The Secrets To Becoming A Fascinating Leader
There are interesting, successful leaders in all industries but few ever fascinate to the level of Steve Jobs or Richard Branson. When people are fascinated by someone, they are intensely focused on the things that a person says and does. They want to know what makes a fascinating person "tick," and they want to be part of their tribe.
If you want to differentiate yourself as a leader you must shift your thinking beyond "interesting," because interest fades over time. Instead, tap into the things that make you uniquely fascinating.
How To Be Fascinating: The Seven Triggers You Must Know
In her book, Fascinate: Your 7 Triggers to Persuasion and Captivation, Sally Hogshead identified seven triggers that turn ordinary objects into fascinations. She applies those same triggers to people in her latest book, How the World Sees You: Discover Your Highest Value Through the Science of Fascination. Ordinary leaders become fascinating when they tap into a combination of the triggers that resonate with all of us:
- Power: The perception of strength. Anyone, regardless of their job title can exude power.
- Passion: A true love for what you do and how you do it.
- Mystique: Luring people closer, inviting them in but always leaving them wanting more.
- Prestige: Associating with someone who has "made it" says you've "made it," as well.
- Alarm: Demanding focus under threat of negative consequences - "Ignore what I say at your own peril!"
- Rebellion: Tempting people to push the limitations of traditional rules.
- Trust: Comforting people through certainty and reliability.
Think about the people you find fascinating. They likely each tap into different triggers. You may be fascinated by a low-key individual who taps into trust and power. You may also be drawn to someone who has harnessed power and passion in order to motivate.
The people whom you find fascinating have leveraged their unique strengths to draw you in. To become fascinating yourself, you must know which of these seven triggers in your own personality resonate with others.
Fitting In Is Boring
We spend most of our time trying to "fit in" with the environment and people around us, but according to Hogshead, those who understand their differences, who embrace them and leverage them are those who fascinate. Many people think they have to conform to certain standards once they step into leadership, but the truth is, conforming is boring. You become a better leader and you fascinate by embracing the unique qualities that have gotten you this far.
To Lead The Band, You Must Turn Your Back To The Crowd
Great leaders know their strengths, but in a crowded market, everybody tends to focus on the same strengths. Fascinate by focusing on your differences. It helps to think of it from this perspective: strengths speak to specialized skills; the things that you do on the job. Differences, however, speak to the unique personality traits that give you a competitive advantage. Your true value lies in how you do things, not what you do.
Articulate What Makes You Fascinating
In the world of product marketing, people pay up to four times more for a product because of a name. Think Gucci sunglasses vs. Target sunglasses. Gucci sunglasses do not necessarily provide better protection from UV rays, nor do they look much different from moderately-priced brands. People pay for the trigger of the Gucci brand, its prestige.
The same principle applies to leadership. Once you know what makes you unique and fascinating, how do you brand yourself? BMW's tagline is "the ultimate driving machine." What would your slogan be as a fascinating leader? Write it down and use it as a guiding principle in your leadership journey.
Fascination is more than getting the job done. There are plenty of effective leaders who never fascinate those around them. Take time to figure out what makes you different. Which of the seven triggers do you see in your leadership style? When you play to those strengths in yourself, you will command attention and join the ranks of the fascinating.