MBA Student Toolbox - Charisma and Social Intelligence
In 1989 Warren Bennis created a list of the differences between a manager and leader. Bennis states the manager’s role is to create systems for success within an organization. A manager performs the right functions and ensures business objectives are met all under the status quo. Successful management means operations run smoothly. Leaders are unique because they creatively solve problems with an overarching vision of where success lies. Where skilled managers promote team efficiency, leaders foster team effectiveness. The difference is in one’s ability to develop teams rather than control them. By focusing on the actual people rather than systems, successful leaders are more adept socially, relying on charisma to motivate their teams. It’s this power of motivation - molding employees and compounding interests that define a leader from a manager.
Defining Charisma and Social Intelligence
The Greeks defined charisma as the gift of grace. Charismatic leaders tend to be superb communicators able to rouse emotions at will. Using their ability to understand social situations, read feelings and effectively express their emotions, charismatic leaders create connections that others cannot. This ability to attract others, sense negative emotion and quell it are hallmarks of a successful leader. After all, teams low in morale, trust in leadership and lacking confidence toward the company’s vision are sure to fail.
Daniel Goleman, a famous advocate of emotional intelligence, explains social intelligence is comprised of social awareness and relationship management. Social awareness is similar to charisma, in that one is skilled at identifying others’ moods and feelings. Applying that empathy to organize and create successful teams is relationship management. Leaders who possess high levels of social intelligence easily build rapport between strangers and co-workers alike.
Social Leadership Skills are Valued by Employers
Although there are few if any MBA programs and courses that develop one’s social intelligence, employers are candid in communicating the value of social skills over raw intelligence. Seventy-one percent of hiring managers surveyed by CareerBuilder reported they value a person’s ability to manage their emotions and react to others’ emotions than IQ. The hiring managers said employees with higher emotional intelligence were likely to stay calm under stress, resolve conflicts effectively, show proper empathy towards co-workers and overall make better business decisions.
Goleman writes in an article for the Harvard Business Review that social intelligence is a necessary trait to be a successful leader. Goleman says some competencies matter more than others, that the ability to inspire and persuade easily outweigh technical mastery the more you scale up on the tiers of management. Take an example of an executive who can hire any amount of engineers with high technical proficiencies. No matter how skilled these engineers are, they still require a leader to coordinate efforts, oversee their growth, communicate goals and resolve conflicts. An executive lacking in social intelligence will fail to listen, direct and motivate their team.
Going Beyond Your MBA Program Education
No Harvard MBA course can give you the same knowledge that real world practice can with regard to interpersonal skills. More so, social intelligence is a skill that can be developed like any other skill. Managing your emotions and leading teams are not wholly innate. One tactic for charismatic leadership is to motivate teams through storytelling. The charismatic narrative relies on a story structure to inspire employees. Evoking positive emotions with your communication is effective in inspiring others to see your vision.
While business courses and theories inform you about what could happen in your company and a gifted manager knows how to be efficient in these confinements, a true leader understands how to be effective with people - in any situation that arises.