Category Archives: leadership

The Charisma Secrets: Presence, Power and Warmth

In this video, Olivia Fox Cabane, author of The Charisma Myth, discusses the powerful tool of charisma. She explains the components of charisma: presence, power and warmth.

Presence is the core of charisma. It’s how you demonstrate to others they are heard, appreciated, honored, significant, worthy, etc. and that you are fully present to them. How to get fully present when you’re not feeling it? Cabane discussed two strategies: 1. focus on your toes (the act of doing so will wake you up because you have to do a whole body scan to get to your toes) and 2. focus on the eye color of the other person. By looking deeply into their eyes, you’re indicating presence.

You can convey power by your appearance and body language. Dress well and take up more space, and people will think you have what it takes. On the flip side, you can also transmit a lack of power through your body language. Fiddle with your hear, touch your hair, face, ears, etc. and you’ll give off vibes of low self worth and weakness.

Warmth can’t be faked. It’s an indicator of how much someone likes us and we show it through our body language and behavior. If you’re feeling stressed, it shows on your face and the other person may think you’re upset by them, not your own internal pressure cooker. On the other hand, look at someone with a feeling of true affection and they can’t help but feel good about being around you.

The video is really worth watching. You’ll get a lot out of it.

Not only can you use charisma to make a good impression, you can also use charisma as a rhetorical strategy to ensure you are seen as a leader, rather than a follower; that your ideas are adopted; and your projects are effectively completed. More on this topic in my next blog.

Your thoughts?

Gaining Influence – Strategies that Work

In the Harvard Business Review article, “How Experts Gain Influence,” by Anette Mikes, Matthew Hall, and Yuval Millo, the authors provide an overview of their study of two risk management groups within two banks. They suggest that the four competencies that helped one of the groups excel can also help leaders in other industries gain influence throughout their own organizations.

4 Strategies to Gain Expert Influence

1. Trailblazing: finding new opportunities to use expertise

Trailblazing is not about just making a new path for yourself and/or others, but making an effort to acquire deep learning about your organization from your colleagues so you can better understand where the new opportunities lie and then determine how you can best make a difference in new areas.

2. Toolmaking: developing and deploying tools that embody and spread expertise

Whether it’s in the form of a document, spreadsheet, or presentation, creating tools that highlight issues, and help others understand the issues that need to be discussed is a key competency to demonstrate your expertise applied to business challenges.

3. Teamwork: using personal interaction to take in others’ expertise and convince people of the relevance of your own

Asking for feedback and incorporating that feedback into your tools is an important collaboration strategy. Collaborating with others is smart. Through collaboration, we can learn more and get more done.

4. Translation: personally helping decision makers understand complex content

The work we do is often highly technical or complex. When we can help others understand it more easily, we’re providing important value. What are some strategies to help understanding? Tell a story, use metaphors, or make it a fun game. Any of these approaches can help others learn and retain complex information.

The authors argue that putting any one of these strategies into practice will improve influence, but consistently employing all four is the key to gaining influence that can make a difference in your career and in the organization.

It’s about being open, looking for opportunities, being fully engaged, and helping others.

Your thoughts? Have you used one or more of these strategies successfully?

Making Time for Work That Matters

An article caught my eye in a past issue of Harvard Business Review in the Managing Yourself section, “Make Time for the Work that Matters: How smart knowledge workers delegate tasks—or eliminate them altogether,” by Julian Birkinshaw and Jordan Cohen. It’s an eye-catching title, as don’t most people want to find that time to do meaningful work, but I wondered how hard it was going to be to put into practice.

It’s not as hard as you might think to reclaim time.

The authors’ research and case study shows that knowledge workers can become more productive if they can “eliminate or delegate unimportant tasks and replace them with value-added ones” (115). While you could criticize this info as overly simplistic, even the skeptical benefit according to their interviews and findings with study participants.

The authors point out, we tend to hold on to things we like to do because they make us look good, or we get personal value from doing them, even if the tasks are not the high value work that matters.

They offer five suggestions for shifting to higher value work:

1. Identify low-value tasks

2. Decide whether to drop, delegate, or redesign

3. Off-load tasks

4. Allocate freed-up time

5. Commit to your plan

According to their research, we don’t have to “ban email on Fridays [although it would be nice]” or “forbid internal PowerPoint presentations [how would we get work done?];” rather we just have to be willing to implement the above five strategies. Their test group of 15 executives were each able to “cut desk work by an average of six hours a week and meeting time by an average of two hours a week” (115). That’s almost a day in the work week freed up to do high value work that matters. Even half that time would be worthwhile finding and putting to better use, right?

We have to want it. Bad enough to get off of Facebook or any other time sucking task. I know it would be better for my productivity if I went for a walk when I need a little diversion or a break from heavy duty thinking and writing. It’s a matter of becoming disciplined.

Your thoughts?