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Published on September 15, 2020

6 Characteristics of an Effective Leadership

6 Characteristics of an Effective Leadership

We all know a person with effective leadership skills when we see one. They seem to radiate a certain magnetism that turns heads when they speak. They know how to command attention with not just their words but the cadence of their voice and even their body language. From celebrities to industrial and world leaders, charismatic people can draw anyone in.

For a long time, conventional wisdom held onto the belief that you were either born with charisma or you weren’t. Psychologists believe that charisma is a mix of nature and nurture.[1] Yes, some people are simply hardwired with a more charismatic personality than others. The good news, though, is that you can learn to be more charismatic and develop such qualities if you want to become a leader.

Before we jump into those qualities, it would probably help to define what exactly charisma is.

What Is Charisma?

The word means “divine gift” in Greek. Charisma is steeped in a certain amount of mystery, but to really boil it down, Merriam-Webster dictionary defines it as “a personal magic of leadership arousing special popular loyalty or enthusiasm for a public figure.”[2] (Admittedly, that doesn’t sound like something that can be learned, but let’s hold out hope.)

It’s easy to see how “a personal magic of leadership” could be so appealing for a leader and give them a cutting edge over the competition. Having that certain “It” factor might come more innately for some than others, but everyone with effective leadership skills have at least some of it, even if they learned it along the way.

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Here are the qualities of a charismatic leader and why they’re so beneficial.

1. Adaptable

A psychology professor from the University of Queensland in Australia, William von Hippel, believes that adaptability is the number one trait that all effective leaders possess.[3] “There are clearly many qualities that enable people to be socially successful, but the fact that what works in one situation often does not work in another suggests that behavioral flexibility may be the single most important attribute for social functioning,” said von Hippel.

There’s nothing charismatic about sulking when plans don’t work out exactly as expected. Instead, charismatic leaders find a way to make lemonade with the lemons they’ve been given. This adaptability was further broken down by von Hippel into several offshoots:

  • Being quick-witted
  • Knowing how to handle subtle changes
  • Staying cool amid distraction

According to von Hippel, charismatic people may not always know the right answer to a tough question, but they have the ability to come up with alternative answers and choose what works best for the situation. They’re also in tune with what’s going on around them and can quickly modify their behavior to handle any conflicts. Among all of this, charismatic leaders are cool as cucumbers — or at least project that confidence — regardless of whatever distractions there may be.

Being adaptable allows them to close business deals and push ahead, even when things don’t go according to plan.

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2. Confident

Trust is one of the most important things for leaders to establish with their teams. When a leader is confident and not afraid to take a bold stance, it allows others to relax a little bit and stand behind that leader because they trust them. Charismatic leaders exude confidence almost without falter.

When it’s a celebrity like Bono or Lady Gaga, they call this confidence swagger as it allows them to strut across the stage like they haven’t got a sliver of self-doubt in them. Their confidence can be felt throughout an entire arena. Showing confidence isn’t always easy, but it can certainly be learned and is paramount for success. Confident leaders will always be the ones who see the glass half-full, and this sort of optimism can be a powerful motivating tool for those they lead.

3. Visionary

Charismatic leaders may respect the past, but they’re not going to be stuck in it. They have a mindset for innovation and are almost always looking for ways to improve things. It’s this sort of forward-thinking that made somebody like Martin Luther King Jr. such a charismatic leader. He had a clear vision that he was passionate about and knew how to communicate it (more on that in a second).

Charismatic leaders have clearly defined goals that they want to achieve. Combined with confidence, that can be incredibly intoxicating to other people. Next to adaptability, this may be the second most important quality of a charismatic leader, and how they go about sharing their vision often results in a strong emotional response from the listeners.

4. Determined

If the vision is the far off summit on the horizon, determination is the drive that keeps charismatic leaders pushing forward. If that vision is ever going to be achieved, then milestones will have to be accomplished along the way. Take Amazon’s vision of having a zero carbon footprint by 2040, for example.[4] In order to make that happen, Jeff Bezos and his team need unwavering determination and hit certain goals at certain points in this timeline.

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Determined leaders don’t give up when they hit roadblocks. Instead, they put their head down, adapt, and push forward. This drive to keep pushing ahead can trickle down and motivate their subordinates to work harder at accomplishing whatever the collective goal may be.

Check out this article about building strong thinking skills: How to Build Strategic Thinking Skills for Effective Leadership.

5. Great Communicator

There’s a reason why crowds will show up in droves to hear a politician speak: the most captivating politicians know how to communicate their vision effectively and clearly. Those with an especially charismatic personality often have strong beliefs and can be incredibly persuasive with both their words and body language. Simply put, they’re good storytellers.

Charismatic leaders draw listeners in with good posture, eye contact, and hand gestures to help connect their words to the audience. They articulate their words to help convey their vision and deliver their message with confidence, whether they’re speaking to an individual or an audience of 10,000 people.

Clear communication is key for the formulation of new goals and in gaining the trust of the people around them.[5]

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6. Creative

The economy is changing faster than ever, and you don’t have to look very far to realize how creativity and adaptability will drive the successes of tomorrow. So, what does it have to do with charisma?

Well, charismatic people tend to think outside the box and look for new ways of doing things. This, of course, ties into having a passion and vision. Not only do charismatic thinkers tend to be creative people, but they also challenge the status quo and take risks to turn those visions into reality. Aside from thinking outside the box, the best managers with effective leadership skills encourage others to tap into their own creativity and improve how they approach a situation.[6]

A charismatic leader rises to meet the challenges they face and view problems as opportunities for innovation. To put into perspective just how important this is, a global survey of more than 1,500 CEOs from 60 countries found that creativity was the most sought-after attribute in a leader.[7] When leaders show that their creative spirit, they come across as incredibly charismatic and inspire others to follow that creative lead as well.

Final Thoughts

The most charismatic leaders don’t just have a vision and know how to effectively communicate it — they know how to adapt to the sudden changes thrown their way and still be persuasive and motivating. The truth is, some people may be born with a little more natural charisma than others. Make no mistake about it, though, the traits of a charismatic leader can all be learned and developed.

More on Becoming an Effective Leader

Featured photo credit: Austin Distel via unsplash.com

Reference

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Jeremy Diamond

Jeremy Diamond is a lawyer and entrepreneur. He is the Senior Partner of Diamond and Diamond Lawyers, a national law firm based in Canada

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Last Updated on September 24, 2020

17 Ways Learn New Skills Faster and Enjoy the Process

17 Ways Learn New Skills Faster and Enjoy the Process

In the movie The Matrix, everyone was intrigued with the ability that Neo and his friends possessed to learn new skills in a matter of seconds. With the incredible rise in technology today, the rapid learning in the movie is becoming much more of a reality than you realize.

The current generation has access to more knowledge and information than any before it. Through the internet, we are able to access all sorts of knowledge to answer almost every conceivable question. To become smarter, it’s more about the ability to learn faster, rather than being a natural born genius.

Here are 17 ways to kickstart your Matrix-style learning experience in a short amount of time.

1. Deconstruct and Reverse Engineer

Break down the skill that you want to learn into little pieces and learn techniques to master an isolated portion. The small pieces will come together to make up the whole skill.

For example, when you’re learning to play the guitar, learn how to press down a chord pattern with your fingers first without even trying to strum the chord. Once you are able to change between a couple of chord patterns, then add the strumming.

2. Use the Pareto Principle

Use the Pareto Principle, which is also known as the 80 20 rule. Identify the 20% of the work that will give you 80% of the results. Find out more about the 80 20 rule here: What Is the 80 20 Rule (And How to Use It to Boost Productivity)

Take learning a new language for example. It does not take long to realize that some words pop up over and over again as you’re learning. You can do a quick search for “most commonly used French words,” for example, and begin to learn them first before adding on the rest.

3. Make Stakes

Establish some sort of punishment for not learning the skill that you are seeking. There are sites available that allow you to make a donation toward a charity you absolutely hate if you do not meet your goals. Or you can place a bet with a friend to light that fire under you.

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However, keep in mind that several studies have shown that rewards tend to be more motivating than punishment[1].

4. Record Yourself

Seeing yourself on video is a great way to learn from your mistakes and identify areas that you need to improve. This is very effective for any musicians, actors, speakers, performers, and dancers.

5. Join a Group

There are huge benefits to learning in a group. Not only are you able to learn from others but you’ll be encouraged to make progress together. Whether it’s a chess club, a mastermind group, or an online meet-up group, get connected with other like-minded individuals.

6. Time Travel

Visit the library. Although everything is moving more and more online, there are still such things called libraries.

Whether it’s a municipal library or your university library, you will be amazed at some of the books available there that are not accessible online. Specifically, look for the hidden treasures and wisdom contained in the really old books.

7. Be a Chameleon

When you want to learn new skills, imitate your biggest idol. Watch a video and learn from seeing someone else do it. Participate in mimicry and copy what you see.

Studies have shown that, apart from learning,[2]

“Mimicry is an effective tool not only to create ties and social relationships, but also for maintaining them.”

Visual learning is a great way to speed up the learning process. YouTube has thousands of videos on almost every topic available.

8. Focus

Follow one course until success! It’s easy to get distracted, to throw in the towel, or to become interested in the next great thing and ditch what you initially set out to do.

Ditch the whole idea of multitasking, as it has been shown to be detrimental and unproductive Simply focus on the one new skill at hand until you get it done.

9. Visualize

The mind has great difficulty distinguishing between what is real and what is imagined. That is why athletes practice mentally seeing their success before attempting the real thing[3].

Visualize yourself achieving your new skill and each step that you need to make to see results. This is an important skill to help when you’re learning the basics or breaking a bad habit.

Take a look at this article to learn how to do so: How to Become a Person Who Can Visualize Results

10. Find a Mentor

Success leaves clues. The best short cut to become an expert is to find an expert and not have to make the mistakes that they have made.

Finding out what NOT to do from the expert will fast-track your learning when you want to learn new skills. It is a huge win to have them personally walk you through what needs to be done. Reach out and send an email to them.

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If you need help learning how to find a mentor, check out this article.

11. Sleep on It

Practice your new skill within four hours of going to sleep.

Josh Kaufman, author of The Personal MBA, is a noted rapid learning expert. He says that any practice done within this time frame causes your brain to embed the learning more rapidly into its neural pathways. Your memory and motor-mechanics are ingrained at a quicker level.

12. Use the 20-Hour Rule

Along with that tip, Kaufman also suggests 20 as the magic number of hours to dedicate to learning the new skill.

His reasoning is that everyone will hit a wall early on in the rapid learning stage and that “pre-committing” to 20 hours is a sure-fire way to push through that wall and acquire your new skill.[4]

Check out his video to find out more:

13. Learn by Doing

It’s easy to get caught up in reading and gathering information on how to learn new skills and never actually get around to doing those skills. The best way to learn is to do.

Regardless of how unprepared you feel, make sure you are physically engaged continuously. Keep alternating between research and practice.

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14. Complete Short Sprints

Rather than to force yourself into enduring hours upon hours of dedication, work in short sprints of about 20-30 minutes, then get up and stretch or take a short walk. Your brain’s attention span works best with short breaks, so be sure to give it the little rest it needs.

One study found that, between two groups of students, the students who took two short breaks when studying actually performed better than those who didn’t take breaks[5].

15. Ditch the Distractions

Make sure the environment you are in is perfect for your rapid-learning progress. That means ditching any social media, and the temptation to check any email. As the saying goes, “Out of sight, out of mind.”

Before you sit down to learn new skills, make sure that potential distractions are far from sight.

16. Use Nootropics

Otherwise known as brain enhancers, these cognitive boosters are available in natural herbal forms and in supplements.

Many students will swear by the increased focus that nootropics will provide[6], particularly as they get set for some serious cramming. Natural herbal nootropics have been used for thousands of years in Ayurvedic traditions to improve the mind and learning.

Find out more about brain supplements in this article.

17. Celebrate

For every single small win that you experience during the learning process, be sure to celebrate. Your brain will release endorphins and serotonin as you raise your hands in victory and pump your fits. Have a piece of chocolate and give yourself a pat on the back. This positive reinforcement will help you keep pushing forward as you learn new skills.

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The Bottom Line

Learning a new skill should be exciting and fun. Whether you use online courses, real world experience, YouTube videos, or free online resources, take time to learn in the long term. Keep picturing the joy of reaching the end goal and being a better version of yourself as continual motivation.

More Tips on How to Learn New Skills

Featured photo credit: Elijah M. Henderson via unsplash.com

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