When it’s Character vs. Charisma, it’s always character that’s going to win!
Character is essential and is the only thing you’ll take to heaven with you. Character is so important that God would rather sacrifice our comfort to develop it in our lives.
Although character comes before charisma, don’t write charisma off, as it’s an excellent quality that any church leader could possess.
So what is charisma?
When I ask my Bible College students this question, the room usually goes quiet as it’s a quality that many people don’t know how to define.
The Oxford dictionary defines ‘Charisma’ as ‘divinely conferred power or talent; capacity to inspire followers with devotion and enthusiasm.’
Charisma can be hard to qualify, yet you know when a leader possesses it, as they have an enigmatic power that draws people to themselves and their cause.
Leadership expert and author John C. Maxwell, in his book The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader, says:
“Charisma, plainly stated, is the ability to draw people to you. And like other character traits, it can be developed.”
Leaders should never underestimate the power of charisma because it can help them to inspire and influence those whom they lead. Maxwell further states in his book that charisma is an indispensable quality of a leader, which can be developed by personifying these four things:
1. Loving Life
2. Putting a “10” on every person’s head (seeing the good in others – my words)
3. Giving people hope
4. Sharing yourself
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So loving life by living big and being a fun person to hang out with, by having the ability to both see and affirm the good in others, by inspiring hope and sharing your life journey and experience with others, will help you to develop your charisma.
But can we really develop what has been divinely conferred upon us? I would say yes to this, based on the principles of Jesus’ ‘Parable of the Talents’ (Matthew 25:14-30)
I like to think of charisma as something that is extra special. Hard to describe, but you know when somebody’s got it.
Remember children’s author JM Barrie’s magical ‘Fairy Dust’ that gave Peter Pan and his friends the ability to fly? How do you define and describe that magical make-believe stuff? Well, its hard. Walt Disney imagined it in his cartoon movie as sparkly glitter like dust, yes, hard to define, and yet once it was sprinkled on somebody, you got to see the amazing results.
Charisma, in my opinion, gives a certain sparkle to leaders, enabling them to inspire others to go further, climb higher, and even to ‘fly’. People have often said to me that I’m always smiling, and it seems that others feel better after spending time with me. More importantly, it appears that I’ve been able to influence and inspire them. That’s charisma!
John C. Maxwell, in his book ‘The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader’ quotes Dan Reiland, vice president of leadership development at INJOY, who comments on charisma, saying:
‘Charisma is the quality of making others feel good about themselves – more than you are making them feel good about you.’
Charisma, then, is a gift from God, which should be coveted, cherished, and, if possible, developed as it can significantly enhance our effectiveness in leading others.