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Don’t worry if you lack charisma, inspiring others is the key to success

IbyIMD+ Published 17 March 2021 in Magazine • 3 min read

Do effective leaders need to be entertaining? Yes, because that is the best way to keep the brain fully engaged and emotions active in both leader and workers. Does a leader also need to be charismatic?

Not necessarily. Satya Nadella transformed a combative and siloed culture at Microsoft by fighting internal politics with teamwork, empathy and a belief in constant learning and growth. Though not particularly charismatic, he convinced colleagues about the potential of cloud computing, pushing beyond Windows to turbocharge growth and transform corporate culture.

Indra Nooyi combined meticulous research with strategic vision to restructure and diversify PepsiCo as CEO and Chairman. Her clearly communicated goal of improved financial performance while positively impacting society and the environment inspired employees in the testing transition from fizzy drinks and junk food to healthier products.

Such examples show that what leaders need above all is to be inspiring.

There is a saying in leadership theory that if you are not inspiring you are not leading – you are probably, at best, managing. Effective leaders need many qualities, among them vision, decisiveness and empathy. Strategic thinking, authenticity and team building skills are also required.

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