Charisma might be helpful, but when you get right down to it, it’s not necessary for business success, or leadership success.  In fact it often gets in the way.

It  can be helpful when it helps communicate the mission or purpose of you organization to people outside your organization:  Investors, Customers, Key Candidates for employment.  When you need these, charisma can really help.

Internally it creates real challenges, first for the leaders, and then for the team.  Charismatic leaders need to know when to put their charisma aside.  The most important time to do it is when the difficult conversations come up.  Problem solving sessions, strategy sessions, performance sessions.  Charisma allows the leader to dominate the conversation, unintentionally cutting off the important ideas of others.  The team starts to defer to the “wisdom” of the leader.  The leader than has to make the crucial decisions without the full picture.  The leaders ends up being surrounded by “yes men”

Internally, listening and generating tough conversations is more important that charisma.

The literature confirms it.  Three authors I recommend on this.

Once again Jim Collins.  All the great leaders in his books were “charisma challenged” but great leaders.

Liz Wiseman, author of Multipliers.  This specifically addresses keeping the charisma in check.

Jim Kouzes, of The Leadership Challenge.  This book addresses the elements necessary to succeed at leading.  Charisma isn’t one of them.