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Valerie-Claire Petit: Look beyond charisma | TEDx Aix

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To be recognised as a good executive today it’s necessary to have leadership qualities. And in order to be a good leader, you need charisma.

This stereotypical definition of leadership has not changed for 50 years. But by focusing too much on this one aspect we risk discounting 99% of our leadership talent pool. We need to look beyond charisma to include a wider range of attributes that define leadership. It is only by taking such an approach will we succeed in nurturing future leaders that may not fit the current mould because of age, sex, or by being unconventional. While we unconsciously cling to old images of leaders, in reality all executives possess at least one attribute that does not fit the mould. But should this solely define an executive’s potential to become a leader?

Consider also that the most powerful attribute of leadership is not charisma or hero status, it is respect. This indicates that we should look beyond personal qualities when defining leadership to unveil a more subtle yet realistic vision of what a leader might look like. In particular, we need to consider the circle of people surrounding an executive. If those being led are happy, efficient and engaged, then you will have found a true leader.

Valerie-Claire Petit is a Professor of Leadership focusing on leadership research among executives.

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