Natural charisma can help in a lot of situations, but it’s not always easy to muster up on difficult work days, especially if it doesn’t come naturally to you. When the days are long and the work is hard, having a charismatic leader can make a big difference in outcomes. Unfortunately, those are the days when it is toughest to be aware of. Luckily, there are other things a leader can do to substitute for that charisma.
We asked members of the Young Entrepreneur Council what can be done to help colleagues through the most demanding days at work. Being personable seemed high on the list, but getting there takes some specific actions. Try any of these tactics the next time a deadline is looming ahead and morale is shaky.
Q. Natural charisma isn’t a characteristic all entrepreneurs possess — nor is it always apparent throughout demanding days. What is one way you consistently strive to make a positive impact on others?
Their best answers are below:
Connect with Humor
With the right attitude, you can find the humor in almost anything. If you can get people to laugh, you’ve boosted morale. As we all know, laughter can be contagious, which is something that is extremely helpful during the most demanding days. – Patrick Barnhill, Specialist ID, Inc.
Highlight Their Strengths
As an entrepreneur and leader, I strive to make a positive impact on my team by highlighting and celebrating each member’s strengths. To determine this, I like to meet with each individual to discuss what his/her expertise, passion and core competencies are, and how each can be applied to the project at hand. – Kristin Marquet, Creative Development Agency, LLC
It’s incredibly important to listen to others. It’s amazing how a conversation will turn when you let someone talk about their questions, comments, or concerns. Charisma isn’t a requirement, so you shouldn’t try to be something you’re not. Stay focused on providing value at all costs, and listening is the first best step toward that. The more I listen, the better I can serve my audience. – Drew Gurley, Redbird Advisors
We’ve all had a meeting where the person we’re speaking with is physically present but completely mentally distracted. Through my meditation practice, I’ve learned what it means to be focused on the present moment. By giving all my attention to the person in front of me, and not stressing about emails or my to-do list, I bring the best version of myself and am fully present in the conversation. – Mark Krassner, Expectful
Appreciate Your Teammates
Everyone wants to feel appreciated. And it can be as simple as a quick 30-second shout out. When someone does something well, thank them for doing a great job and do it in front of their colleagues. The more you take time to publicly show gratitude, the more people feel appreciated and recognized for their effort. That not only builds rapport between you and your colleagues but also fosters a dynamic where people continually feel motivated to do great work. – Pete Kistler, BrandYourself
As a business owner, I could not survive without the help of others. When I was just starting my career, I heavily relied on advisers, consultants, and those who had been in my industry longer than I had. I quickly learned that giving advice was a strong asset. Those who had helped me were on the top of my list and, if they needed anything, I made them a priority. From there, I developed a plan to help others as much as I could. I end every conversation with an offering of help. When you genuinely care about others’ success and put the time in to help them grow, you don’t need any special charismatic attributes to stand out as a leader. – Christina Kelmon, Pipeline Fellowship
As a ‘recovering introvert,’ I’ve struggled with this challenge. The key I found is to take a genuine interest in other people, and take every engagement as an opportunity to learn something new, add value if and when it makes sense (but don’t force it), and become better. Just relax and avoid the urge to mentally prepare your next statement, and the rest follows. – Jeff Jahn, DynamiX
Just be sincere. Be giving; listen. Genuinely care about the other person first. You don’t have to be charismatic and charming, but by doing that, you instantly become likable. I personally like to write and give people handwritten cards with a nice note as a surprise. The reaction alone is worth it; you make a person happy and people will always remember how you made them feel. – Philip Michael, New York Equity Group (NYEG)
Identify What They Need
What people value most is the feeling that you understand them and that you’re making an effort to meet their needs. This is true whether you’re talking to an employee or a potential client. If I take the time to find out as much as I can about the person and what he or she needs from me, I can make the most impact. This takes listening, empathy, and asking questions. – Shawn Porat, Scorely
Share Your Struggles
Most people only share their successes and accomplishments. When you open yourself up to others and share the moments that have wrecked you, they understand that their struggles are not unique and they find you to be a kindred spirit. I have found that people, more than anything else, want to feel understood and want to avoid feeling alone. When you share with others your own losses and listen to theirs, you will build a friendship that is stronger and more valuable. – Rahim Charania, American Fueling Systems
Charisma doesn’t necessarily mean humorous. Even in demanding times, stay honest. Honesty can be very inspiring. Although sometimes it can be tough to be transparent, be thoughtful about how you tell the truth. – Andrew Namminga, Andesign
Follow the Golden Rule
Just be nice. Focus on the other person, smile, and listen. Genuinely listening and paying attention to what someone is telling you, without agenda, is honest and fair. Whether you are speaking to a CEO or an assistant, we all deserve to be heard. That assistant could be a CEO that you very much need an ear from one day. All it takes is an ear and your attention. – Matthew Capala, Alphametic
These answers are provided by Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. YEC has also launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.