I’ve been to a lot of events, read a lot of books, and talked to a lot of really smart people who do nothing but think about the future of business.

Some of them are smarter than others.

The smartest of them all are the ones who force us to think differently. They’ll take an over-examined issue like, say, leadership and turn it inside-out, come up with a entirely different point of view, and blow our minds by offering a completely unique perspective.

Emmanuel Gobillot is one of those people.

He does more deep thinking about leadership than anyone I know, and in his latest book — “Follow the Leader: The One Thing Great Leaders Have that Great Followers Want” — he turns the study of leadership on its head by focusing not on what great leaders do, but rather on what their followers want.

“What people look for in their leaders has changed, and the ways in which leaders deliver (those things) is different,” Gobillot told me in a recent phone conversation. “There are a lot of new tools in place, but those tools are still used to deliver what followers want, which hasn’t changed so much.”

So what do followers want?

In a word, says Gobillot: Charisma.

From a business point of view, that’s a really vague concept — and it may not mean what we think it means.

When I think of charisma, I usually think of celebrity, charm, captivation, seduction, fascination. In Gobillot’s mind — and in the minds of followers — it means something different. In that context, charisma is all about compassion, hope, integrity, action, resilience, emotional logic. According to Gobillot, there are three dimensions at work here:

  • Values: Do my leaders share my values? Do they get me?
  • Character: Will my leaders continue to get me?
  • Achievement: My leaders don’t just *talk* a good game, but they are able to deliver.

“Charisma,” Gobillot told me, “is a gift that followers give us on the basis of what they see us do and the way they see us behave.”

Those are the things your followers want. Provide those things, and your followers will go to the mat for you. Fail to provide them, and they’ll see right through you.

Gobillot provides some fantastic insights here. Being a great leader may have less to do with what you do and more to do with what your team wants you do to.

Listen to my interview with Emmanuel in its entirety, then tell me: Are you inspiring your followers?

Learn more here
Gobillot offers an on-demand program throught the Business Learning Institute called “Goodbye Leadership. Hello Leadershift!” You’ll find details here.

Also, be on the lookout for a “Three Cs of Leadership” series from Emmanuel — and yes, one of those Cs is “charisma.” That series is tentatively scheduled to debut in early 2014.

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