What is the worst thing for us humans?
Uncertainty. Unpredictability. Ambiguity about how things are going to move forward. Because just like every other living organism, we want to survive above all else. If we have the impression that our survival is uncertain, then we don’t function as well. Instead, we direct our energy, our emotions, and our focus towards the potential dangers.
That is why we love leaders who give us the image that we want, one that we can believe in and that lets us feel safe. In more critical terms, we are easily seduced. Especially in times of uncertainty and when we feel threatened.
If we interpret this more positively, we see that we as leaders have the opportunity to give our employees support, confidence, and stability. Especially in times of change and digitalization, people need security, stability, and self-confidence. If you as a leader can charismatically state that a credible future goal is achievable, then you are giving your employees the security they need. As a leader, you therefore need so-called visionary charisma to gather your team behind you. With this, you kill two birds with one stone: You calm those who are looking for security and you also gain comrades in arms.
How does this work? What can you do as a leader to give your employees support and lead them positively through change?
What ingredients do you need for visionary charisma?
Here are seven ingredients to develop visionary charisma. Ask yourself which ingredients you already possess and which ones you still need to work on.
If you want your employees to believe you, then you first need an unshakeable belief in your goal or your approach. You also need good reasoning: Clear numbers, data, and facts as well as crystal-clear reasoning, which allows your future vision to be understandable and feasible.
Do your eyes light up when you talk about your plans, your ideas, your vision? Do you maintain eye contact? Can you hardly wait to tell your employees about it? Do you move your whole body, your legs, and do you gesticulate with your arms? Do you raise your eyebrows while talking because you simply have to? With such an energetic body language, you can transmit your vision to other people.
Do you use metaphors or imagery that speak to others immediately and emotionally because these clearly represent positive values? Tell a story that is dramatic, exciting, and populated by characters with whom your employees can identify.
Is your message easy to understand? Are you using a short and simple sentence that everyone can remember?
An example: In my presentations, I regularly use the example of the lion. I tell my audience, ’Hunt like a lion! But the lion doesn’t even hunt himself. In the lion pride, it is the females who hunt. They are slimmer, lighter, and can better follow the zigzagging of the antelope. So, they are better hunters.’ This clearly conveys my message of letting go: Delegate! Focus on what’s essential. And leave the rest alone.
Hence the title of my podcast Leading Like a Lion. If you want to know more, then read blog post 28 on this website on c o n s i s t e n t l y setting priorities.
Repeat your simple message, image, or metaphor at various opportunities, also during a speech. That way, your message will be driven deep into your audience’s consciousness.
Speak clearly, lively, and modulated. State your core sentences with a firm stance, maintaining eye contact, and using slow and clearly articulated speech. Then pause and gaze meaningfully into the audience.
I always hear from leaders that their bosses always keep information from them, especially reasoning or background information. So, be transparent with your employees. And if you cannot divulge certain information just yet, then say that. Your team is clever, and they will understand.
In team trainings, I like to invite the team leader to start the workshop or training session with a few sentences. They often lose themselves in a long, ambiguous torrent of words. I advise using a short list of threes: Give three advantages, three steps, or three necessary behaviors. Less is more. Unstructured verbiage dilutes your strong message.
With your visionary charisma, you can improve your image. Colleagues, employees, and bosses will form a stronger and more potent image of you. At the same time, you have the responsibility to consciously lead your employees through these turbulent times of change. The charismatic way of communicating described here will help you to do this.
In which of these points are you already strong? In which could you get better quickly? I’m sure you prefer quick wins and low-hanging fruits, right? So, which behavior do you want to consciously implement more often, or which do you want to systematically improve? Note this behavior on a Post-it note or a piece of paper now. Stick it to your car’s steering wheel. On the way to work or to the gym or while on a business trip, you can think about how you will practice this behavior. On the way back, you can think about what went well and what you want to try again or what you want to do even better.
And if you ride a bike, then fix the Post-it to your handlebars. If you take public transport, then spend five minutes in the mornings and evenings thinking about the behavior. Ideally, take notes.
Two things are essential for great results and success in developing new habits: Regular repetition and plenty of time. If you are still looking for more useful tips to improve your weaker inner self, then head to Blog Inspiration 15 on my English homepage www.markus-jotzo.com Disciplined Implementing and New Habits or listen to Episode 11 of my German podcast Führen wie ein Löwe.
So that you make the best possible choices for your new habit, I recommend reading this short and snappy chapter again right now and identify an ingredient that you can optimize and start using more frequently today.
Success to you!