Part 5: Personal Magnetism

In his 1944 book, The Technique of Building Personal Leadership, Donald Laird developed and outlined a model to help people build their personal magnetism.  Through the way that we behave in groups or as leaders, we can either positively or negatively affect those around us.

We often do not think about the motivation of others, but this connection between people who work closely together can be greatly influenced by each member.  Therefore, if one person has a negative attitude, it can bring the motivation level of the team down or even destroy it.

In the same regard, a team member with a magnetic personality and can charge up the group and bring a wave of motivation to the collective, inspiring everyone around them.

Donald Laird explained his model as follows:

  1. Be active – Go beyond your comfort zone, fake it if need be, pretend or act as someone you’re not, put on a mask and role-play. Take on an active manner when around other people, but when alone be relaxed.

Use hand gestures when speaking to garnish attention to what you’re saying.  Use emphasis on key words.

  • Example:

“I’m glad to meet you, Mr. Smith”

vs.

“I’m GLAD to meet you, Mr. SMITH”

  1. Be brisk – You can be brief without being rude. Leave those you were socializing with feeling expectant, as though you didn’t fulfill what they assumed you would do.  Never overdo it, but instead leave them wanting more.  Be quick, but be graceful.  Get to the point of matters and do not linger when things are done, move on about your day.

This motto explains it well, “Wasting your own time is foolish, but wasting another’s is theft.”

  1. Be cheerful – Choose glad tidings over calamity, encourage over discourage, act out success over failure. Leave people feeling better than you found them.  Being positive is a mood or feeling and like all emotions it will come and go.  When the feeling of cheerfulness is not naturally present you must pretend.
  2. Be direct – Make eye contact without glaring or having a staring contest. Make yourself attentive to whom you are communicating with.
  3. Be Fearless – In life, the easy road is often the least rewarding. So many times we choose to stay within our safety bubble, our comfort zone, but the best life – the one that is most rewarding – begins at the end of our comfort zone.

Being brave doesn’t always mean that you have courage, it just means that you’re willing to act it out.  Every time you pretend to be brave and act it out, you actually begin to accrue real courage for future circumstances.  What we pretend long enough, begins to become our reality.

Moral courage holds the same value as being brave in circumstances where your wellbeing is at risk.  Moral courage can motivate you to stand up and speak out when you witness an injustice or find a cause you believe in and want to make an impact on.  Be fearless in your actions, but also in your words.