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What Makes a Good Leader?

We’re all about inspiring change. So naturally, we’re avid listeners of the TED Radio Hour. And a recent show about disruptive leadership tackled a characteristic we’re often curious about: charisma. What is it, who has it, and how does it affect leadership skills? According to Seth Godin, our common conception of charisma is way off. We assume leaders are naturally charismatic, able to inspire people to follow them on innate ability alone. But studies show that charisma follows leadership, not the other way around. Charisma isn’t always innate; in many cases, it’s something you learn on the job.

Another interesting insight was that most people—bosses, entrepreneurs, team captains— don’t think of themselves as leaders. Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, founder of the incredibly popular Lean In movement, balked at the “disruptive leader” moniker. Godin framed himself as an everyman who found success through perseverance. Most successful people see themselves not as natural leaders but as natural actors—people who will take action when others do not.

Listen to Disruptive Leadership from the TED Radio Hour.

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