Successful leadership despite low charisma

The world of politics is filled with leaders that are very adept at managing a crowd and have charismatic personalities. When picturing successful world leaders, most people envision individuals with a commanding presence, and the ability to produce speeches that are engaging and full of sound bites.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is not such a leader. But despite her sedate appearance and her oft times less then engaging public addresses, Merkel has risen to become one of the most powerful leaders in the world. Merkel was the first woman, first East German, and youngest person to hold the position, when she was elected as German Chancellor in 2005. She is now serving her fourth term as Germany’s Chancellor and because of Germany’s economic prosperity, she is a major leader and influence in the European Union.

Merkel has been described as person that is pragmatic, methodical, risk adverse, and deliberately dull. Those are not usually the traits one associates with a successful leader. But she has managed to make those strengthens as the people of Germany came to see Merkel as someone that has Germany’s best interests at heart. She leads like a well-seasoned chess player. Merkel’s methodical nature comes from her scientific background. She was an academic and did not start her political career until after the fall of the Berlin Wall.  She is an intelligent woman that always has a plan, just don’t ask her to admit she has a plan or reveal that plan. Merkel has seen Germany through economic and debt crisis within the European Union, threats to regional stability with contentions between Russia and Ukraine, and refugee crises.  She can adapt to these tough situation while playing a long game and working to restore Germany’s reputation on the World stage as a welcoming and humane country.

Her intelligence, integrity, and determination have helped her to find success regardless of her “dull” public persona. Merkel knows how to gauge what her country wants and needs then adapts to situations to ensure that she slowly moves policy and public opinion of followers towards those goals.

These types of skills and abilities are what lead Merkel to be named Time Magazine’s Person of the Year in 2015 despite her departure from the vision of a typical successful politician.



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