic leaders often seen as not having a specific strategy for developing great visions and missions?

Brown: That’s the responsibility of researchers. Charismatic leaders are merely acting in ways that appear natural to them. It is the role of the researcher to extract and create a system from  the charismatic leader’s behavior. The charismatic leader will not necessarily market the process for developing a mission, but market the mission itself.  By using the IRAC Method for creating missions and solving problems, you can emulate the results of charismatic leaders.

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Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Do You Have to Change Your Personality to Be a Charismatic Leader?




Edward Brown, M.S., of Core Edge Image & Charisma Institute provides questions and answers on the connection between personality and leadership style.

Q: Based on your research on leadership development, is there a correlation between leadership style and personality?

Brown: Based on my research, leadership styles are outgrowths of personalities.  Fundamentally, individuals are merely behaving in social environments and when a certain behavior shows effectiveness within a group or organization, researchers create a leadership style based on that behavior.  The late business guru Peter Drucker suggested that business practitioners merely act and researchers create the conceptual framework around the act.

Q: So, a leadership model, such as charismatic leadership, is a reflection of researchers qualifying certain behaviors?

Brown: Yes. The operative word is “qualify.” Charismatic leaders may often be, subconsciously, acting out of deep seated desires for acclaim and adoration. Once upon a time, a charismatic leader might not have been conscious of his behavior until researchers began dissecting this style of leadership. Remember, although charismatic leadership has possibly been around since the dawn of civilization, it is German sociologist Max Weber (1864-1920), who is credited for secularizing charismatic leadership and placing it in the pantheon of leadership styles.  

Q: If form follows function, do non-charismatic leaders have to change their personalities to be effective charismatic leaders?

Brown: If you accept the premise that leadership style derives from personality and behavior, one’s comfort level will naturally gravitate to the style of leadership most closely aligned with one’s personality. As such, charismatic leadership may not be comfortable or in alignment with certain leader’s personality or temperament.  It is wise to adopt the skill set that a leadership model lends without abdicating one’s authenticity.

Q: What types of traits or skill set could a leader derive from the charismatic leadership model?

Brown: Definitely highly advanced oratorical skills as well as interpersonal relationship skills. Charismatic leaderships are excellent readers and researchers which enhances their ability to be effective critical thinkers as well as strategic planners. These skills are endemic within all effective leadership models, but charismatic leaders create missions, crusades, and lifestyles around these skills. Their personalities require that they do so. Charismatic leaders often are extremists and judge themselves by the standards of epic heroes and stellar performers.

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