Relational Charisma


Not every leader can fill stadiums or pack arenas. What is relational charisma, and how can you develop it?

Very few leaders possess what I refer to as a “Stadium-Filling Charisma.” You know what I mean; a personality that is larger than life and people flock just to be around that person. I don’t have it, do you?

The good news is that kind of charisma is not a qualifier to become a good leader. In fact, it can be a detriment. However, some degree of a winning temperament is necessary to lead effectively, and everyone can have what I refer to as “Relational Charisma.”

Relational charisma is not defined by your personality. Many good leaders I know who have a high quotient of relational charisma are relatively quiet and introverted. And I’m sure you know at least one loud and overbearing leader with a big personality who drives people away rather than draws people in.

So don’t think personality, think intentionality.

Relational charisma is a kind of charisma that everyone can have if you want it, and if you are willing to intentionally work on it. It’s the kind of charisma that endears people to you and allows you to lead more effectively.

Here is the primary practice to develop relational charisma. When you walk into a room, focus on leading the people in the room to feel better about who they are, rather than causing the people to feel better about who you are. In other words, make it about them, not you. Breaking this practice down in summary looks like this: listening, asking questions, believing and looking for the best, encouraging, and adding value.

In concept it’s simple, but in practice it can be challenging to remain consistent to this idea. It’s a way of life really, and it is life changing for both you and those you are around.

There are three things necessary to enable you to do this consistently and from the heart:

1) Self-Confidence

You believe in yourself, you know who you are and you like who you are. You possess a sense of personal security that allows you to make your presence in the room about others and not about yourself.  In general you think to yourself, “I can do this.” Not out of personal bravado, but from an inner sense that God is with you.

2) Self-Awareness

If you walk into a room and are somewhat oblivious to what is going on with others, and or have little idea how you are perceived and received, it would be said you are not very self-aware. Self-awareness starts with security and then integrates that security to social environments by becoming “aware” of others, how you relate with others, and how others perceive you.

3) Genuine care for people

This is a little easier to define. You know if you sincerely care about others and when you don’t. However, I will say there are those who want to care, but until they gain some ground in self-confidence and self-awareness it is difficult to genuinely care because they are consumed with their own concerns. This is not an indictment, it’s an encouragement to give yourself grace and work on self-confidence and self-awareness.

I hope you find relational charisma as a way of life like I do. It truly makes a life changing difference for you and for those you lead.


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