I’m writing this blog from La Jolla, California, where I am currently working for one of the largest food companies in the world by delivering a workshop on “Leading in Times of Great Change“.
This morning at breakfast, I was reading an article in the Harvard Business Review discussing the difference between competence and charisma in leadership. Basically, the article said that 45% of the time, people do not choose leaders based on their competence: they choose them based on their charisma, personality, and level of self-confidence. So, after all of these years teaching key leadership characteristics like honesty, vision, integrity, collaboration, courage, communications, humility, and innovation, it turns out that the best way to be a leader is: grow six inches, become very good-looking, be overconfident, and speak loudly!
I wish I could say I was kidding about the content of the article, which was based on a massive amount of research, but I have actually witnessed working with “leaders” who were basically incompetent but highly charismatic and overly confident. However, I do not believe that someone who is simply a charismatic leader can build a sustainably successful organization and that, at the end of the day, the core competencies, attitudes, and behaviors of a real leader still focus on all of the things I mentioned above.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this issue.