John is a real charmer. He is good at getting what he wants. First it was a cookie from Mom. Then an extension on an assignment at school. Then a date with the homecoming queen. A promotion at work. You get the picture. He was attractive and engaging. He found it easy to win people over. It was his “go to” when he was in a tough spot or if he really needed something. It was John’s secret weapon.
So are charm and good looks the keys to influence?
A big smile and just the right witty responses and we can be rewarded with instant engagement. I have watched it over and over again. Some people are simply masters at it. They have a way of pulling you in. They have a special power that you just can’t explain.
I have never been much of a charmer. I am more of a “tell it like it is” kind of guy. There are times that I wished I had this mysterious power over people. I think it can be a gift. I also think there are dangers here.
People who use charm to get what they want often abuse the power. They begin to believe that they have the ability to get whatever they want. They have seen it work over and over again. They begin to feel invincible.
Leaders can fall into this trap. The smile. The endearing comments. Charmers make you feel important and valuable. Soon you find yourself doing whatever they ask. Eventually, however, you will begin to see through the charm. You will get a glimpse of their heart- either good or bad. Charm can be a real smoke screen.
Just like that date who has only one thing in mind- the truth will come out. If you truly care for your team, employees, friends…. they will figure it out. It’s a heart issue. You simply can’t hide it for very long.
If you are a charmer- be careful! You may have honed your skills when you were young and the stakes were not all that important. You were a popular kid. Captain of the whatever team. There is nothing inherently wrong with being charming and engaging- unless the goal is to manipulate to get what you want. Unless the goal is not the common goal. Maybe it’s just your goal?
Sincerity is built through action. You will have a difficult time convincing someone of your sincerity with just talk. The fact is- they are watching you! They know where your treasure lies by your actions. You are not fooling anyone. The smoke will eventually clear- it always does.