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Be a charismatic leader

01.12.09 | Posted in Entrepreneurship

Valentino RossiMy husband loves me just that little bit more because I share his infatuation of Moto GP. I can name all the riders. There’s legend racer Australian Casey Stoner… Pedrosa… Lorenzo… dePuniet. And my favourite – Valentino Rossi. He is one of those Branson-esque types that attracts media attention with just one facial expression, and makes the crowd go wild as he zooms past in a post-race wheelie.

He’s every bit the charismatic leader. You can see that he has his team eating out of the palm of his hand. Kissing the camera, slapping the bum of one of his crew as he dismounts his bike, running up to his fans and jumping on them. He plays up and performs as if he’s on show. All the time.

Let’s get real about this

Charisma is about sex appeal, humour and charm. Rossi’s not the hottest and he’s not the most intelligent. Doesn’t need to be. Nor is Branson. What these two blokes share is an ability to laugh at themselves (think of Branson in a wedding dress for the launch of Virgin Brides and Rossi in a helmet with a donkey on it to honour his previous race where he made a silly mistake and fell off his bike).

They share an ability to capture the hearts and minds of the media and their fans by not playing by the rules. They act like themselves. They love what they do. They live life to the full. They are masters in business and sport respectively, but don’t take themselves too seriously.

And what do these two guys get from their charismatic style? Well for starters they have a loyal following of fans and are able to attract a lot of media interest. But more importantly, they draw together a team of people who worship them and would walk over hot coals to see them succeed. I’m sure if you aspired to move and shake in the world of motorcycle racing, you’d covet a role on Rossi’s team. And who hasn’t thought that they’d love to work with Branson at some point or another?

BransonThink about the relationship you have with your team, the media, your customers – are you being real with them, being exciting and different in your approach, doing things that create buzz and interest? Try being charismatic Rossi/Branson-style, maybe first without the wheelie and the bottom slap.

Who’s your fave charismatic leader?

Are you lucky enough to work with them or are you just admiring them from afar?

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