Charismatic Leader – A lecture by Sam Potolicchio

When I recollect my notes, I found this really interesting note from leadership lecture by Sam Potolicchio as part of my YSEALI PFP program in Washington DC. Sam Potolicchio is Director of Global and Custom Education at the McCourt School of Public Policy at Georgetown University and named as one of “America’s Best Professors” by Princeton Review, the only one in his field and the Future Leader of American Higher Education by the Association of Colleges and Universities. Really love his lecture and I think it would be useful to share it. It’s really interesting because he bring out the samples from politic areas and try to construct a conclusion on what make a political leader really stand out and different.

So, what’s charismatic leader? Sam informally defines it as leader with strong contrast. Contrast is something that would make you unique and hence recognizable by society. In addition, strong contrast would need to be accompanied with 2 hygiene factors: competence over their respective field (strength) and trust from people (warmth). These 3 (contrast, competence, and trust) are traits, that not only differentiate, but also make a leader really stand out over the others.

So, what do we need to create those 3? Sam share some tips:
1. Ability to attend / observe. A leader needs to be able to attend / observe many things around them (country, colleagues, sub-ordinate, society, and even follower/fans) because they need to make a stand point /decision in their daily lives. Don’t drag too much in unimportant task, because human is not a good multi-tasking organism.
2. Attentive to subliminal signal / body language
3. Ability to create Halo effect. Halo effect is something that makes you trust and create feeling of similarity with other person. This one is really apparent in political figures, and it could be built and practiced from the way you use language (verbal and non-verbal).
4. Be flowsome could make you awesome. Means, what would make a leader awesome is the way they could handle the flows of where things are going.
5. Handle unexpected conditions well.

Hope it’s useful for you, aspiring leaders!


Leaders – Made, Not Born?

Just had a wonderful discussion about leadership which led us to a conclusion that “leaders are made, not born”. This kind of idea is well supported by many writers in the field of leadership, for example by Nicholas Bate [1]. Leaders made by learn certain skill set and experiences in leading people over time, other than the true nature of the person itself [2].

Leaders can be made! It meant we can make a new effective and efficient leader for the next generation. Yet, why many people can’t rise as local leaders at certain environment? From the discussion we had a unique conclusion, “environment is the key”. Therefore, it is important for a potential person to have a good influence from the environment. It is the environment that built manner and capability. In my experience, StudentsxCEOs built my awareness and knowledge about business, while Young Leaders for Indonesia built awareness about contribution and capability of young leaders in Indonesia.

To sum up, there are 2 important way to build a great leader; they are “knowledge” and “environment” [2]. By took the right composition of both ingredient, one can become great leader for the future society.


[1] Nicholas Bate. 2008. Instant MBA: Think, perform and earn like a top business-school graduate (52 Brilliant Ideas) [Book]

[2] Young Leaders for Indonesia. 2012. [Training Session]

Belbin Team Roles – A Method on Decide Team Member


As MBTI is not enough to determine whether teamness will occur or not, Dr.Meredith Belbin study 9 team roles. These roles need to be balanced to make a good team. There are some critics on this method, yet we can still get some jewel in implement this approach.

The Roles

1. Shaper: People who like to shape things. Keep challenge people to improve continuously.

2. Implementer: Get things done. Make ideas into action.

3. Completer-Finisher: Ensure no error in the work. Perseverance people.

4. Coordinator: Guide people. The leader.

5. Team Worker: Make sure the team work well together.

6. Resource Investigator: Innovative people. Explore options. Extrovert.

7. Plant: Innovator with new ideas. Introvert.

8. Monitor-Evaluator: Analyze other’s idea.

9. Specialist: Own specialized knowledge to make job done.


The 9 roles are very important to be balanced in team to ensure teamness. An individual may take multiple role and yet, the accumulation of people strength and weakness become the team strength and weakness. That’s why it is important to pick your team well.

Further Study

Belbin Website.

Belbin’s Team Roles. Mindtools.

Team Role Inventories. Wikipedia.

6 Thinking Hats of Edward De Bono – A Practical Tool in Brainstorming Meeting


6 thinking hats of Edward de Bono is a great concept to help you do brainstorming in strategic meeting. While it heard like a funny concept, it hold an important notion on analysis and decision concept, which is “it is all about perspectives”. Edward de Bono history itself is very exciting to read and you can read it by yourself here.



The concept of the thinking hats is simple. There are 6 type of perspectives that we can use (later on wrote as “hat”), they are white hat, red hat, black hat, yellow hat, green hat, and blue hat. White hat means we are looking into the data. White hat process the problem logically, while red hat process the problem emotionally. Black hat attack the problem from defensive and cautious perspective, while yellow hat look the opportunity in a very positive state. Green hat means a creative thinking perspective. Green hat enforces you to think out of the box, out of ordinary. The blue hat resembles the position of the meeting leader, the one who decides when to change from one perspective (“hat”) to the other.


Experience Sharing

From my experience, this concept is very powerful, especially in brainstorming process. The blue hat (leader) can choose how we approach the problem. When the leader chooses to use white hat, we can see some pattern in data. Yet data is not the only matter, emotion possibly be the key to problem you seek, so the blue hat can change to the red hat mode and so on. Simply speaking, the blue hat is the key to unleash the team power as it is the leader who chooses which hat we’ll use for a while.


Further Study

Edward de Bono Website.

Six Thinking Hats. Mindtools.