Episode 5

full
Published on:

17th Nov 2022

Charisma and personality: how much do you need to lead?

In this episode we question what charisma really is and if you need it to be a good leader. We discuss how much personality impacts how effective you are as a leader. And we ask whether charisma is only associated with male leaders.

  • 08:48  – building rapport and charisma
  • 09:22 – is charisma inspirational?
  • 11:52 – charisma as a label
  • 14:05 – being likeable doesn’t always get the job done
  • 16:04 – charisma – is it a man thing?
  • 24:57 – personality transplant
  • 30:30 – the how to...

As always we share our top takeaways and in this episode we share our thoughts on owning your personality and being authentic. We also talk about focusing on strategy, connection and communication.

We reference ‘Too Much Charisma Can Make Leaders Look Less Effective’ published by the Harvard Business Review.

----------------------

If you enjoyed this episode why not subscribe to the podcast. We would love it if you left us a rating or review and feel free to share the link to this episode with anyone else you think would find it interesting, using #HowToTakeTheLead

New episodes will be released every Thursday and you can listen/ download on your favourite platform.

To find out more visit www.howtotakethelead.com  

Enjoy this series and let us know what you would like us to cover in future episodes on Instagram @howtotakethelead or Twitter @How2TakeTheLead

Transcript
Carrie-Ann:

God, These pair with no personality or charisma.

Carrie-Ann:

What a drama.

Lee:

my husband does tell me that.

Lee:

He says, I think I'm funnier than I am

Carrie-Ann:

Sometimes I say it about myself.

Carrie-Ann:

I thought that was really funny, but nobody else did.

Lee:

hello and welcome to another episode of How to Take the Lead with

Lee:

my lovely co collaborator in crime, as I like to call her Carrie Ann,

Carrie-Ann:

Hello, Lee.

Carrie-Ann:

How are you?

Carrie-Ann:

That's a, that's a lovely welcome.

Carrie-Ann:

Thank you so much.

Carrie-Ann:

I was gonna ask, what do you want calling me?

Carrie-Ann:

Lovely.

Carrie-Ann:

You there must be something that you're creeping for.

Lee:

do you mean I don't normally use such, such nice words when I describe you?

Carrie-Ann:

No, I feel like we've spent so much time

Carrie-Ann:

together over the last few weeks.

Carrie-Ann:

You're probably sick of the site of me by now.

Lee:

Never, how are you doing

Carrie-Ann:

I'm not too bad.

Carrie-Ann:

Thank you.

Carrie-Ann:

I'm coming to terms with the, uh, autumnal creeping into winter vibes.

Lee:

was hoping we were gonna get an intro without weather wa

Carrie-Ann:

no.

Carrie-Ann:

Yeah.

Carrie-Ann:

Oh my God.

Carrie-Ann:

Sorry.

Carrie-Ann:

Edit it out.

Carrie-Ann:

Edit it out, Lee.

Carrie-Ann:

Edit the weather out.

Carrie-Ann:

Maybe I've got a, a thing that I've got an un unfulfilled desire

Carrie-Ann:

to have been a weather person.

Carrie-Ann:

Really

Lee:

I thought you were gonna say an unfulfilled desire to be a hairdresser.

Carrie-Ann:

well.

Carrie-Ann:

The small talk been anywhere nice for your holiday Sorry.

Carrie-Ann:

We digress as we usually do.

Lee:

I apologize to any hairdressers listening who've been offended by

Lee:

Carrie Ann's impression of them.

Carrie-Ann:

Yeah, it was.

Carrie-Ann:

That's like when you have a phone voice, clearly I would've

Carrie-Ann:

had a hairdresser's voice.

Carrie-Ann:

Mm.

Carrie-Ann:

Interesting.

Carrie-Ann:

Now I'm worrying that I just randomly make small talk with people I don't

Carrie-Ann:

know in that voice all the time.

Lee:

Well, this is your extrovert, peak extrovert coming out now, isn't it?

Carrie-Ann:

Peak extrovert.

Carrie-Ann:

Yeah.

Carrie-Ann:

Don't get us started on that.

Carrie-Ann:

I know that's a different episode, but we've had quite a few chats recently

Carrie-Ann:

where I feel like you are becoming more extrovert and I'm becoming more

Carrie-Ann:

introvert, that we're having some weird, like, are we gonna meet in the

Carrie-Ann:

middle or some are we gonna implode?

Carrie-Ann:

I dunno what's gonna happen.

Lee:

We can have one of those.

Lee:

Jody Foster Freaky Friday moments.

Carrie-Ann:

Uh, it's coming up to Halloween, so who knows?

Carrie-Ann:

Who knows?

Lee:

So anyway, the, the main reason people are tuning in, do you tune into

Lee:

a podcast Anyway, the main reason they might be listening to today's episode

Lee:

is I want to talk about something that, actually sparked in my brain in the

Lee:

summer, like way, way before, I think we were in the middle of recording series one

Lee:

and I was at a festival, and I overheard a conversation between some people about

Lee:

Kier Starmer not having a personality and so they were less likely to vote for them.

Lee:

And it, it just struck this whole.

Lee:

Kind of conversation in my head.

Lee:

I, I found fascinating and obviously there's been a huge amount of

Lee:

political change since then.

Lee:

And I don't want this to be a,

Carrie-Ann:

Yes.

Carrie-Ann:

Another episode on the state of Politics today.

Lee:

But, but I would be remiss to not tell you how the topic for

Lee:

today's conversation came about.

Lee:

So, we'll, we'll try and err away from the politics per se, but look

Lee:

more at this concept of charisma and personality and actually how

Lee:

much of it do you need to lead?

Lee:

Obviously it seems to play a big part in politics, but I do think the

Lee:

same could be said in business and industry as well, and it really got me

Lee:

thinking about whether having charisma and or personality cuz they aren't

Lee:

necessarily one of the same thing.

Lee:

Is it the cherry on top of a cake for successful leaders or is it that core

Lee:

ingredient that without it you'll end up with this uninspiring mess?

Lee:

A bit like when I try to make cheesecake at home Yeah.

Lee:

Does it really matter?

Carrie-Ann:

Well, do you know what?

Carrie-Ann:

Since we started talking about charisma, cause obviously we do

Carrie-Ann:

have chats in between episodes about things that are on our mind

Carrie-Ann:

and, and in that leadership space.

Carrie-Ann:

I've been back and forth with this one to be honest Lee.

Carrie-Ann:

I've not been on the fence.

Carrie-Ann:

I've been flip flopping either side of the fence about my thoughts around it because

Carrie-Ann:

there was a bit of me that was like, well in previous episodes we've talked

Carrie-Ann:

about what you need to be, uh, a good leader or a leader that people trust in

Carrie-Ann:

and people want to go on a journey with.

Carrie-Ann:

And that has often been about being approachable, being open, acting

Carrie-Ann:

with integrity, being authentic.

Carrie-Ann:

Um, I guess to some degree, being likable,

Lee:

Mm

Carrie-Ann:

tell a story, be someone that can take a person with them on a journey.

Carrie-Ann:

So therefore, having that rapport.

Carrie-Ann:

So for me, I was like that's some really important ingredients

Carrie-Ann:

of being a good leader.

Carrie-Ann:

But all of that seems to also be what it means to be charismatic.

Carrie-Ann:

So, but I wouldn't necessarily say that all leaders that I've come across, I

Carrie-Ann:

would've described as being charismatic, but they have been able to do at least

Carrie-Ann:

some of those things as a leader.

Carrie-Ann:

So I sort of ended up confusing myself, if I'm honest, which is probably

Carrie-Ann:

unhelpful for the listeners who might have wanted a more direct answer.

Lee:

Should we, should we just end the episode here then?

Lee:

We don't know the answer to the question.

Carrie-Ann:

Well, I think there's some interesting things to explore around

Carrie-Ann:

that theme of charisma, because then as I was going through all of that, do, do,

Carrie-Ann:

is it the cherry on the top of the cake?

Carrie-Ann:

Is it already in the cake?

Carrie-Ann:

I don't really know.

Carrie-Ann:

There was also a bit of me around is it about people's perceptions as well

Carrie-Ann:

though, because people who I might think are charismatic as leaders or, or others.

Carrie-Ann:

So I was trying to think of some examples.

Carrie-Ann:

And sadly, quite a few of them were politicians, but

Carrie-Ann:

I'm sure there'll be more.

Carrie-Ann:

But like for me, like Barack Obama is a person who I, I personally would

Carrie-Ann:

say does have charisma in terms of how he presents himself and when he

Carrie-Ann:

is on that kind of public speaking platform, I find him very charismatic.

Carrie-Ann:

But obviously there'll be people that don't find him charismatic.

Carrie-Ann:

So I was starting to get to a point is, is there something there about

Carrie-Ann:

your own perceptions and your own personal sort of tastes and desires

Carrie-Ann:

in terms of, of what you are looking for in a person as to whether or not

Carrie-Ann:

you, you feel that they're charismatic?

Carrie-Ann:

I don't really know.

Carrie-Ann:

So I've taken us off on a bit of a tangently because I haven't really been

Carrie-Ann:

able to answer your question directly.

Lee:

Well, I think you, you raised an interesting point because I do

Lee:

think whether you think charisma is important or not does depend on A, the

Lee:

level of charisma you think someone else is showing, and B, whether your

Lee:

own personality style is one that is likely to get on with that person.

Lee:

So I do disc personality profiling, which looks at different, particularly

Lee:

communication styles and traits and how different styles need to work

Lee:

with each other in, in the workplace.

Lee:

But you obviously do see a clash between people at different

Lee:

ends of the spectrum and.

Lee:

That's as a leader, why you need to make changes in adapting your approach

Lee:

so that you can connect with people whose style might not be yours.

Lee:

So I can absolutely see cases where, um, what I would call like

Lee:

a high eye, someone who's very extrovert and bubbly and whatever.

Lee:

Absolutely oozes, charisma can sometimes seem a bit,

Carrie-Ann:

Off putting

Lee:

Off putting, um, woolly fluffy

Carrie-Ann:

bit, much

Lee:

to, someone who's, who's in a C role.

Lee:

Because they're more into the detail and want to make sure processes

Lee:

are followed and stuff like that.

Lee:

So you can see how where you fit on a spectrum absolutely plays into a,

Lee:

whether you think charisma's important, and B, who you see as charismatic.

Carrie-Ann:

Good.

Carrie-Ann:

I feel less bad now that I've kind of flip flopped around

Carrie-Ann:

going, Oh, I don't know.

Carrie-Ann:

But I, I do think there is something in that leadership space about the

Carrie-Ann:

things we have talked about before about that ability to build rapport

Carrie-Ann:

with the people that you are leading and taking people on that journey.

Carrie-Ann:

Um, so I'm.

Carrie-Ann:

Quite interested actually in kind of how you've explained that and the

Carrie-Ann:

fact that it's about the approaches you might take to do that and what

Carrie-Ann:

appeals to different sorts of people.

Carrie-Ann:

It's not always going to be the same.

Carrie-Ann:

I feel a bit more at ease with my own, flip flopping around with my

Carrie-Ann:

thoughts on that Lee, now, Thank you

Lee:

I, I mean, I look at it as, I think people who are charismatic

Lee:

can usually inspire others.

Lee:

As we've talked about this scale, it won't, they won't

Lee:

necessarily inspire everyone.

Lee:

Um, having charisma can help you to build that trust and connection.

Lee:

And it probably helps to bring energy and enthusiasm into a situation,

Lee:

but not always in a positive way.

Lee:

I think that it can be helpful, but I don't think

Lee:

it's essential for you to lead.

Lee:

I think the most important things to lead are things you've talked about, which is

Lee:

can you inspire confidence in your vision?

Lee:

Can you communicate well?

Lee:

Can you show empathy?

Lee:

Do you have that emotional intelligence?

Lee:

I think they are stronger characteristics or must haves of leadership, whereas

Lee:

charisma, I don't think is a must have.

Carrie-Ann:

And, and I think back to that point about personal preference.

Carrie-Ann:

On the charisma front, you could describe other, Isn't it funny

Carrie-Ann:

how some of my leadership examples always go back to politicians, but.

Carrie-Ann:

I'm sure there are people who could describe Boris Johnson or even a Donald

Carrie-Ann:

Trump as charismatic in terms of, how they conduct themselves and present

Carrie-Ann:

themselves and what it might feel like to be in conversation with them.

Carrie-Ann:

But actually for me, they don't demonstrate any of those other

Carrie-Ann:

leadership characteristics we've talked about saying are really important.

Carrie-Ann:

So, so you can be charismatic and a bad leader, I think is probably

Carrie-Ann:

where I was going with that comment.

Lee:

And the, the whole premise of, of this, even as a conversation was someone

Lee:

bearing that comparison between Mr.

Lee:

Johnson and Mr.

Lee:

Stama.

Lee:

But, it's an interesting one that I think if you try too hard to have charisma

Lee:

and it's not something that's naturally in your wheelhouse, is that the word

Lee:

I'm looking for in your wheelhouse?

Lee:

Um, I think you'll, you'll probably come across as a bit creepy, so you've gotta be

Carrie-Ann:

Yeah, I think it, yeah, if you are, if you are not naturally

Carrie-Ann:

charismatic, but you are playing at being charismatic, I think, like you say,

Carrie-Ann:

it almost is being a bit inauthentic.

Carrie-Ann:

There's a bit of lack of integrity there maybe creepy is such a good word.

Carrie-Ann:

Yes, it is a bit creepy isn't it when you see people who seem to be trying

Carrie-Ann:

too hard to be the funny one or the, you know, whatever it is that sometimes you

Carrie-Ann:

think, Oh, that's just a bit awkward.

Carrie-Ann:

I think it comes across as a bit awkward if it's not your natural way of being.

Lee:

When I was thinking about charisma, I don't see many people

Lee:

describe themselves as charismatic.

Lee:

I think it's something that's gifted to you as a label by someone else,

Lee:

and I dunno whether that was like, whether that's just my reflection or,

Carrie-Ann:

I, I absolutely agree with you and I think if you ask somebody

Carrie-Ann:

to describe themselves and they went, Oh, I'm very charismatic, you'd be

Carrie-Ann:

back in that space of it feeling a bit creepy and cringy, wouldn't you?

Carrie-Ann:

Because I don't think it is a descriptor that you would

Carrie-Ann:

generally tend to use for yourself.

Carrie-Ann:

I think it is one of those ones that someone else has to find you that and

Carrie-Ann:

yeah, be kind enough to give you that label if you think it's a good thing.

Lee:

Interestingly, I mean, you said you were thinking of a lot of

Lee:

politicians when I was Thinking of it, I was thinking a lot about extroverts

Lee:

being charismatic and not necessarily something that's an introvert trait.

Lee:

And I found this study that was in the Harvard Business Review, and we

Lee:

can do a link in the show notes to it, and it showed the correlation

Lee:

between charisma, strategic thinking and operational delivery.

Lee:

And it was saying that charismatic leaders might be good at the

Lee:

strategic thinking, but really bad actually getting stuff done.

Lee:

And I thought, how true is that when we think of our politicians, going

Lee:

back to who you were thinking of and whereas the ones that you want to

Lee:

trust to get things done perhaps aren't there in the charisma state so much.

Carrie-Ann:

Yeah, a good kind of similarity again, between the

Carrie-Ann:

conversations we've had about extroverts and introverts and even

Carrie-Ann:

some of our own personality traits and things that we are good at labeling

Carrie-Ann:

ourselves as extroverts and introverts.

Carrie-Ann:

I mean I'm definitely a sort of like I've come up with the idea, but I really hope

Carrie-Ann:

someone else is gonna implement it for me.

Carrie-Ann:

So, I can see how that kind of extrovert, introvert, charisma

Carrie-Ann:

or not, might be at play.

Carrie-Ann:

I think when you are describing what charisma really means

Carrie-Ann:

and how it manifests itself.

Carrie-Ann:

It is interesting cause as we're talking, I'm like that whole point

Carrie-Ann:

around like, do you need to be charismatic to be a leader or not?

Carrie-Ann:

I can absolutely now start to see the pros and cons of that, if I'm honest with you.

Carrie-Ann:

Cuz it's like, it's all well and good, isn't it?

Carrie-Ann:

Like having the charisma and people thinking you are really great to listen

Carrie-Ann:

to and I'd love to go down the pub for a glass of wine with or whatever.

Carrie-Ann:

But actually, if you're not gonna get the job done, what sort of

Carrie-Ann:

leader are you really gonna be?

Carrie-Ann:

And, and how does that impact your credibility maybe as a leader if, if

Carrie-Ann:

you can't back up being charismatic with some actual deliverables.

Lee:

The other thing that struck me was that having charisma or being a

Lee:

leader that has charisma and personality feels like quite a manly thing.

Lee:

So even when I Googled charismatic leaders, the

Lee:

vast, vast majority were male.

Lee:

It was Elon Musk.

Lee:

Barack Obama, even Hitler came up on the list of charismatic leaders

Lee:

and obviously wouldn't have put him in that list, but he came up

Lee:

consistently as a charismatic leader.

Lee:

I had to specifically put female into the search term to

Lee:

get any female names returned.

Lee:

So I thought that was an interesting finding.

Lee:

And also then when you think about it, there seems to be more

Lee:

is accepted of male leaders.

Lee:

Almost things are forgiven and put down to, oh, it's their personality again,

Lee:

not to get political, but we've seen that with some of our, the behaviors

Lee:

of the, the male politicians, and it's, Oh, that's just him, isn't it?

Lee:

And it's almost just brushed aside.

Lee:

Whereas if it was a female leader whose personality was shining through, They'd

Lee:

perhaps be accused of not being serious enough or not having substance or those

Lee:

types of accusations are levered at them.

Lee:

And I suppose, I mean, it got me thinking, we've had a whole other conversation about

Lee:

women in leadership, so I don't want to dive too much into that specifically.

Lee:

But how do you challenge that?

Lee:

Is charisma this manly word and we should have a different word for women?

Lee:

Or do we need to be challenging the thinking around you can have personality

Lee:

and substance and still be a good leader.

Carrie-Ann:

Yeah, I, that's a really interesting one because I

Carrie-Ann:

would agree that I do think it is charisma is seen as something that

Carrie-Ann:

is predominantly a male thing.

Carrie-Ann:

Um, and I have had that conversation in other spaces actually.

Carrie-Ann:

I've been part of a, a Women's leadership Mastermind and we had a whole conversation

Carrie-Ann:

about charisma and actually would we want to be defined as charismatic ourselves?

Carrie-Ann:

Would we like it if people said we had charisma?

Carrie-Ann:

What did that really mean?

Carrie-Ann:

And there was quite a, a difference of opinion actually in that group

Carrie-Ann:

around some people a bit like the stuff we've talked about around, well,

Carrie-Ann:

it's all well and good, isn't it?

Carrie-Ann:

Being charismatic, but you know, are you gonna get the job done?

Carrie-Ann:

That's more important.

Carrie-Ann:

Some people with the whole sometimes charisma is a bit cheesy.

Carrie-Ann:

Is it a bit cringy to be overly charismatic and then a few others actually

Carrie-Ann:

saying, I, I definitely think women can be described as charismatic and that's

Carrie-Ann:

not a bad thing, that's a good thing.

Carrie-Ann:

But it all came from that starting point that you said, which is, I think there's

Carrie-Ann:

a perception that, that charisma is a word we use to describe men we would women.

Carrie-Ann:

And then I was trying to have a think about are there women that

Carrie-Ann:

I perceive to be charismatic?

Carrie-Ann:

And I guess it was interesting for me because names that sprang to

Carrie-Ann:

mind were actually more celebrities using the term loosely cos I'm not

Carrie-Ann:

sure I like the term celebrity.

Carrie-Ann:

That's a whole other episode.

Carrie-Ann:

They were more people in that celebrity sphere than they

Carrie-Ann:

were in a leadership sphere.

Carrie-Ann:

So, and again, down to personal taste, I would say someone like Claudia

Carrie-Ann:

Winkleman, I think is actually quite charismatic how she comes across.

Carrie-Ann:

See, Lee disagrees with me, so we're back to that point about personal preference,

Carrie-Ann:

but I think she comes across as somebody's very comfortable in her own skin, she can

Carrie-Ann:

have a bit of a laugh at her own self.

Carrie-Ann:

She's happy to, to kind of crack a funny, She can talk to anybody about anything.

Carrie-Ann:

And I, I feel like she comes across as quite charismatic.

Carrie-Ann:

Yet when I think of female leaders that I find really inspiring.

Carrie-Ann:

So someone like, you know, who am I trying to think of?

Carrie-Ann:

Let me try and think of.

Carrie-Ann:

Yes.

Carrie-Ann:

Let's, let's say Jacinda.

Carrie-Ann:

I find her to be a really positive role model as a leader, and

Carrie-Ann:

somebody I think demonstrates lots of traits of being a good leader.

Carrie-Ann:

But I'm not sure if charismatic would be a way I would describe her, but I

Carrie-Ann:

would describe her as very likable, very approachable, inspiring, somebody

Carrie-Ann:

who clearly can build rapport with others and take people on a journey.

Carrie-Ann:

So it, it is very interesting, isn't it, how we use that

Carrie-Ann:

descriptor of being charismatic.

Carrie-Ann:

And I think, I don't know.

Carrie-Ann:

I don't know whether it's societal, I dunno whether it's historical, but I

Carrie-Ann:

think it is easier to use that descriptor for men perhaps than it is for women.

Lee:

It was interesting when I, when I did the Google search and, and

Lee:

specifically asked for female leaders, they were politicians, but it was people

Lee:

like Hillary Clinton, Michelle Obama.

Lee:

And I suppose a bit like you've just said, with Jacinda Ardern I, I wouldn't

Lee:

have ever used charismatic as a.

Lee:

If I had to describe them in one word, that wouldn't be one word that would've

Lee:

sprung to mind for either of them.

Lee:

That doesn't mean they haven't got a lot of traits that I find, um,

Lee:

inspiring, but that is not the word.

Lee:

But I can't really think of.

Lee:

A female that I would call charismatic, but I don't even know if I'd I, maybe

Lee:

it's just not a word I use in my every day, cuz I can't think positively of

Lee:

any male people who are charismatic.

Carrie-Ann:

and also though there's something for me, Sorry, it's totally

Carrie-Ann:

random and a complete digress that's come into my head, but, you know, as we

Carrie-Ann:

were talking about like the word, who, who would you describe as charismatic?

Carrie-Ann:

And actually is charisma a thing that we are really comfortable

Carrie-Ann:

with, or is it a bit cringy that.

Carrie-Ann:

I dunno why.

Carrie-Ann:

It just makes me think of adverts for like dating sites that, that there's

Carrie-Ann:

certain men that somebody might describe as, Oh, he is very charismatic in that

Carrie-Ann:

sphere rather than in a leadership space.

Carrie-Ann:

So, for me, the more we're talking about charisma, the more it's

Carrie-Ann:

something that I'm like, I'm not sure if I want charisma to be a word that

Carrie-Ann:

is associated with leadership, cuz I'm not sure really when you start

Carrie-Ann:

digging into it, the connotations of it are really that positive.

Lee:

No, but personality on the other hand, I think that is good.

Lee:

I can think of lots of leaders with personality and a lot of

Lee:

leaders who can bring their own sense of personality into a role.

Lee:

Um, yeah, so maybe, maybe those two words and sentiments of divorced

Lee:

from each other, and we are not so happy with Charisma, but personality.

Lee:

But I don't think personality is a must either.

Carrie-Ann:

Yeah, I think I'm probably with you on that one.

Carrie-Ann:

I think personality probably is the cherry on the top of the cake As you, as

Carrie-Ann:

you were talking about at the start of the episode, I think it, wouldn't it be

Carrie-Ann:

brilliant if every leader that we ever worked with had had personality or a

Carrie-Ann:

personality that resonated with us and that, and that we liked and enjoyed.

Carrie-Ann:

But that isn't always the way.

Carrie-Ann:

And actually, yeah, again, for me sometimes it's the, like, what is

Carrie-Ann:

this leader actually getting down to in terms of the nitty gritty?

Carrie-Ann:

What are they going to help us to deliver?

Carrie-Ann:

How are they gonna take us on the journey?

Carrie-Ann:

Doesn't always need them to have the best personality to, to enable you to get

Carrie-Ann:

on board with the direction of travel.

Lee:

I suppose there's shades of personality, isn't there?

Lee:

So I think if someone is completely devoid of personality, then that is

Lee:

something you might want to work on.

Lee:

I think having elements of showing up with personality does help you build connection

Lee:

and come across a bit more authentically.

Lee:

I think if you are really serious or you, you lack humor, or maybe you've been told

Lee:

by someone else that you don't have that spark comparing you to a another leader,

Lee:

for example, that is usually something that you might want to work on in your

Lee:

leadership, I suppose if you are really aspiring to the upper echelons of the

Lee:

hierarchy of leadership, I suppose if you're really gonna inspire and take

Lee:

people with you, you need to have a little bit of personality about you.

Lee:

And the more personality you have, it can kind of depend on how successful you are.

Lee:

What do you do I suppose if someone's listening to this, who goes, Oh shit,

Lee:

I haven't got a personality, or I've been told I don't have a personality.

Carrie-Ann:

You never know.

Carrie-Ann:

They might be saying it about us, Lee.

Carrie-Ann:

God, These pair with no personality or charisma.

Carrie-Ann:

What a drama.

Lee:

my husband does tell me that.

Lee:

He says, I think I'm funnier than I am

Carrie-Ann:

Oh, it's all right.

Carrie-Ann:

My partner says that about me all the time.

Carrie-Ann:

Sometimes I say it about myself.

Carrie-Ann:

I thought that was really funny, but nobody else did.

Carrie-Ann:

Sorry, we digress again.

Lee:

Have you forgotten the question?

Carrie-Ann:

Well, the question was what to do if you don't have a

Carrie-Ann:

personality and you wanna be a leader.

Carrie-Ann:

So if you don't have that natural spark, what do you do?

Carrie-Ann:

Uh, if that's a really tricky one, isn't it?

Carrie-Ann:

Because there's a bit of me that goes, I'm sure people wouldn't have got to

Carrie-Ann:

where they've got to in their leadership journeys without any personality at all.

Carrie-Ann:

One would like to think.

Lee:

I can, I can think of a few directors I've worked with over

Lee:

the time where I've questioned that

Carrie-Ann:

Yeah.

Carrie-Ann:

Yeah.

Carrie-Ann:

Now you say it, you're probably right.

Carrie-Ann:

And we might be back to that point of like people, so who get I don't wanna

Carrie-Ann:

say over promoted, cause that sounds a bit harsh, but they're just really

Carrie-Ann:

good at technically what they do.

Carrie-Ann:

And the rest of it doesn't matter.

Carrie-Ann:

So I guess there's something about what you and what others are looking

Carrie-Ann:

for in terms of, of leadership and what sort of personality you might

Carrie-Ann:

want that leader to, to demonstrate.

Lee:

Is it something though that you either have or don't have, or is

Lee:

it something like other leadership traits that you can hone over time?

Carrie-Ann:

I think the bit for me is around, again, I'm just

Carrie-Ann:

taking it back to that, like what do you need to do as a leader?

Carrie-Ann:

Really one of the main things we, we are wanting leaders to do is inspire us in

Carrie-Ann:

some way to take some sort of action.

Carrie-Ann:

So for me, I don't necessarily think there's much you can do about having

Carrie-Ann:

a complete personality transplant or being described as charismatic or not,

Carrie-Ann:

if I'm honest with you, but I think what you can do is think about the

Carrie-Ann:

things that you've said are important, which is like your communication style.

Carrie-Ann:

How can you learn, which I think you can, to be more adaptable around

Carrie-Ann:

the way that you interact and engage with different groups of people.

Carrie-Ann:

So me as an extroverted E, or I'm an, I am I in your disc space, uh, probably

Carrie-Ann:

are not gonna be inspiring everybody if I, if I operate at my natural

Carrie-Ann:

level of, of being that all the time.

Carrie-Ann:

So what I've had,

Carrie-Ann:

strength

Lee:

becomes your weakness

Carrie-Ann:

Yeah, absolutely.

Carrie-Ann:

And, and so what I've had to learn as a leader is how to adapt my

Carrie-Ann:

style and my approach to try and get the best out of other people.

Carrie-Ann:

So I think there is something that you can do in that space and that you

Carrie-Ann:

should be doing anyway as a leader around understanding, you know, your key

Carrie-Ann:

stakeholders, your target audiences, your workforce, whomever it might be that you

Carrie-Ann:

are in the lucky enough position to lead.

Carrie-Ann:

To really start to, to have that insight around, okay, with this group of people,

Carrie-Ann:

I'm really gonna need to adapt here.

Carrie-Ann:

What they're gonna need is a lot of fact, a lot of evidence, they're gonna want

Carrie-Ann:

me to just be straight down the line.

Carrie-Ann:

They don't need the funny jokes because that's just not

Carrie-Ann:

what's gonna make them tick.

Carrie-Ann:

But actually with this other group of people, I might need to come across

Carrie-Ann:

as a bit more humble and maybe put a bit of humor into the mix and be

Carrie-Ann:

more focused on the storytelling rather than the, the evidence maybe.

Carrie-Ann:

So I, I definitely think there's something about being able to learn

Carrie-Ann:

how to adapt if you haven't got that natural ability to do so..

Carrie-Ann:

But I think that's less about having the sparky personality or the charisma.

Carrie-Ann:

It's just more about wanting to be able to get the best out of and for

Carrie-Ann:

as many people as you can really.

Lee:

Yeah, it's working with what you've got and how you can make the most of it in

Lee:

the different circumstances and contexts in which you're operating in, isn't it?

Carrie-Ann:

And I've also seen examples in my career where I've worked with

Carrie-Ann:

people who you are quite right, probably don't have as much of that charisma or

Carrie-Ann:

personality naturally as other people.

Carrie-Ann:

But what I've seen them do very cleverly is make sure they've surrounded

Carrie-Ann:

themselves by people who can fill that gap a little bit for them.

Carrie-Ann:

So actually, for example, a director who maybe is a bit more serious

Carrie-Ann:

and some people might say has not got that much personality, but has

Carrie-Ann:

a deputy who brings that balance.

Carrie-Ann:

So actually they're on message with the same thing.

Carrie-Ann:

They're working towards the same goals, but between them.

Carrie-Ann:

They're able to almost tick all of the boxes around engaging with those

Carrie-Ann:

different groups of people who want, who want different things from them.

Carrie-Ann:

So the people who want the personality and the charisma are maybe more aligned

Carrie-Ann:

with the leading with the deputy, but the people who maybe want the more

Carrie-Ann:

serious, let's just get on and deliver.

Carrie-Ann:

So that's, that can sometimes I think, be a powerful combination

Carrie-Ann:

and a way to counteract, but I, I think that goes for everything,

Carrie-Ann:

not just charisma or personality.

Carrie-Ann:

Cuz we talk about needing to have well balanced teams of people who

Carrie-Ann:

bring a diverse mix to things.

Carrie-Ann:

But I think you can maybe look to, to do that a bit more when you are in a position

Carrie-Ann:

of building your own leadership team around you to kind of look at where your

Carrie-Ann:

weaknesses might be to make sure you bring some of that strength in somewhere else.

Lee:

That's a really important point.

Lee:

I think, as with any of the traits or skills we've talked about in

Lee:

in previous episodes, that you might want to develop as a leader.

Lee:

It's first and foremost about bringing that awareness of what the situation is.

Lee:

Then that understanding around, where you are at and why you are in that place,

Lee:

and then you can start to work on it.

Lee:

And normally I think that involves working with someone else.

Lee:

And whether that's building your team or specifically working on

Lee:

your own skills in a safe space.

Lee:

Easy for me to say.

Lee:

What I always find fascinating, not to go into politics, but

Lee:

how politicians suddenly have a personality once they've left politics.

Lee:

And there's quite a few people that I've thought are totally uninspired

Lee:

by when they were in the political world, but then you see them after

Lee:

media commentary or, or whatever, and sudden, , you're like, Oh, actually

Carrie-Ann:

I quite like them.

Carrie-Ann:

They're

Lee:

I quite like them.

Lee:

Why Why didn't they bring that to the table during their political career?

Lee:

Um, so there is something about trying to understand a person and why

Lee:

they're behaving in a certain way, cuz they might have it within them.

Carrie-Ann:

Yeah, they might just be constrained by the role or

Carrie-Ann:

the circumstance in which they're operating Or think they are.

Lee:

So conscious of our times to wrap up, let's end with some howtos and I

Lee:

haven't really got a questioned howtos, so it's more about how do you start

Lee:

to own, let's say own your personality rather than become more charismatic.

Lee:

Cuz I think we've missed that word.

Carrie-Ann:

Yeah, we've decided we're not that keen on the old charisma.

Carrie-Ann:

I think there's something for me, actually, this was gonna be my how

Carrie-Ann:

too, which is don't get caught up in the idea of needing to be charismatic.

Carrie-Ann:

Because I think what will happen is you will start to come across as quite

Carrie-Ann:

disingenuous because you are so focused on, I must have a personality that's

Carrie-Ann:

like this to reach out to these people.

Carrie-Ann:

You are less authentic.

Carrie-Ann:

So my how to would definitely be about be your authentic self for sure.

Carrie-Ann:

But actually if there are things you feel you need to do a bit of work

Carrie-Ann:

on that would help you engage or connect better with different groups

Carrie-Ann:

of people, do identify what they are and do the work in that space.

Carrie-Ann:

I don't think it's about.

Carrie-Ann:

Giving yourself a personality transplant or trying really hard to be, be

Carrie-Ann:

charismatic or the person that gets described as that every day, because

Carrie-Ann:

then I think you lose your authenticity.

Lee:

Brilliant.

Lee:

Well, you've basically taken the words out my mouth cuz mine was gonna be practically

Lee:

the same as that, which was worry less about being charismatic, focus more

Lee:

on building your strategy and, and the communications approach that connects.

Carrie-Ann:

see.

Carrie-Ann:

But you said it far more concisely than me, so thanks.

Carrie-Ann:

I love the way you sum that up, cause Oh yeah, that's what I meant to say.

Show artwork for How to Take the Lead

About the Podcast

How to Take the Lead
Unfiltered conversations for the modern leader
How to Take the Lead is a show exploring all things leadership.

Every week we'll be exploring a different part of life as a leader, questioning everything we've ever learnt and sharing a few of our own stories along the way.

If you want to learn how to do leadership your own way, join hosts Lee Griffith (from www.sundayskies.com) and Carrie-Ann Wade (from www.cats-pajamas.co.uk) as they debunk myths, tackle stereotypes and generally put the leadership world to rights.

New episodes are released every Thursday. To get involved, share your thoughts and stories or to ask questions visit www.howtotakethelead.com or DM us via instagram, LinkedIn or twitter.

About your hosts

Lee Griffith

Profile picture for Lee Griffith
Lee Griffith is an executive coach and leadership communications strategist who works with CEOs and senior leaders to maximise their impact. A former award-winning communications and engagement director with over 20 years of experience, Lee has supported everything from major incidents to reconfigurations, turnarounds and transformations. She now runs her own company, sunday skies, and speaks regularly about how leaders can build connection and effect change through great communication and engagement. Find out more via www.sundayskies.com.

Carrie-Ann Wade

Profile picture for Carrie-Ann Wade
Carrie-Ann Wade is a communications director in the NHS with over 20 years of communications and marketing experience. She is also founder of Cat’s Pajamas Communications which focuses on mentoring communications professionals to thrive and grow in their careers. She has been named one of F:entrepreneur's #ialso100 2020 top female entrepreneurs and business leaders, and Cat’s Pajamas has been recognised in Small Business Saturday's UK #SmallBiz100, as a business with impact.
Find out more via www.cats-pajamas.co.uk