Wisdom - Leadership Development Centre

Charisma, Wisdom and
Kris Cooper, 3 November 2015
Charisma was noted as essential – even central – in early
transformational leadership literature.
Over time, views have shifted. Now ‘inspiration’ is
considered separately from ‘charisma’.
What is “charisma”?
“compelling attractiveness or charm that can inspire
devotion in others” (The New Oxford Dictionary of English,
The term charisma has two senses: (1) compelling
attractiveness or charm that can inspire devotion in
others, (2) a divinely conferred power or talent. …Since
the 1950s the term has become widely used, with
varying meanings, in religion, the social sciences, the
media, and throughout Western societies. … It retains a
mysterious, elusive quality. … (Weber’s classic
definition of charismatic authority):
Charisma is a certain quality of an
individual personality by virtue of which he
is set apart from ordinary men and treated
as endowed with supernatural,
superhuman, or at least specifically
exceptional powers or qualities. These are
such as are not accessible to the ordinary
person, but are regarded as of divine origin
or as exemplary, and on the basis of them
the individual concerned is treated as a
leader (Wikipedia, downloaded 21 July 2014).
My research:
People who thought charisma was important in leadership,
tended to think of it as ‘mana’. However, it was
generally considered ‘a bonus’ rather than a necessity.
People who thought it was unimportant, tended to
associate it with ego-centricity, which they thought was
a dangerous characteristic in a CEO.
An Example?
Collins’ (2001) Level 5 Hierarchy
Level 5: Executive
Level 4: Effective Leader
Level 3: Competent Manager
Level 2: Contributing Team Member
Level 1: Highly Capable Individual
An example?
Collins’ (2001) Level 5 Hierarchy
Level 5: Executive - Builds enduring greatness through a paradoxical blend of personal
humility and professional will
Level 4: Effective Leader - Catalyses commitment to and vigorous pursuit of a clear
and compelling vision, stimulating higher performance standards
Level 3: Competent Manager - Organises people and resources toward the effective
and efficient pursuit of pre-determined objectives
Level 2: Contributing Team Member -- Contributes individual capabilities to the
achievement of group objectives and works effectively with others in a group setting
Level 1: Highly Capable Individual - Makes productive contributions through talent,
knowledge, skills, and good work habits
Collins’ Two Sides of Level 5
Leadership (2001 p.36)
Professional Will
Creates superb results, a clear catalyst in
the transition from good to great.
Demonstrates an unwaivering resolve to
do whatever must be done to produce
the best long-term results, no matter
how difficult.
Sets the standard of building an enduring
great company; will settle for nothing
Looks in the mirror, not out the window,
to apportion responsibility for poor
results, never blaming other people,
external factors, or bad luck.
Personal Humility
Demonstrates a compelling modesty,
shunning public adulation; never
Acts with quiet, calm determination; relies
principally on inspired standards, not
inspiring charisma, to motivate.
Channels ambition into the company , not
the self; sets up successors for even
greater success in the next generation.
Looks out the window, not in the mirror, to
apportion credit for the success of the
company – to other people, external
factors, and good luck.
The Three Components of
Olivia Fox Cabane
Voice as an Instrument of
Confidence and Warmth
7 considerations:
1. Breathing and the diaphragm
2. Posture
3. Throat
4. Mouth and tongue
5. Eyes
6. Movement
7. Gestures
Dr Louise Mahler
Four Styles of Charisma
Authority – status and confidence
Visionary – belief and confidence
Focus – presence and confidence
Kindness – warmth and confidence
Olivia Fox Cabane
“the quality of having experience, knowledge and good judgment; the quality
of being wise” (The New Oxford Dictionary of English, 1998).
“Wisdom is the ability to think and act using knowledge, experience,
understanding, common sense and insight. ... Wisdom has been regarded
as one of four cardinal virtues; and as a virtue, it is a habit or disposition
to perform the action with the highest degree of adequacy under any
given circumstance. This implies a possession of knowledge or the
seeking thereof in order to apply it to the given circumstance. This
involves an understanding of people, things, events, situations, and the
willingness as well as the ability to apply perception, judgement and
action in keeping with the understanding of what is the optimal course of
action. It often requires control of one’s emotional reactions (the
‘passions’) so that the universal principle of reason prevails to determine
one’s action. In short, wisdom is a disposition to find the truth coupled
with an optimum judgement as to what actions should be taken in order to
deliver the correct outcome” (Wikipedia, downloaded 21 July 2014).
“It can be difficult to define Wisdom, but people generally recognize it
when they encounter it. Psychologists pretty much agree it involves
an integration of knowledge, experience, and deep understanding
that incorporates tolerance for the uncertainties of life as well as its
ups and downs. There's an awareness of how things play out over
time, and it confers a sense of balance.
“Wise people generally share an optimism that life's problems can be
solved and experience a certain amount of calm in facing difficult
decisions. Intelligence—if only anyone could figure out exactly what it
is—may be necessary for wisdom, but it definitely isn't sufficient; an
ability to see the big picture, a sense of proportion, and considerable
introspection also contribute to its development” (Psychology Today,
downloaded 21 July 2014).
Wisdom is contextual
Knowledge and experience
Good judgment
Big picture thinking…
Paying attention
Being open
Having integrity
Caring for those following / the future
Qualities that Shape a Group
(Strom, 2014)
“A group wants direction
and is prepared to give
position and back it with
authority. This is the
what of leadership. It
can go well or badly.
How depends on the
intangibles of wisdom,
character, presence, and
Language and Speech
Faith, Hope and Love
How does wisdom help you lead?
“Wisdom is not a formula or process. Leaders
know instinctively that it’s the people stuff that
matters most. But reading people is hard work.
Where do we start? Wisdom nurtures
attentiveness in us. We listen for the words that
free people to give their best and those that rob
them of the power to act. We look beyond
assured explanations. We learn to give equal
weight to unity and diversity, and to give up the
illusion of balance. We learn not to panic at
complexity and ambiguity. Nor to dumb things
down. We begin to think and communicate by
stories more than by abstract definitions. These
are some of the ways wisdom helps me lead”
(Strom, 2014, p.25).
Mark Strom
“Presence, not charisma, brings respect”
(Strom, 2014. p.152).
Final Message
It’s about your communication and expression skills,
and your willingness, tolerance and aptitude for
recognising the impact you have on others.
Slow down.
Expand your skills.
Build your deliberation.
Find an authentic style.
Accept people…
Collins, J. (2001). Good to Great. London: Random.
Fox Cabane, O. (2012). The charisma myth: Master the art of
personal magnetism. London: Penguin.
Mahler, L. (2015). Resonate: For people who need to be heard.
Australia: Penguin.
Strom, M. (2014). Lead with wisdom: How wisdom transforms
good leaders into great leaders. Melbourne: Wiley.
Collins, J. (2001). Good to Great. London: Random.
Fox Cabane, O. (2012). The charisma myth: Master the art of
personal magnetism. London: Penguin.
Mahler, L. (2015). Resonate: For people who need to be heard.
Australia: Penguin.
Strom, M. (2014). Lead with wisdom: How wisdom transforms
good leaders into great leaders. Melbourne: Wiley.
Leadership Development Centre