Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Charisma vs. Commitment

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!


Anonymous said...

I too get the John Maxwell Minute. They are very good short lessons. I have to agree with you on the commitment level. Charisma comes and goes quickly but commitment now that's a staying power. - Keep up the great work you and the staff are doing, I can tell you are committed to the cause.

Melanie said...

I really like what you have to say today. Honestly, I haven't ever put that thought together, don't know why. We use to attend a church lead by a sr pastor with great charisma but every few years there would be a great number of ppl who left the church. He certainly got ppl in the front door but with no real commitment to spiritual growth they also filed out the back door. Thanks for this insight and encouragement as we step up our commitment effective God-centered leadership.

JDL said...

Good thoughts...take it even further...how about authenticity and truly relying on God? I'd love to "debate" this...I don't think charisma is actually an issue at all...I think it is the authenticity of that enthusiasm and the "well" from which it springs---is the person truly getting that charisma from God or is he/she "playing a role" and "enjoying the attention"? Your comments suggest that charisma is not a good thing or something to avoid...truly...my experiences are that a lack of humility and lack of authenticity are much, much larger issues. Whether a spiritual leader has charisma or not, if he/she is not fully relying on God and does not truly care about ALL of the members in his/her church...than yes, there is a back door and people should leave...in fact, they should RUN!