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MEET THE CHARMER
The acid test of anyone’s professional reputation is often what others say about them behind their backs. “I don’t know how he (or she) does it!” is a refrain we often hear when people are describing a Charmer. Whether they have managed to land a client no one else in the firm could close, come from behind to get a coveted promotion, or even get their start-up company on the radar screen of big investors, an aura of intimidating mystery surrounds Charmers. It’s not just how often they win the game that fascinates us, it’s that they have an uncanny ability to redefine the rules of the game to suit themselves that leaves other types on the grid shaking their heads in wonder.
Because the emotional intensity that Charmers exude compels our attention, participants in our workshops often cite celebrities when discussing people who exhibit this power style. Sports celebrity Darryl Strawberry is one of the people frequently mentioned as exemplifying the power style of a Charmer. Other Charmers noted as much for their personal drama as their professional success include Angelina Jolie, Ivan Boesky, and Frank Sinatra.
Approximately 25 percent of the people sent to us for coaching from Fortune 500 companies consider themselves Charmers. These individuals are often highly successful rainmakers in their organizations.
Strengths of the Charmer
As we shall see, Charmers tend to be consummate strategists who get what they want—even when the odds appear to be against them. They are determined, influential, and powerful change agents.
Charmers Have a Keen Sense of How to Influence Others
We don’t call them “Charmers” for nothing. Many Charmers became masters of persuasion early in their childhoods. The creative methods Charmers use to impress their superiors can make Pleasers and Commanders envious. This is because Pleasers and Commanders, who have been conditioned to know their place in the pecking order and stay there, simply don’t feel entitled to the attention of those in charge the way Charmers do. That said, when the Charmer manages to land a golf date with the boss or get the firm’s top client to meet them for lunch, such bold moves often spark widespread admiration. Who hasn’t read The Prince by Machiavelli (the über Charmer) and fantasized about being an expert at the art of influence?
Starting early in childhood, where they often learned how to play one parent against the other, Charmers have cultivated the art of using private interactions to get what they want. Sadly, young Charmers often feel forced to become consummate strategists early-on to survive emotionally.
Later in life, people who have been conditioned to operate as Charmers often have an uncanny ability to seduce their superiors, and sometimes even their clients, into giving them what they want. Whether it’s conscious or unconscious, Charmers are able to get the boss to think of them as the heir apparent they always longed for, or an important client to feel like their “best friend.” Their talent for fostering the illusion of a “special” emotional connection with people in charge gives Charmers the power to close deals and get promotions that can elude Pleasers and Commanders.
Charmers Are Master Problem Solvers
Charmers are strategic thinkers to the core. If you have a business problem you can’t solve, look for a Charmer. Their dispassionate ability to analyze situations can cut through the most tangled web of professional intrigue. What’s more, if you have a new idea for a business venture, you definitely want to run it past a Charmer before you put too many resources behind executing it. While the Charmer’s ability to become clinically unsentimental about the prospects for a business venture can be chilling, their thought process tends to be so thorough that it’s worth the drop in temperature.