Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Can Jerks Lead Effectively? Leadership Qualities of Charismatic Leaders and Narcissists

A study conducted by professors at IMD business school, Penn State, and Erlangen-Nuremberg University concluded that bosses that display narcissistic qualities perform better than average executives.  CEO narcissism was displayed by the number of times CEOs’ photo appeared in annual reports, press releases, and their overall compensation relative to their second in command (Greene, 2011). Green’s article further stated that, "Narcissists see the potential for acclaim where others see excessive risk, but it's by no means always the case that in the end they get to hear the applause they crave," says Professor Enders of IMD.

Narcissists and charismatic leaders often are so commonly link, one cannot determine where one personality trait ends and the other begins. While all narcissists are not charismatic, it is believed that all charismatic leaders have some form of narcissism greater than the average individual. The hard-wiring of narcissists is highly Machiavellian in that they have “changeable” or mutable consciences. Instead of being tied to a specific method of getting things accomplished, narcissists change their minds and paradigm according to the needs of the situation. Consequently, narcissists are difficult to pigeon hole, because they adapt to a situation for the sole purpose of winning.  As Vidal Gore once stated, “It’s not enough to win, the other guy has to lose.” This need to achieve is believed to stem from early childhood experiences of degradation that positioned the narcissist to excel at all cost. Lubit (2002) asserted that narcissists are inclined to leave projects unfinished once they become bored. Conversely, Fleming (N.D.) expressed that charismatic leaders become tied to a project. So much so that the challenge is motivating the charismatic leader to leave or delegate power rather than remain, once the mission has been accomplished.

Charismatic narcissists are often more persistent than the average individual based on the need to achieve. This drive is a benefit for organizations in that the charismatic will stay the course until the task is accomplished or deem the challenges unwinnable. The downside is the unwillingness for charismatics to leave or create a succession plan once a goal has been achieved. Evidence also suggests that charismatic narcissists will abdicate the mission or forego alliances if continuing on acts contrary to their self-interest.
All in all, charismatic narcissists can be beneficial in creating an innovative, fast paced and groundbreaking environment for employees. Their “Big Picture” sentiments allow for individuals to feel a part of something bigger than themselves. For charismatic narcissists, accomplishing a grandiose mission becomes the driving force of their existence.

As demonstrated by musician Prince, Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin, the mission is so critical for vainglorious and self-aggrandizing measures, anyone who poses either a threat or ceases to be valuable is eliminated. Charismatic narcissists are persistent in their endeavors and will unload any baggage at will. In their minds, they are indispensable where everyone else is expendable.
For organizations wrestling with charismatic narcissists, it is essential to weigh the pros and cons of this type of leadership. For organizations that are receding, irrelevant and complacent, charismatic narcissists can be valuable for jump starting the organization. The cautionary note is to have parameters, boundaries and oversight to the actions of charismatic narcissists. Not to have some measure of control is fodder for charismatic narcissists to wreak havoc on the long term aspirations of the mission. Like fire, charismatic narcissists can be beneficial for building an organization or they can obliterate everyone and everything around them if left unchecked.


Fleming,G.(N.D.). Student leadership styles: Charismatic leadership. About.com guide. Retrieved from
: http://homeworktips.about.com/od/studymethods/ss/leadership_4.htmFf
Greene, N. (2011 Nov. 19). Researchers say: Narcissistic jerk-wads make the best leaders, study says. The Village Voice Blogs. Retrieved from: http://blogs.villagevoice.com/runninscared/2011/11/narcissistic_je.php

Lubit, R. (2002), ‘The Long-Term Organizational Impact of Destructively Narcissistic Managers’, Academy of Management Executive, Volume 16, Number 1, pp. 127–138.

For more information, visit: Charisma

Monday, February 20, 2012

3 Ways of Changing Someone’s Mind Using the Strategies of Charismatic Leaders

The ability to influence the thoughts and behavior of others is singularly the most important skill a person can possess.  Dutton (2011) developed five strategies for changing people’s minds, which include:

·         Keeping your message, short, sharp, and simple to convince the person it’s true

·         Focusing on the benefits to an individual

·         Surprising a person by providing an alternative to his or her way of thinking

·         Speaking with confidence and assurance 

·         Putting yourself in the other person’s shoes

Dutton’s framework is an excellent synopsis to changing someone’s mind or at least getting people to consider another point of view.  In this vein, charismatic leaders use these techniques, but add a few more layers to changing not only a person’s mind, but encouraging groups of individuals to consider a leader’s perspective.  Some of the strategies charismatic leaders use to change the minds of others are:

·         Describing current conditions compared to the ideal. Charismatic leaders fully understand that people act in their self-interest and will generally change behavior when conditions are severely uncomfortable.  However, this discomfort has to resonate with an adverse situation that individuals fear.  An example would be a real estate agent that shows a prospective buyer a run-down house in a questionable neighborhood. When the real estate agent shows the prospective buyer other houses in more desirable surroundings, the buyer is more inclined to consider the latter houses for purchase, because the buyer fears investing in a house where his or her quality of life will be harmed.  If you want to change the minds of others, exaggerate current conditions as being abysmal and describe how accepting your recommendations would be transformational.

·       Communicating to both regions of the brain. Charismatic leaders embrace Dutton’s idea of speaking with confidence and assurance, but go one step further. These leaders speak with passion and commitment that serves as a means of rattling the minds of others.  Have you ever thought something to be true, but began questioning its validity once someone provided contrary facts and spoke with extreme passion?  It was not just an issue of not holding steadfast to your belief; it was the feeling of uncertainty that came about through someone showing more emotion and logic behind the idea.  By demonstrating steel determination, passion, and confidence, you become more influential and persuasive.

·         Encouraging others to do small acts. Dr. Robert B. Cialdini is his book, “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion” discussed the impact of getting people to commit to small acts as a means of influencing behavior.  The basis of Cialdini’s concept stems from the notion that if people begin acting on behalf of another person through small acts, the need to be seen as consistent encourages a level of commitment on people’s part.  Charismatic leaders assign tasks to would-be converts and through small acts, the casual observer becomes a full-fledged zealot to the mission of the leader. To change the minds of others, create opportunities for participation. There is an old adage that people support what they help create.

It is often said that the most challenging thing to change is a made-up mind. By using the strategies of charismatic leaders, not only can you change minds, but lead crusades that can be transformational to the spectators in life.

Dutton, K. (2011).  Split-second persuasion: The ancient art and new science of changing minds.  Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

For more info., visit:Charisma

Monday, February 13, 2012

How to Build Self-Discipline Through the Examples of Charismatic Leaders

Self-discipline is defined as “Training and control of oneself and one’s conduct, usually for personal improvement”(Free Dictionary, n.d.).  Often, individuals fail to achieve any modicum of success because they lack the self-discipline to formulate and execute plans.  Charismatic leaders exemplify phenomenal self-discipline in achieving their objectives.   Nayab (2011) noted that “Charismatic leadership is leading by dint of personality and charm, instead of relying on any external power or authority.” Nayab further suggested that charismatic leaders tap into the moods and concerns of individuals as well as larger audiences, and hone their words and actions to suit the situation.
Also, Nayab outlined the major behavioral attributes of charismatic leaders to include:
·         Sensitivity to the environment and member needs
·         Articulation of a clear-cut vision shaped to the situation
·         Effective use of body language and verbal language
·         Personal risk taking and unconventional behavior
·         High self-belief
·         Displaying confidence in follower's ability
To achieve success among individuals and within organizations, you must develop self-discipline.   You can begin the process of developing self-discipline by emulating the traits of charismatic leaders by:

1.      Defining yourself by your performance. Charismatic leaders are relentless, because completing a crusade or mission is tied to their self-identity and self-worth. These leaders are internally motivated and adopt self-criticism as a means of monitoring their behavior as well as evaluating their actions. Colleagues and supporters are less incline to evaluate charismatic leaders due to either a lack of intellectual vigor or fear of being disapproved by the leader. Contrary to commentators who separate an individual’s vocation from his self-identity, developing high levels of self-discipline requires the melding of one’s vocation with one’s identity.
2.     Developing productive habits. Psychologists suggest that an act requires at least twenty-one times of repetition before a habit is formed.  Colvin (2006) suggested that talent has little to nothing to do with greatness. He noted that it takes a minimum of ten years or ten thousand hours of “deliberate practice” to achieve world class status. Charismatic leaders work hard and long because they believe that only they can accomplish epic feats. Hours and years of relentless study, practice, and reflection are the foundational principles for not only achieving greatness, but creating a life of discipline.
3.       Committing to the process rather than the outcome. Because charismatic leaders judge themselves by their performance, they commit to the process with the expectation of specific results. However, they ingratiate themselves to the process as “actors,” because the process or system is the fundamental mechanism they can control. Charismatic leaders see a direct correlation between their actions and the desired outcome. Consequently, if you want to improve your self-discipline, commit to your plan, deviating only for improvement and changing situations, and weigh the outcome against the process.
4.       Avoiding procrastination. Charismatic leaders live by a system of planning and scheduling. Triaging or determining essential tasks to be achieved by order of importance is another factor for achieving self-discipline.  These leaders may put off tasks to a later date, but rarely reschedule important tasks that are time sensitive.  In fact, charismatic leaders become agitated even when a non-essential task has been put off too long. This agitation refers essentially to the performance-driven orientation of these leaders.

Because charismatic leaders rely on their own personality and ingenuity rather than external power or authority, their self-discipline is indispensable to their achieving phenomenal success. Your ultimate personal and professional success lies in your ability to be a self-regulated machine that determines that performance, habits, and commitment are not only niceties, but a way of life.   For charismatic leaders, life is as much a destination as it is a journey.


Colvin, G. (2006 Oct. 19). What it takes to be great. CNN Money. Retrieved from : http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune_archive/2006/10/30/8391794/

Nayab, N. (2011 May 20). Modern leadership styles in the changing world. Bright Hub (website). Retrieved from: http://www.brighthub.com/office/home/articles/73968.aspx

Self-Discipline Defined (n.d). The Free Dictionary (Farley). Retrieved from: http://www.thefreedictionary.com/self-discipline

For more information, visit:Charisma

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Effective Communication Using Flair & Charisma

What distinguishes those individuals who are at the top of their profession versus those who, while successful, may not share a similar position? The answer is flair, charisma, and showmanship! Personalities that revolutionize an industry are those who are able to capture the imagination of their audiences. The late Pop star Michael Jackson, magician David Copperfield, and animal trainers Siegfried and Roy, are a few examples of individuals who have risen to the highest heights in their fields by being expert showmen.

Like most things in life, people who possess flair and charisma are not born but made. The most mundane speaker can learn how to capture an audience's attention by adding flair to his presentation. Here are a few tips:

1. Bring or Create Your Personality on Stage- Speakers are closely aligned with actors and actresses because they are often required to re-create reality on stage. Speakers who are extroverts bring that personality to the stage. They engage the audience by penetrating their emotions as well as appealing to their logic. These speakers add color and verve to their presentation by the use of anecdotes, analogies, drama, and humor. The presentation takes on a life of its own. Extroverts are often jokingly referred to as "hams".

Speakers who are introverts can create an extroverted personality on stage. The introvert must see himself in a bigger- than- life role by envisioning how he wishes the audience to respond.   The introvert may be totally different on stage than in private.  Through imagery, he creates the moves, verbiage, and nuances that he wishes to become.  By inundating the mind with these pictures, the introvert becomes an exciting speaker on stage contrary to his slight and indistinct manner off stage. You can choose to bring your personality on stage or create the personality you think most effective.

2. Develop Your Own Sense of Style- The speaker who develops a unique style will have a more effective presentation over imitators. A speaker's haircut, clothing, brand of humor, and animated gestures, become his trademark. The challenge for a speaker in developing flair is to constantly enhance one's true self.  If you push yourself too far out of the sphere of authenticity, you become a caricature of yourself. Also, it is important that one's flair should remain in the sphere of proper social etiquette. Any persona deemed "outlandish" might have a negative impact on the audience.

3. Develop a Regimen that Enhances Flair- Athletes often take ballet and dance lessons to become more graceful and coordinated. As speakers, the most important part of our presentation is our non-verbal language. Ballet and dance enhances a more rhythmic flow of natural gestures. For those who cannot afford ballet and dance lessons, your living room and a good CD player will do.  Dancing to your favorite songs positively affects your body movements and gestures.  Also, you may vary voice rate and variation by reciting alphabets or reading aloud from your favorite novel. A regimen helps condition the mind to duplicate efforts when giving a presentation. The harder one adheres to a regimen to enhance flair, the natural it will become when it is time to give a presentation on-call.

4. Study Entertainers in Different Fields- Effective entertainers and speakers share certain traits. One trait is their ability to captivate the audience through emotions. Another trait is the ability to produce memorable performances in the minds of their audiences through intellect. You expand your choices of speaking styles by viewing personalities in other fields. Your creative energies are heightened by stretching the possibilities of maintaining audience interest.

Placing flair and charisma in your presentation is a learned art. A mundane speaking style does not have to be a way of life. If you want to have more dazzling presentations as well as make speaking a profession, learn how to develop flair. With flair, you will talk your way into the hearts and minds of your listeners.

For more information on speaking with flair, visit: http://plr.coreedgeprivatelabelrights.com

Monday, February 6, 2012

How to be Charismatic to Distinguish Yourself within Your Profession Using the Lessons Exhibited by Charismatic Leaders

In today’s economy, it is difficult for employees to totally commit to a company that may terminate them based on market conditions.  Out of fear, employees may go the extra mile, but look for other opportunities to rid themselves of this fear.  The greatest challenge for corporations is gaining the loyalty employees once had for companies. On the other hand, employees have to distinguish themselves and create an illusion of indispensability.  Charismatic leaders stand out in their profession.  Developing charisma is one way of distinguishing yourself in creating an air of indispensability.  There are few things you can do to enhance your charisma and create a greater impression within your profession.

1.   --  Become an opportunist.  One of the greatest gifts charismatic leaders possess is the ability to seek out, create, or exploit opportunities. By looking vigilantly for opportunities to develop a new skill set, lead a project, or take classes, prepares you to become more marketable in creating interchangeable skills.  In this economy, employees must become self-directed research experts.  By asking and answering questions such as: What trends are being forecasted in the coming year? What industries show the biggest opportunities for growth?  What are your strengths for forging ahead within your current industry?  By having an eye toward developing interchangeable skills, you develop confidence in your ability to adapt to changes in the marketplace.

2.       Create disciples within your ranks.  The idea behind loyalty stems from the belief that relationships are symbiotic and mutually beneficial to the participating parties. In other words, the more value you create for individuals within an organization, the more loyal these individuals become towards you. By fulfilling latent or hidden needs within people, they become your eyes, ears, and mouthpiece within the organization.  By becoming the “go to” person within your organization, you become known inside and outside the organization as a person who can get the job done as well as breed loyalty within employees. The ability to read and fulfill the needs of individuals is a valuable trait during times of uncertainty. Charismatic leaders create disciples by recruiting, grooming, and setting standards for followers.  In turn, followers try to reciprocate by meeting these standards.  

3.       Create a company around your skills. Because charismatic leaders become viscerally connected to their personal vision, they always have their own agenda even when employed within a company.  By creating your own company, if only as a hobby, you are self-assured of your ability to compete in the marketplace.  Consequently, you create a balance of power by having your own corporate entity as you contract your skills with your current employer. Individuals with options think and act more powerfully than individuals without options.  The ability to be psychically free to choose courses in life is the cornerstone of charismatic leadership.  These choices allow for greater creativity, happiness and income potential. By having actual and potential streams of income allow for employee agility and mobility.  Assessing, creating, and exploiting opportunities are the essentials for distinguishing yourself within your profession.

      For more information on becoming more charismatic, visit: Charisma