Students in Service and Leadership at Harvard

Story of Leadership and Growth

Leadership and Charisma

It’s amazing to step back and consider the importance and impact of charisma and leadership. Senior company members are the ones that have the most influence on the creation and development of a ‘culture’ and are often determinants of a group’s success. Venture Capital funding trends correspond with these ideas — for investors, the quality, experience, and charm of leadership are key voting points. As controversial as some CEOs and founders are, when we consider major companies that dominate the financial world, we hear individual names that are synonymous with their companies.
With Apple, it’s Steve Jobs, with Facebook, it’s Mark Zuckerberg, and with Tesla, it’s Elon Musk. A fundamental question I always grapple with is how those individuals are able to successfully lead their respective organizations? More concretely, how are they able to unite highly unique individuals as they motivate their members to achieve clear, concise goals? For my research project, I aim to survey professionals that lead investment firms in order to find the answers to these questions. I look to see what leadership styles I can adopt to improve my own organization, Black Diamond Capital Investors (BDC). In essence, what can I learn from the most successful leaders in the world to develop BDC’s member engagement, social bonding, and investment efficiency?

Challenges to Our Goal

There will be challenges; our group is unique and extremely dynamic. Although cultural clubs may have members that differ more in personality and less in cultural background, our group is diverse in both personality and background. We have people who are extremely intent on his or her investment strategy or are overly biased towards a specific company. Although we find that those often people do know their fundamentals and have been proven exceptional at investing, their stubbornness can reduce the ability of other members to provide constructive criticism. Different people also have varying goals. As students, we all maintain college and career pursuits that ultimately can influence our motivations in joining and committing to sustaining the partnership.

Ultimately, although I do believe our organization is well run and led by extremely excellent upperclassmen, the key issue is that there’s extensive turnover every year. As time passes, the roles of the other undergraduates will continue to grow. With each phase of leadership, we need to maintain a high level of bonding and quality that allows the group to succeed in the future. This is an amazing window of opportunity for me to begin working on the issues within the club and to understand and incorporate leadership styles. As I transition through positions of ever-more influence, the level of responsibility extends. As such, I aim to be like the quality leaders I’ve learned from. This project is a promising way to receive an education to management practices and learn from some of the greatest commanders in the world.

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