Charisma and its Uses in Team Building

The personality traits that are collectively known as charisma are a key aspect of team building and creating a productive team. Merriam Webster defines charisma, as “a personal magic of leadership that inspires special popularity loyalty or enthusiasm.” Ken Blanchard believes that team building is about ‘we. My father always said that there was no “I” in “team”. Team spirit can affect the results of team building and its long-term impact on an organization. “Pay no attention at all to the man behind that curtain” is a dangerous maxim.

Ever notice that charisma has different definitions depending on what point of reference a person uses? In the past, charisma was used as a way to identify people with extraordinary powers. Today, it’s used to determine people positively and negatively. Today charismatic business leaders as Jason Hare Kingston are liked by people because they can inspire others and give them a sense that they are capable of persuasion and success.

Charisma does not necessarily have a universal definition. Every company in all sectors (technical, manufacturing, banking, etc.), has recognized charismatic characteristics. The characteristics of charismatic leaders have been identified by all companies in every sector (technical, manufacturing, banking etc.). I have seen charismatic leaders with many personality traits. However, the one that stood out to me most in a corporate setting was “likeability”. They are not always the most smart, persuasive, or in high-ranking positions. You can already see that the landscape is full of charismatic people.

To make matters worse, charisma can be a learned trait. You can look through college yearbooks and see which students were charismatic and popular. Then, take a look into their achievements as leaders. They might even have been industry leaders. The external influences that can affect the charisma of leaders such as bad management decisions or changes in technology, as well as changes in leadership, can make it difficult to retain this moniker. Skills can influence how charisma is assessed.

Before we look at the possible effects of charisma in team building, consider these questions:

-Think of two or three people with charisma you know. Next, ask yourself: Would this person lead me into a difficult position?

-Do these charismatic individuals have any character flaws? These are your flaws.

-A team of equals: Would you feel confident that any one of these people could ‘pull their weight’? And would that person be a humble participator; share the credit and accept some of the blame if things go wrong?

-Do you think charisma can be attributed to intellect, likeability, or reciprocal admiration of others?

-Do I feel influenced to assign a charismatic definition by external forces, such as reports or politics? Is charismatic someone because of the people they are?

Charisma can be acquired and lost because it is a fleeting trait. This ability is only possible when people are willing to accept such a moniker. Also, charismatic leaders do not always have to be charismatic. Charismatic leaders might be liked or respected.

People’s charisma is developed from the relevant experiences and characteristics that are relevant to their place, time, promotion and culture.

However, Team Building is not a conversation about charisma. Because teams in an organization should be a unit, and not associated with a leader whose role could ultimately be self-serving. It is possible for a team to be divided if they have more than one leader. Yes, team leaders do exist. However, they need to look for people who can support them. Many believed General Patton charismatic. However, many disagreed. Many consider Lee Iacocca charismatic. Steve Jobs was the most famous charismatic leader. One thing to remember is that you shouldn’t cause personality conflicts among charismatic individuals in your team. Respect is earned. Leaders are made. Respect is earned. Character builds.

Many years ago, I wrote stories about individuals working in wine country. I’ll write about someone I find interesting when I do. This is a sort of “On The Road avec Charles Kuralt” theme. My personality, or rather a trait I acquired from my father, is to mentor others I think are destined to better things. A lot of my Navy training may have helped me develop a strong self-imagination ability. But I do know one thing: I like people who are kind, humble and comfortable with others’ accomplishments. I also prefer those who prepare well and avoid conflicts. I love people who make me feel special. If you have a need for private counsel, we appreciate it.

However, I am not interested in being around people who use charisma to create a competitive environment. The work environment can be a detriment to team building. Conflicts will always arise because of the interaction among teams within a company. It is destructive!

Team building should focus on avoiding destructive charismatic interplay and developing leaders with genuine technical abilities. It also allows individuals to grow their personal charisma to benefit the organization and their team.

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