Wednesday, May 1, 2013

How Charismatic Leaders Promote and Manage Their Image

Edward Brown, M.S., of Core Edge Image & Charisma Institute provides questions and answers about how charismatic leaders use image management to persuade and influence others.

Q: What does the term, “Setting the stage,” mean for image management?

Brown: Setting the stage means having awareness that every time you enter the public domain, you are being carefully watched. Your actions, mannerisms, and self-expressions are being viewed as if you were part of a play. Said another way, you are in a Reality TV show that never ends.

Q: Does this apply to everyone or just charismatic leaders?

Brown: Everyone should be aware of his or her image. However, charismatic leaders are more predisposed to scrutiny, because they have advanced interpersonal communication skills that bring them more attention.

Q: So what process might charismatic leaders exercise in managing their image?

Brown: Well, they would never go out into the public without determining what message they wanted to convey. They are always “on.” There is no such thing as a day off for them. Their hairstyle, walk, gestures, and awareness of space are all inclusive of setting the stage. They look around before even moving, so as not to bump or transgress someone else’s space. Expending this kind of energy sounds exhausting, but that is how important charismatic leaders’ image is to them.

Q: Can you give an example of a charismatic leader who embodies image management?

Brown: Filmmaker and actor Fred Williamson will never act in a movie nor have any public display that does not align with the image he has cultivated for the last 40 years. Reportedly, Williamson turned down a role in the movie, “I’m Going to Get You Sucka (1988),” because he refused to parody the “He-man” image that has become his brand. His real life and on screen persona are so intertwined that there is no separation between the two.

Q: Why should managing one’s image be that important?

Brown: One of the greatest needs we have as individuals is to be recognized for our value. We want to be known for our achievements and accomplishments. I have a friend who spent 15 years in the NFL and destroyed his reputation and credibility within 15 minutes for an act that still haunts him. If he had been vigilant about managing his image, he would be one of the most successful athletes in commercial endorsements today. In life, we only have control over ourselves. This includes our image. If we lose control over our image, we have essentially lost control of our lives.

To cultivate your image for success, visit: Charisma

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