I've recently signed up to receive John Maxwell's "A Minute with Maxwell" daily video where individuals send in a word and he responds to it with a leadership snippet. They are all very good, but there have been two that have really caught my attention and I want to speak briefly to one of them in this blog post.
The word of the day was commitment. His video's are usually not more than 60 seconds, so much has to be accomplished in this short span of time. Thus with this word, he helped me better define it in my thinking by linking it to the word charisma.
I believe we currently live in a culture whereby people are drawn very easily and quickly to a charismatic leader without much thought given to the persons character, beliefs, convictions and commitment to any given organization or group of followers. I confess, I too can be drawn to the charismatic leader as there is something very engaging and enticing about a leader who can create much fanfare and enthusiasm for something. But, I do believe there is also something to be said for leaders who possess a steadfast commitment to something even when the charisma fades (and it will fade in any given situation as there will always be another charismatic leader arise calling people to something else).
If this is true, then I believe that John Maxwell was right in stating that leaders with charisma can bring people in the front door but struggle to keep people over time from leaving through the back door. That's where commitment comes in. Leaders who possess not only charisma but a steadfast commitment even when the charisma wanes will produce longer term gains.
This particular talk has me really beginning to formulate a position of leadership that speaks to longevity in any given leadership scenario requiring a steadfast commitment and not just charisma. Charisma in a leader without commitment leads to a wide open back door. Those following a leader without commitment will never become committed themselves.
In the same way, commitment without charisma can lead to great difficulty in calling people to commitment. I guess a well balanced approach helps!