First Impressions

Andrew Mitchell- A charisma case study

Social skill is the root of charisma

Andrew Mitchell is in big trouble. He’s the recently promoted, multi-millionaire, son of a Politician, well-connected, minister. He’s in trouble for getting into some kind of contra-temps with a policeman. Did he or didn’t he call him ‘a pleb’, a ‘fucking moron’ and a few other things too?  Well it seems like he did. With the copper’s log of the events released for an eager public to devour…

See the full article here.

Mitchell is obviously a very successful and wealthy man, who is now accused of being an arrogant bastard. The very word ‘pleb’ being a shortening of the Latin ‘Plebeian’ meaning-

  1.  One of the common people of ancient Rome.
  2. A member of the lower classes.
  3. A vulgar or coarse person.
Which, maybe gives us an insight into his sense of his own importance, his contempt for other people’s authority, and his uncomfortable feelings about ‘bending the knee’ to another man who he sees as his ‘inferior’. Ouch! Embarrassing isn’t it?

The point for us all here is that charisma (in our considered view) is a product of social skill and confidence. Someone with a high sense of their own importance, and a low respect or empathy for others, multiplies that weakness with a lack of courtesy or social grace. And this seems to be what happened here.

So for a lack of a deep breath, smile, nod and ‘thank you officer, sorry about that, you’ve got me bang to rights’ charming response to a public servant many rungs below him in terms of ‘importance’- he’s now probably going to have resign and be remembered for that one thing…

So when people ask me what the price of courtesy is? And the value of charisma? Here’s a case study for us all to remember. And for all ‘important people’ it’s a good note to remember the thing that George Bernard Shaw said when  asked by a Politician, slighted in debate by the philosopher,

‘Do you have any idea who I am?’ Shaw, rather brilliantly, replied, ‘No, but what you are is obvious to us all…’

What’s the lesson us if we want to inspire others and be labelled charismatic rather than an arrogant bastard? It’s nice to be important, but much more important to be nice.

Are you charismatic?

Jim Harvey

Jim Harvey

Managing Director at The Message Business
Jim is the MD of The Message Business, a company which helps FTSE 100 companies to sell themselves, and their products better. Speech writer, Prezi trainer and designer, coach and consultant, Jim also finds time to be a proud father and husband.
Jim Harvey
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