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Guide HR: A question of charisma

Good leaders seem special. It’s a talent you can grow

People with charisma stand out. It’s a trait that we associate with leadership — that something special that makes an individual seem exceptional.

But it turns out that charisma has little to do with good looks, wealth, titles or authority, and although it can seem that individuals with charisma must have inherited it at their birth, we now have a better idea of its actual ingredients.

In fact, charisma isn’t what we would call a “natural” quality at all. You aren’t necessarily born charismatic; you become that way.

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This means you can actually boost your “charisma quotient” by cultivating the ingredients that go into making a person charismatic.

Chief among these ingredients is trustworthiness, says author David Hosager. “Trust has the ability to accelerate or destroy any business, organization or relationship,” Hosager says. “With greater trust comes greater innovation, stronger brands, increased retention of good people, higher morale, multiplied productivity, better results, and a bigger bottom line.”

The take home is clear. Be sure to walk the talk, but also take a hard look at the following questions.

Q: “Am I trustworthy? Do I keep my promises to everyone?”

Have a vision. As a manager or boss, give meaning to everything you do. Have a vision for both direction and content. Ideally, that vision or grand project must align with your company strategy and be consistent with your own personality. Therefore, take some time to reflect on your vision for your future and that of your farm. Write it down so you can articulate it clearly and consistently.

Find stimulating projects, and get out of your comfort zone. Individuals are capable of taking calculated risks for their projects. Therefore, accept being unconventional, and invest in yourself emotionally and financially. At the same time, dedicate a good part of your time to your mission, projects or other causes that are important to you.

Q: “Where do I see my business in two, five or even 10 years? What will it look like?”

Communicate your vision. You have to know how to communicate your project or vision as well as possible and be able to talk intelligently about an emotional subject.

Q: “Do my family and employees understand my vision?”

Know how to smile. Talk with your hands, express yourself clearly, be enthusiastic and dynamic, listen and do not judge. You must master your emotions. That does not mean containing them or not expressing them but rather knowing how to recognize and manage them — in short, how to use them appropriately depending on the circumstances.

Q: “How do I contaminate others?”

Emotions are contagious. As a leader, you have a huge impact on others, so be consistent. To evaluate your charisma potential, it is crucial to analyze, several times if necessary, the way you behave in your private life. Am I a charismatic leader with my friends? With my kids? If the answer is yes, you can then try to reproduce certain attitudes and behaviours outside the home that you adopt in your private life.

Be confident while remaining accessible and human. Undeniably, there can be a thin line between confidence and pretentiousness. Having a clear vision of the future and confidence in your methods and values doesn’t mean that you have to be stubbornly sure of yourself and deny others’ concerns or even reject criticism. Furthermore, people who have charisma also know how to say that they have doubts, uncertainties, fears and desires, thereby making connections with others.

Q: “Am I at ease sharing my emotions?”

Practise it. It will benefit you. Listen to, respect and think about other people. Above all, try to understand others before being understood. Develop a healthy curiosity about the people to whom you are speaking. Take an interest in them and respect differences.

Q: “When I communicate, do I really want to understand the other’s point of view?”

Recognize and value other people. Charismatic people publicly recognize other people’s contributions. They regularly give positive feedback and praise strengths. People really appreciate being recognized, and they feel heard, supported and respected when others show them empathy.

Q: “How do I recognize others’ contributions?”

Remember that, whatever you do, charisma resides in the way others perceive you.

How much charisma and what style of it do you have? Curious?

About the author


Pierrette Desrosiers

Pierrette Desrosiers, MPS, CRHA is a work psychologist, professional speaker, coach and author who specializes in the agricultural industry. She comes from a family of farmers and she and her husband have farmed for more than 25 years (

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