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Executive Charisma

Executive Charisma

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by D. A. Benton

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You know charisma when you see it in executives who exude self-confidence, style, composure, authority, and a boundless energy that propels them straight into the corner office. You work just as hard, contribute just as much; you're talented and ambitious, but what can you do? You're either born with charisma, or you're not, right? Wrong! In Executive Charisma,


You know charisma when you see it in executives who exude self-confidence, style, composure, authority, and a boundless energy that propels them straight into the corner office. You work just as hard, contribute just as much; you're talented and ambitious, but what can you do? You're either born with charisma, or you're not, right? Wrong! In Executive Charisma, bestselling author and world-renowned executive development coach D. A. Benton demonstrates that charismatic executives are not just born, they are made -- and she introduces a proven six-step program for transforming yourself from a competent manager into a true leader. You'll learn how to think, act, and communicate like a C-level executive (CEO, CFO, CIO, etc.), and you'll discover powerful tools for developing and fine-tuning the complete executive charisma skill set.

Drawing on interviews with more than 500 of the world's leading executives and studies conducted by dozens of leading universities and research centers, Benton reveals that people skills account for 85 percent of why we get, keep, and move ahead in our jobs. The leaders who make it to the very top are those who work as hard at mastering the human side of management as they do at mastering the technical side. Executive Charisma shows you how to do the same.

With the help of this no-nonsense guide, you'll improve your interpersonal communication skills, learn how to manage upward, and find ways to project confidence even when you're feeling insecure. You'll discover how to use humor to put others at ease, develop an impressive executive bearing, and master the If you yearn to go beyond survival and just getting by, to take charge of your life, your career, and your destiny, stop dreaming and get to work. Read Executive Charisma, master the Sacred Six Steps, and infuse your climb up the corporate ladder with momentum and direction. You'll be amazed how much fun real success can be.

Editorial Reviews

Soundview Executive Book Summaries
Six Steps to Mastering the Art of Leadership
Executives who have their eyes set on the corner office will first need to learn a few skills before they can reach their goal. Although charisma, self-confidence, poise and energy are skills everyone would like to be born with, most leaders are still looking for "the ability to gain effective responses from others by using aware actions and considerate civility in order to get useful things done." This ability is executive charisma, and D.A. Benton, the head of an executive development and career-counseling firm, has many words of advice for leaders that can help them become more effective and find greater success.

Executive Charisma revolves around Benton's "Sacred Six Steps" to becoming an outstanding leader. These are:

  • Be the first to initiate.
  • Expect and give acceptance to maintain esteem.
  • Ask questions and ask favors.
  • Stand tall, straight and smile.
  • Be human, humorous and hands-on.
  • Slow down, shut up and listen.

Throughout her book, Benton expands each of these concepts into a complete chapter that analyzes the practice and delivers advice that can help leaders put a human face on the skill, and understand simple ways to put the idea into practice. While providing expert advice, she also provides numerous examples from politicians, CEOs, celebrities and academics who have succeeded by embodying the behaviors she introduces.

Add Substance and Style
Benton's research reveals that hard work is a starting point, but the missing piece in the puzzle that can get leaders further in their careers is charisma. Her suggestions are the finishing touches that can add substance and style to a leader's store of resources for meetings, public appearances, and public speaking.

The author's recipe for leadership success begins with a healthy portion of integrity. This includes living up to your word and exhibiting behavior that would make your mentor proud. Next, she writes that integrity gives leaders the confidence they need to conquer fear and apprehension, while earning the confidence of others. While using integrity and confidence to communicate and relate, a successful leader must also offer full disclosure. Benton writes that this means being direct, clear, "disarmingly open," and straight in every verbal and nonverbal communication. Great leaders tell people what they need to know, early and often, and create a sense of accountability. Openness and humbleness build a bridge to those who are being led while no disclosure builds a wall.

These elements are the firm roots on which Benton's Sacred Six Steps grow. She writes that the first skill a leader must master is taking initiative. Leaders must know how to seize opportunity before they are ready, and start something. To do this, they need to put their fears aside (or at least out of the way), take action with determination, and be consistent by having the discipline to keep trying.

Expect Acceptance
Next, Benton reminds leaders that they will not be accepted if they don't expect acceptance from others or give the feeling of significance to them. Thinking others are adequate, treating others as though they are adequate, and giving acceptance even when people don't seem to deserve it are the keys to developing this crucial skill.

When describing the importance of asking questions, Benton explains that leaders must know how to choose their words and tone carefully, keep their questions organized, and volunteer information without being asked. To help leaders do this, Benton offers a number of solid questions they can ask that can enhance their communication skills and style. She writes that asking somebody for a simple, specific favor, and thanking them, is a great way to maintain that person's esteem.

Other advice from Benton's treasure chest of improvements that leaders can make include: deciding to live life with a healthy, poised posture; smiling; telling a good story to make a point; and touching others to show openness and humanness. To round out her approach to a better leadership style, Benton reminds leaders they should appreciate the power of silence, listen more, and slow down to find a proper pace.

Why We Like This Book
Executive Charisma contains thousands of valuable suggestions about how people can carrying themselves like a leader and behave in a way that makes them more effective as people, whether they are in charge, or would like to be. Drawing from the experiences of leaders, social scientists, politicians and her own wealth of knowledge, Benton has filled every page of her book with pertinent reflections on demeanor and style, and sound business advice. Copyright © 2003 Soundview Executive Book Summaries

Product Details

McGraw-Hill Companies, The
Publication date:
Edition description:
New Edition
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 8.37(h) x 0.90(d)

Meet the Author

D. A. Benton heads Benton Management Resources, an executive development and career counseling firm with clients in 17 countries.

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Executive Charisma 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Debra's book is mandatory reading for my leadership team and is applicable to every relationship we have in our lives...not just our professional relationships!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Remember everything your mother told you. Stand up straight. Pull your shoulders back. Be outgoing. Smile. If you¿ve forgotten these lessons, this is for you. It¿s not what you know, it¿s who you know ¿ and what they think and feel about you ¿ that makes all the difference in your career. Be human. Ask for favors. Ask for information. Pitch in. Have a sense of humor. Speak slowly and listen carefully. Author D.A. Benton¿s presumably deep, probing interviews with 500 executives convinced her that charisma isn¿t inborn. She believes that everyone can learn to be charismatic. Just follow the six steps that can turn even the most repulsive excuse for a manager into a charming, charismatic executive. So, read this and practice. There¿s no harm in it, and it might do some good. However, while recommending this basic manual, suspects that the nature of charisma is a bit like the way a jazz musician explained the nature of jazz ¿ if you have to ask what it is, you¿ll never know.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Executive Charisma is mandatory reading for people in my organization. I've read lots of books like this, myself, but this one taught me things I didn't know. It's one of those rare books where after you read it and put it down, you pick it up to re-read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book takes the mystery out of why one person excels in business over a comparably qualified individual who wallows in business. The simple, practical steps allow you to immediately put the advice into action. And it's not just for business but for your entire life. I'm the president of a company and I promote people who understand and use these skills. If they don't 'get it' they don't move up. It's that simple.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have been reading Debra's books for years and benefiting from her incredible insight into the human side of being a great leader. In 'Executive Charisma' she once again reminds her readers to have balance, and value the importance of leveraging your people skills. Great work and a must read for all executives.