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Author of “Charisma,” Lee Jong-seon

Posted July. 16, 2004 22:19,   


“Why does my staff look livelier when I’m not around?”

If you’re a boss who worries over the same question, you need to reassess your image as it is seen by the people working under you.

Image makeover specialist Lee Jong-seon (40, Image Design Consulting, photo) has been solving similar problems for those in the business world for the past 13 years. His new book, “Warm Charisma” (Random House JoongAng), contains the accumulated wealth of his image designing know-how.

“I found that people who have achieved social success shared a common element in their public images: what I call ‘warm charisma.’ As the structure of the business world changes from vertical to horizontal, leaders who have ‘warm charisma’ are coming increasingly in demand.”

So just what is this “warm charisma”? Lee defines it as the “power to win without fighting.” In the book, he lists the 10 elements of “warm charisma” as self-expression, empathy, trust, persuasiveness, modesty, skill in rejecting others and their opinions, power to overcome one’s self, humor, affinity, and vision. But, of course, nobody is perfect. If one were to pick just three out of these 10 qualities? Lee suggests self-expression, affinity, and vision.

“Above all, ‘vision’ is the core of charisma. Today, merely ‘working hard’ is not enough. Many people have a ‘purpose’ but not an ‘end goal,’ which leaves them perpetually skirting the edges of success.”

In order to acquire “warm charisma,” Lee advises, one must “first, think positively about oneself; second, speak and comport oneself in an attractive manner; and third, exhibit behavior befitting a person of success.”

He also writes about the “FAMILY” principle, which is necessary if one is to give the impression of being a good partner in conversation: F (be “Friendly” to others), A (pay “Attention”), M (empathize, with a “Me too” attitude), I (show “Interest”), L (“Look” people in the eye when addressing them), Y (convey the impression that “You are centered”).

The book names 10 people with “warm charisma” in the current public sphere—including Minister of Justice Kang Kum-sil, Chairman Shin Chang-jae of Kyobo Life Insurance, actor Ahn Sung-gi, and the character of “Head Lady-in-Waiting Hahn” from the TV drama “Daejanggeum”—and analyzes the key factors in their success.

Lee studied hotel management at New York University, then began working in image consulting in 1991. Since then, over 500 businesses and more than 1,000,000 individuals have attended his lectures.

Sue-Jean Kang sjkang@donga.com