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Charisma: The hidden power of leadership

Charisma -- a vital osmosis of strength and warmth

Your ability to lead is transformed to 'magic' by charisma. Charisma is an authentic competitive edge in a work world with so much need for human leadership.

Charisma is an ancient term. It comes from the Greek 'charism' which means ‘a gift of spiritual power.’ Charisma is spiritual power grounded in humanness – a personal force for goodwill in the 21st century.

When we look at power within organizations spiritual power is rarely considered. Typically, organizational communication researchers list and describe seven (7) different kinds of worldly power. The seven (7) types of power are coercion, connection, reward, legitimate, referent, informational and expert (Types Of Power In Organizations, Diana Dahl, eHow, 2012).

Theories abound on how to use the seven (7) types of power. Legitimate power was a mainstay in the 20th century while referent power is tops in the 21st century.

Charisma is ‘hidden power behind worldly power.’ In Compelling People: The Hidden Qualities That Make Us Influential (Hudson Street Press, 2013), the authors and researchers, John Neffinger and Matthew Kohut, found that charisma is a combination of strength AND warmth – a vital osmosis of both.

Without strength, a leader seems weak. Without warmth, a leader seems inhuman. Balancing strength and warmth is like walking a tightrope: leaning too far one way or the other tolls the death knell.

According to Neffinger and Kohut, there is a creative tension between the qualities of strength and warmth that only a few can carry. Yet, in 21st century leadership, managing polarities such as strength and warmth is not simply de rigueur; it’s THE personal capability of a human leader in a human workplace.

Be strong. Be warm. Be charismatic. Be a leader. Manage polarities. Be human.

Organizational communication maven by day. Food, wine and beer buff by night. World traveler. Entrepreneurial spirit. Contact Eroca Gabriel, a former Fortune 100 ‘people and culture’ consultant, at to speak at your corporate event.



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