Getting Ahead at Work: Developing a Winning Strategy
cha·ris·ma/ noun – compelling attractiveness or charm that can inspire devotion in others: synonyms: charm, presence, personality, force of personality; a divinely conferred power or talent. Oxford Dictionaries · © Oxford University Press
Work is a lot of work. It’s hard, and sometimes thankless. The pay sometimes isn’t that great. Too often, you don’t feel much appreciated by your boss. Or you haven’t received the raise you expect—and believe you deserve.
So what can you do about it? Quit? Slack off on your job performance? Sabotage your boss’s projects or goals? Maybe that’s what some people might do. But perhaps you should take a different approach.
How about winning your boss over with your charisma?
What? You say you’re not charismatic? And those who possess charisma are either born with it or miraculously blessed with it? Well, it’s true that you may never have the charm and forceful personality of a modern-day Romeo. But there are some strategies you can implement to gain a better standing at work and in other roles in your life.
The first thing you need to do at work is stop complaining about being underappreciated. And drop any negativity you may be disseminating around the workplace. Your comments may resonate with some co-workers who are also feeling frustrated, therefore garnering some sort of support. Others may sympathize or feed into your negative comments about your boss or the company, itself, at the lunch table. And although some people may agree with you, those comments won’t score you any points or help you move up the company ladder today, tomorrow, next week, or possibly ever. Why?
Those same co-workers won’t view you as a person who is a successful, conscientious barnstormer who’s headed for the top of the leadership ladder. They won’t see you as a potential principal or mentor within the organization. And neither will your boss, for that matter. (Remember, word does get around.) Instead, what your co-workers will see is a naysayer, a complainer… someone who badmouths and backstabs. In essence, they will lose trust in you and in your role in the company.
It’s important not to complain at work and to always maintain an air of professionalism—in every situation. Even when you are frustrated, if you don’t like your job or if your workplace seems dismal. After all, negativity breeds negativity. And there is no future in harboring a negative attitude.
When I was growing up, my father worked as a preacher on the weekends and a painter during the week. We didn’t have a lot of money or possessions but, as a boy, I didn’t know this. Everyone in our small community was just like us: working hard, struggling, and proud of every little bit they had. Looking back over the years, one thing I never heard my father do was complain about his work. Although he was highly educated and had earned his master’s degree in theology, he still got up every morning at six a.m. to paint houses. It was work, and he got paid for it. That’s how he supported his family. Although painting houses may have been a far stretch from what he had first set out to do, he had no shame in what he did for a living.
So, like my father, you may not be exactly where you want to be right now. You may not even be close. But life is all in how you look at things. Sometimes we can’t change our situation, but we can definitely change our attitude and our approach. Here’s how…
You Can Become the Charismatic Worker
So what exactly is charisma? Is it possible to acquire charisma? Or is it truly something you either have or don’t have?
We instinctively recognize when movie stars and politicians have charisma. And we also understand that some actors or political leaders have more charisma than others. We believe that “compelling attractiveness” only belongs to others and not to us. We may even believe that certain people are singled out for success—even greatness.
We may believe those ideals, but having worked with successful politicians and businessmen, I’ve personally observed that charisma is much easier to acquire than you think.
The first major element of charisma is to obtain mental acuity, which enhances the perception that you possess charisma.
So attaining magnetism, appeal, and the allure to captivate an audience is not about intelligence; it’s more about speed. A charismatic man or woman is someone who focuses on the subject at hand and is able to closely gauge the audience’s interest and reaction. Through this stealth kind of thinking, a charismatic person can quickly re-ignite a customer or audience should they become edgy or disinterested.
The second major element of charisma is to focus your emotions so that you learn to eliminate the “committee in your head” also known as “mental chatter.”
This so-called mental chatter is the conversation that normally occurs inside your head most of the day. It’s your internal thought process, your reaction to people, places, and events in the world around you. It’s essential to replace that mental chatter with a powerful image and emotion. By clouding out the committee in your head, you learn to react more out of instinct. And when you stop listening to those voices, they stop running the show.
A friend once told me that “Charisma is focus. And genius is hard work. Focus speeds up your response time as well as narrowing it to a particular emotion or situation. That’s where the power of charisma comes from.”
Once you develop charisma in your everyday workplace interactions, your co-workers will develop a new perception of you. They will see you as the person to look up to, the person who can provide sound advice, and the person who will confidently step into a leadership position. Instead of being the company naysayer, you’ll be the person that your co-workers—and your boss—can count on. And that, my friend, will take you very far in life.
So start implementing these two steps today, and see if you find people looking at you and interacting with you differently. Once people start noticing the positive changes in you, a lot of other things will start falling into place. And perhaps you’ll be ever closer to where you want to be!
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