Charismatic people have, without a doubt, a profound impact on everyone they encounter. Being interesting is about making the office a friendlier place, and work, more fun – and it is paramount for any executive leader to possess a unique appeal if they are to become a STAR leader.
I remember this one manager who even though supremely talented, had a personality that left much to be desired when it came to having a certain personal magnetism and natural charisma. And it was the latter, despite his incredible work credentials, that stood in the way of his long-expected promotion.
What is it that this leader, and many like him, are doing wrong? Are they not meant to be fit leaders, or do they perhaps just require a shifting of focus?
Believe me, it is the latter, and the wrong behaviours that most leaders indulge in are neither so difficult to spot, nor too tough to change.
Let’s start off by looking at the top 3 mistakes I have found my clients making:
Not Having a Sense of Wonder
Having an ego about learning, and not understanding how every one of us has a learning curve, is always detrimental to the individual as well as the organization they work for. Plus, it makes for an egomaniacal person who is also neither curious about new things, nor shows a desire to get better at what they already know. If that doesn’t make a person uninteresting, then I don’t know what does!
A person who looks at the world around and sees infinite possibilities is a person who oozes charisma. It is their curiosity about the unknown which leads them to a state of constant learning. Their ability to marvel is what adds a unique energy to every conversation that they are a part of. No matter how many accomplishments they have, or how intelligent they might be, their desire to energize every interaction they have is what makes them into a true STAR leader.
Not Being an Engaging Conversationalist
We all have interesting things happen to us, but only some of us make those things into just as, or even more so, interesting stories. One of the many traits of charismatic leaders is spinning engaging yarns about their exciting adventures. But, these storytelling sessions sometimes sound exactly that – ‘sessions’ – boring and manipulative are the adjectives that come to mind. The latter, because many times, these anecdotes sound as if you’re trying to make a mundane thing appear interesting, just to gain some brownie points with your colleagues.
What makes STAR leaders stand out in the crowd isn’t how great their lives are; it’s how they tell the stories. They feel out their conversational partners, and look for what sparks their partner’s interest. For them, recounting incredible stories is never about exposing all the interesting things that have happened to them. Instead, their intention is always to let the other person engage in the conversation. And, that’s what STAR presence looks like.
Not Having a Sense of Humour
As humourless an endeavor as work usually is, you can introduce some humour to bring some ease. This incredible research has shown us how leaders with a sense of humour are seen as 27 per cent more motivating, with their employees being 15 per cent more engaged. They are even admired more than those who do not joke around. This all translates into a de-stressed and improved performance at the workplace.
The piece of fact I like to drop on most of my clients is that everyone is funny in their own way. Like everything else, sense of humour is a skill you hone and learn to deploy effectively. One doesn’t need to be a comedian or a natural class clown to charm people. The fear that your joke will fall flat is no reason to never even try. After all, the research shows how most people appreciate just about any kind of levity, provided it is neither hurtful nor offensive. And how hard is it to stay on the right side of that line!
Now, let’s look at 3 micro rituals that you, as an executive leader, can perform so as to embody an energizing, engaging, and charming executive presence.
3 Immediately Actionable Steps
- Next time, make the effort to get to know your conversation partner, what they like or don’t like, and therefore bring your sense of curiosity and wonder to the table. This way, you’ll help infuse your interaction with enthusiasm and excitement.
- Share your experiences and discoveries in the most interesting way possible; your intention to share should be for other people to enjoy, instead of putting yourself as the centre of attraction.
- A perfectly timed joke goes a long way in making people better about themselves than they did before interacting with you!
Summary: Interesting people tell incredible stories, lead amazing lives, are curious about the world around them, and make use of their sense of humour. The good thing is that anyone can learn to become more interesting, charismatic, and ooze personal magnetism, which is a great thing because this can help them win more clients, strengthen their network, and lead more effectively! #BeTheSTAR