How to Develop Relational Charisma

How To Develop Relational Charisma

Very few leaders possess what I refer to as “Stadium Filling Charisma,” but many can have relational charisma.

You know what I mean by “Stadium Filling Charisma,” a personality that is larger than life and people flock to be around that person.

When they are in the lobby of the church there is always a crowd of maybe 20 — 25 – 30 people gathered around them!

I don’t have that kind of charisma, do you?

The good news is, that kind of charisma is not a qualifier for you to become a great leader.

In fact, in some cases, it can be a detriment. Organizations tied to a leader with a big personality can become dependent on that person.

That can happen even at a church campus, a ministry team, or in a small group. That isn’t always the case, of course, but the point is, don’t assume that’s the ideal.

And most importantly, don’t think you are handicapped as a leader if you don’t have a big outgoing persona.

That said, some degree of an appealing personality is necessary to lead effectively, and to that end, everyone can have what I refer to as Relational Charisma.

However, relational charisma is not defined by the size of your personality, but the generosity of your spirit.

Many great leaders with a high quotient of relational charisma are more subdued, thoughtful, and some have a slight bent toward introversion.

So when it comes to charisma, don’t think personality, think intentionality.

Relational charisma is a kind of personal magnetism that everyone can have. If you want it, and if you are willing to work on it intentionally, it’s yours to develop.

Relational charisma carries an authentic personal appeal that endears people to you and allows you to lead more effectively.

This is the foundational practice to develop relational charisma:

When you walk into a room, focus on helping the people in the room to feel better about who they are, rather than causing the people to feel better about who you are.

In other words, make it about them, not you.

In concept, it’s simple, but in practice, it can be challenging to remain consistent with this idea. We all get what it feels like to be moving fast, and under pressure with lots to do!  That truth about leadership makes it more challenging than it appears.

It’s really more of a way of life; that is often life-changing for both you and those you are around.

A quick list of 4 things that will shut down your relational charisma:

  • Lack of social-awareness – You fail to notice or be aware of what is happening in the room.
  • Pre-occupied or distracted – Your body may be in the room, but your mind and heart are elsewhere.
  • Image focused – You walk into a room, and it’s all about you. How the people see you, the impression you make, connecting only with people who can help you, and your agenda.
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Dan Reiland
Dr. Dan Reiland serves as Executive Pastor at 12Stone Church in Lawrenceville, Georgia. He previously partnered with John Maxwell for 20 years, first as Executive Pastor at Skyline Wesleyan Church in San Diego, then as Vice President of Leadership and Church Development at INJOY. He and Dr. Maxwell still enjoy partnering on a number of church related projects together.