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Charisma vs. Character

April 16, 2024

Last week, we talked about the importance of winning with people and the benefits of being winsome.

Today, I want to talk about charisma. 

Charisma is a characteristic of a winsome individual, and it’s no mystery why it’s attractive to others. Charismatic people make the people around them feel important. They make whatever cause or work they stand behind appear more exciting and meaningful. They have a hopeful, passionate, and positive demeanor that is contagious to the people they lead.

Charisma can grant you opportunities, can help you make friendships, and can even land you a dream job. . . but charisma isn’t everything.

Charisma can get you into places, but only character will keep you there.

Charisma is a good thing, and it’s advantageous to cultivate in yourself and the people you lead. But I want to give you a word of caution: Don’t let your charisma outpace your character. This will lead to a crisis, and people will find you out. 

We must always be intentional about consciously cultivating our character.


Here are three ways to cultivate your character where you are today:’

1. Integrity
The word integrity comes from the root word integer, meaning whole. It means there is only one you; what you say and what you do are the same. Integrity means not wavering based on the changing tides of the culture or even the various opinions of others. Upholding your integrity in the face of challenges inside and outside of your organization is essential to maintaining a strong character.

2. Consistency
Say what you mean and follow through, every time. This one feels so simple, but is often the hardest quality of character to cultivate. Maintaining consistency shows others that you are a man or woman of your word. It shows you are faithful to your team and to the shared vision you are working toward. Consistency will help you grow in trustworthiness.

3. Candor
Be honest, even when it’s not popular. This is challenging for me, when I really want others to like me. However, dancing around the truth to save people’s feelings or to protect yourself is unwise and will be a lid on the growth of your organization. Teams need their leaders to speak with candor and clarity. This prevents confusion and helps you row your boat in the same direction toward your shared goal.

British statesman John Morely said it well: “No man can climb out beyond the limitations of his own character.”

Charisma may have helped you get where you are today, but your character will determine what you’re remembered for as a leader.

Don’t underestimate the value of character, and work to cultivate it daily in yourself and the people around you.


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