Charisma is among the qualities that the best leaders have in common—but do you have it?
Recent research has discovered a simple—and accurate—method you can use to self-assess your own level of charisma, Dana Linden reports for the Wall Street Journal.
In one study, University of Toronto researchers asked 966 individuals to list and evaluate the characteristics of charismatic individuals. Researchers used their responses to identify the two key elements of charisma: influence and affability. Finally, they created a short self-assessment based on the two key elements.
Next, researchers aimed to test whether people could accurately self-assess their own charisma level. They found that a person's self-rating on the charisma quiz did, in fact, roughly align with the charisma score assigned to that person by others.
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"The study tells us, hey, we can see charisma in others, it can be identified, we can even pick it out in ourselves, and maybe we can start screening [for it]," according to Howard Friedman, a distinguished professor of psychology at the University of California, Riverside who developed his own charisma scale more than 35 years ago.
The quiz includes six questions, grouped into two categories reflecting the two key elements of charisma.
To assess your charisma, first, assess your level of influence by asking:
- Do you have presence in a room?
- Do you have the ability to influence others?
- Do you know how to lead a group?
Then, assess your level of affability by asking:
- Do you make people feel comfortable?
- Do you smile at other people often?
- Can you get along with anyone?
If your results aren't quite what you hoped they would be, don't worry. "Lots of research has shown that charisma can be taught," according to John Antonakis, a professor of organizational behavior at the University of Lausanne in Switzerland. He led an unrelated study in 2011 and found that managers who studied certain verbal and nonverbal techniques received higher charisma ratings from employees.
Antonakis adds the caveat that "you can't just turn anybody into Barack Obama or Maggie Thatcher, but you can improve them," with practice and coaching (Linden, Wall Street Journal, 10/29).
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