Rekindle the magic of team leadership

Inspiring people can be the key to your company's success if you know what to do and emerge as a manager with vision and...

Inspiring people can be the key to your company's success if you know what to do and emerge as a manager with vision and motivation

A few weeks ago a question appeared in Computer Weekly's Strategy Clinic, on the subject of charisma.

An IT leader was concerned because none of his/her team seemed to have any. Replies from the experts were predictable - stop worrying about such silly things and start doing your job. Charisma, after all, only exists in the mind.

They were half-right. Charisma is not known as something you can touch, weigh or measure and so it does only exist within us.

However, it is not just in our minds, it is in our hearts as well. And there is the rub - if it exists in either, it is as real as we want it to be, therefore it exists. You know people who have it and some who do not.

I have been researching charisma for two years now and I have reached the following three conclusions:

  • It does exist and is definable
  • Everyone has it within themselves
  • It is key to leadership in IT and will continue to be.

A few months ago, I received a leaflet for a one-day seminar, "Charisma in a day" - great value at £99, excluding lunch.

However, the blurb was the very ammunition that prevents us from embracing such concepts of charisma as reality, rather than as some new age fad that will come and go.

I define charisma as:

Presence - as opposed to absence. The invisible man lacked a certain presence. So be with your people, in person. Speak with them, listen to them and show them they have value. Do this now, today and every day
Passion - as opposed to indifference. Is your boss boring? Do people yawn in front of you? You were not born that way - everyone wants to dance with life, to make their dreams come true. If your heart is not in it, find a new job. All IT leaders, all people in fact, have to enjoy what they do to do it well. Others will notice if your heart is not in it. And, by the way, you can do something to put wow into your talks, zest into your style and buzz into your presentations
Positivity - in comparison to negativity. Anyone can be a leader when the seas are calm, it is during the times of greatest turbulence that true leaders emerge. Start to focus on what you and your team want, rather than what they do not want, on opportunities rather than problems and on the now and future rather than the past and you will become charismatic.

All three of these are defined by actions, behaviour and choice. Whether you have charisma or not is up to you.

People in IT are crying out for leadership and direction. They are ready and willing to give their best - but unsure what to do, where to go or whom to trust.
We often fail to appreciate the incredible power that one person, or a small group can have inside a company. They influence the motivation of others, the culture in their team (often clones of themselves) and the effectiveness and results of their department.

As an IT leader, take on these three behaviours and you will see your personality permeating throughout the department, like a warm river of energy.

Charisma is a key component to true leadership. Every organisation has an enormous, latent force waiting to be released. Management will keep it stifled, true leadership will set it free. And when it is free, everything else falls into place, automatically.

I call on all IT leaders to release the incredible power that exists inside your organisations - by influencing a handful of people, who will, in turn, inspire others. You will start a ripple effect that will release the creativity, innovation and potential of millions.

When you meet someone who practises charisma you will feel inspired. You will also feel warm, and feel your life has been touched by another. That is a feeling that is difficult to describe. The only word I can think of is magic.

Maybe that could be the subject of another Strategy Clinic: "Dear expert, my chief executive officer lacks magic. Can you offer some suggestions as to what can I do about it?"

Maybe not.

I have been researching charisma for two years now and I have reached the following three conclusions:

  • It does exist and is definable
  • Everyone has it within themselves
  • It is key to leadership in IT and will continue to be.

It can be defined by:

  • Presence
  • Passion
  • Positivity.

David Taylor
David Taylor's Inside Track, a provocative insight into the world of IT in business, is published by Butterworth Heinemann. Tel: 01865-888180

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