• SumoMe

When people think of great leaders throughout history, many of them jump to call them charismatic. According to Stanford Business School professor Jim Collins, charisma is not even an equation in the personality traits of great leaders. While some of them might have charisma, this is certainly not the most important part of the equation in making a great leader. Collins claims:

Leadership is not personality. And in fact, if you’re highly charismatic, that’s not necessarily a positive, because the critical thing we found about how people engage with a leader is not about this external stuff–that’s really pretty irrelevant. It has to do with the answer to a simple question: “Why are you in it?”

Are you fundamentally doing something that’s about you? … I mean, if it’s fundamentally about you, as a leader, why should anybody give themselves over to what you’re trying to do? But if it’s fundamentally that you’re channeling your ego into a cause or a company or a set of work or something that you’re trying to accomplish that is not about you, that’s when people will sign up.

Collins knows a thing or two about leadership. Not only did he study it at Stanford, but he has written numerous books on the matter, served as a U.S. Marine, and was featured in multiple business periodicals for his work in the study of leadership. Not too bad. This (albeit surface-level) information is important for anyone seeking to improve their leadership skills. Even the meek can lead, so long as they have that “magnetic” quality and a genuine sincerity in achieving the common goal. Leadership skills are learned and honed, and Collins offers everyone a good preliminary look into the mind of a leader.