WHAT IS CHARISMA? A Definition
You probably know of someone that when they enter a room they lighten up the room or when you listen to them you can’t stop admiring them. This is what is referred to as Charisma. It is a virtue that many leaders the world over poses.
It is normal for individuals to battle with coming up with the true meaning of “charisma” in connection. However, most people will tell you who have charisma and who doesn’t. For example, if you ask anyone for world leaders who are charismatic then one may hear names such as Martin Luther King, Bill Clinton, Tony Blair and Barack Obama. The entertainment arena also has its fair share of men and women with charisma. Many people agree that people like Marilyn Monroe, Humphrey Bogart, and Oprah Winfrey all have charisma.
When one considers charismatic people such as Oprah Winfrey and Bill Clinton it is very easy to conclude that they have little in common especially when considering the surface character. However, all such individuals have a special something that endears them to others. This is what is referred to as charisma.
So what exactly is charisma?
Charisma a web of sophisticated and complex emotional and social skills that make an individual attractive to others in how they look, carry themselves and communicate. These skills allow a charismatic individual to effortlessly influence others at a deeper and emotional level.
To become charismatic an individual has to pay careful attention to they look, they behave and how they interact with others. Quite often charismatic Individuals will use their charisma skills to bring other people on their side. This is the main reason why charisma is on many occasions associated with leadership. For example, if you randomly pick your friends and ask them to list charismatic people they know them most the names that will come up will include those of political leaders and many other public figures. It is, however, important to note that there are literary millions of ordinary people who also possess charismatic traits.
Types of Charisma
Charisma has been an important field in the field of psychology for many years. As a result of these scientist has studied and classified charisma into four important categories. The following are the four major types of charisma:
This kind of charisma is related to personal presence. This is what political leaders have that there when they go somewhere people feel their presence, understand what they are doing and appreciate their presence. This is an important form of charisma to have especially when dealing with a hostile situation as it can help you in negotiation and to appear authoritative. To develop this kind of charisma one needs to learn how to use eye contact and body language effectively. In addition, one may use meditation to help build their internal energy and keep themselves focused.
This is the type of charisma that people use to make others believe in their vision and leadership. People who have the visionary charisma show strong passion towards their goals and vision. Most people are attracted to others because of their confidence and conviction in what they are doing. With visionary charisma, one can effortlessly get people to support his/her vision as they believe in the confidence of the owner of the vision.
This is a kind of warmth charisma as it is more related to the emotional connection with other people. If you can make other people feel warm and welcomed where ever you are then you have kindness charisma. To develop this kind of charisma one needs to learn and practice showing compassion towards others, always being grateful, always show optimism and be comfortable helping others. This kind of charisma can’t be faked as it comes from deep within an individual.
This is the most powerful form of charisma. People love to associate with those in authority because it favors their survival. When people meet each other they study how they behave and can tell their level of authority by studying their body language. People in authority will show confidence and power in their body language while the rest don’t. With this authority, one will attract more people to their cause as more and more people will want to associate with their authority.
THE PSYCHOLOGY OF CHARISMA
Charisma adds weight to the authority of an individual. Consider a leader in any position say a president of a given country. The position of the president gives the leader the authority to tell his or her followers what to do and what to believe in. having charisma makes your followers more likely to do and believe in what you say than when you don’t have charisma.
In our day to day lives, charisma is simply the special ability to motivate and persuade other people to follow your course. This general definition is greatly influenced by the psychoanalytical literature from over the years. In the early years, psychologists defined charisma as a natural and unlearned set of skills that were intrinsic to a particular personality. What this meant was that certain people were born with charisma while others were not.
However, this is no longer the case as modern psychologists have been able to successfully identify teachable constitutive charisma traits that one can learn to develop their traits. For example, most charismatic individuals tend to accurately control their tonal variation when talking to others. These people are also self-awareness and confidence. They also maintain a friendly body language and eye contact. All these character traits can be learned.
Research shows that charismatic people tend to frame the content of their message to suit their desired audiences. Thus the speech of a charismatic leader is likely to come out as an inspirational message and not an instruction piece. This evidence is in line with the psychological tenets of charisma that emphasizes confidence, personality, social awareness and confidence.
It is important to note that none of the above traits is connected to knowing how people should act or even what they should believe in. This means that people are likely to like and support charismatic people even when they are not the smartest people around. For example, studies conducted on how job candidates are selected from student placement service in the United States found that confidence and self-promotion were more likely to help a candidate secure employment than both the job type and the GPA.
Another study found out that when students are assigned group work they select their leader based on self-confidence and not on the candidate’s ability in the given subject. These studies point to the fact that charisma is related more to confidence and personal presentation than anything else. For example, when one speaks to a group of people, the listeners are more likely to be moved by the tonal variations and nonverbal cues rather than the content of what is being said.
Charisma is not only a psychological trait but it also has a psychological effect on what people believe, does and like. For example, patients are more likely to like a charismatic doctor than any other doctor. At the same time, charismatic physicians face fewer legal cases related to malpractice than those that are not charismatic. Politicians who are charismatic are more easily believed and even elected into office than those who are not.
In many cases, charisma plays a crucial role in the selection of people to occupy positions of authority. However, this practice may not always be the best as studies show that there is no correlation between leadership performance and charisma. In fact, in some instances, there is an inverse correlation between charisma and the ability to be an effective leader.
ELEMENTS OF CHARISMA
There are three known elements of charisma. They are closely related such that their components are almost contradicting. It requires a very vigilant eye to master and distinguishes one from another; the elements of charisma are as follows;
The power that is perceived in charismatic people is very distinctive from the normal power that is always exhibited in our leadership skills, it is not the power to authorize or dictate a person to do something. The normal power to compel and make people feel someone, we are not talking about putting pressure on someone to perform or follow your opinions. Charismatic individuals are very powerful in a way that they will follow you and get convinced without any pressure exerted on them psychologically. Charismatic individuals attract people through humility and passion, they are liked by everyone .the power in them is inbuilt, it eliminates pride and gives way to better and easy approach, they are not feared and this opens more channels of communicating with them. Charismatic individuals have a big heart in the sense that they accommodate every character in them they give the assurance to people and groups find solutions in them. It is through confidence that they win the hearts and minds of people. For a person to be charismatic you need to be intelligent enough to gain power and face someone. There are leaders who have excelled in the field but due to lack of the charismatic power they fade away, this is because they lacked the inner control of politeness that shadows the physical power and the blend to give out a charismatic power .charisma gives an attractive body language, that body language that proofs to the people around you that you are very much informed and able, people will emulate a good body language that shows mastery of content even if delivered in a very few words. Charismatic people dress to attract and at least to be the center of interest ,that dress code plays a big role in the catching the eyes of people, groups tend to judge people in the dress code, they give attention to elegance and smartness, being smart mentally and physically adds positive conclusions to people and results to charisma power. Lastly, charismatic people are not a jack of all trade, they master what is relevant and present it in a sequential manner, yes they know a lot but they are relevant to their field and limited to areas of their expertise.
Charisma entails presence in the conversation, Charismatic individuals are always present in a conversation when viewing presence in charisma we are basically referring to the mental presence, being with the audience and reacting to every word that demands reactions. It calls for various techniques to prove that you are still alive in the connection, charismatic individuals are always with you I a conversation such that they proof their presence through nodding, they don’t interrupt with clarifications but they nod to tell you that am still with you, I am listening, this are people that can stop what they are doing to give you attention, they don’t think of other things but what they are being told. they are not busy with their phone or TV while a conversation is going on they will give their concentration whenever needed .Presence as an aspect of charisma is demanding, you ought to put some device like phones and doorbells to silent mode and your conversation will be given all the time, and as a matter of fact, concentration will help in time management, conversation will not take long if well given its concentration which translates to presence.
This is the most important element of charisma because it combines the other elements and blends it with a true character of charisma; it creates the platform for the conversation to be friendly and accommodative so to speak. Warmth gives way to making the conversation continuous and enjoyable. Warmth as an aspect of charisma opens more ideas and opinions to make understanding more relevant. The element of warmth in charisma contains being thankful to someone contributing towards the success of something. It entails being emotionally present in a conversation, where you lend your opinions in terms of feelings, people will be attractive and perceive you as their problem solver. Warmth is all about assuming every person is a brother and a sister, they are family and to be charismatic you have to prove to the society that you are approachable from all angles, it eliminates complications of approach. Warmth puts the right tone and good body language to a charismatic person; it adds empathy to the conversation there bringing equality to the two ends of the communication. Charismatic people have warmth in their tone and gesture, they put on a smiling face where required, they give the eye of welcome thereby giving the necessary comfort for communication to take the direction of continuity.
WHAT CAN CHARISMA DO FOR YOU?
Anyone can imagine great their lives would be if they knew that where ever they go people will immediately take notice of their presence and instantly like them. This is the life of the charismatic people. Everyone is attracted by their presence and easily give them their approval. Where ever a charismatic person is people are magnetically attracted to such a person and quite often these people would easily let the charismatic person lead them.
Having charisma will get other people to easily like, trust and want to help you. Charisma determines whether a person is seen as a leader or a follower. In any group the charismatic person will become the leader will those without charisma will be followers. When you have charisma people will want to do what you say without questioning it but if you don’t then you will have to work twice as hard to convince people to come on your side.
Charisma is thus quite important to business and institutions. For employees of any organization, charisma can help one land a new job and even rise through the ranks to become a leader within the organization. In fact, scientific studies show that charismatic people are often seen as high performers and thus receive high-performance rating which helps them easily advance in their career.
For business leaders, charisma helps them attract top talents to their organization. Quite often talented people choose where they would love to work based on how they like their new bosses. People would love to work under a charismatic leader than anyone else. This is also the case when it comes to retaining top talents within the organization. When a business leader is charismatic people will instantly like them and this goes a long way in making people want to join their team and their organization. Moreover, people working under such leaders will perform better and thus feel satisfied with their job. This, in the long run, will help reduce employee turnover thus enabling a leader to retain their top talent. In fact, research shows that people that work in teams lead by charismatic leaders often perform better, find their work to be more meaningful and trust their leaders than those people that work under non-charismatic leaders.
Charisma also finds application in many other places. For instance at home parents find charisma quite useful especially when they have to influence their children and other community members. In schools, charisma helps teachers influence learners positively and get the best outcome out of the learning process. Charisma can also be quite useful to students especially when running for leadership positions within the schools. In hospitals, charisma helps build trust between the patient and their physician. When a patient is attended to by a charismatic doctor, the patient is likely to trust the doctor more easily and would adhere to the treatment procedure prescribed by the doctor.
Having charisma will guarantee you employees support in whatever project you want to implement. Quite often charismatic leaders in the workplace will not only attract other people to their side but will seek to motivate, inspire and support their subordinate. As a result, every employee in the organization will be motivated to do better work and to support any project that is spearheaded by the manager. Additionally, employees in such places are more likely to adopt the attitude, optimism and confidence portrayed by their leader. This helps grow other leaders under the charismatic leader which helps increase the growth of the organization.
Charisma is the key to a better working environment and improved performance. The perfect example here can be seen in team sports whereby when a charismatic coach takes over a poor performing team the performance of the team dramatically improves. So how are these charismatic coaches able to turn around such teams in such a short period of time? Well, charismatic leaders are often the number one cheerleaders of their teams. They set out clear goals to be achieved, and then they clearly communicate these goals to their followers. They also create enthusiasm towards the tasks to be done. This goes a long way in creating a conducive environment for increased productivity.
How to Benefit from Charisma
Well, no one can gain the above benefits of charisma if they don’t actively seek to develop their own charisma traits. You have to be attractive to attract others, you have to care for others to earn their trust and you have to take initiatives to earn their approval. This is the case anywhere, be it in a business, in sports or even in your workplace. The following are some of the ways you can use to benefit from charisma.
Charismatic people have a need to be seen and heard. This is the only way one has to help motivate and inspire others. Charisma requires that one listens to others, motivate them and be a role model. These roles cannot be performed while one is hiding in the crowd. You have to step outside to be seen and heard.
Life is full of challenges situations. Charismatic people seem to navigate such situations better than other people. But why is this often the case? Charismatic people take their time to horn their persuasive skills. One must learn how to persuade others. This is the key to attracting people to your side. One must understand how to deal with difficult situations and how to negotiate their way through challenges. This will only help an individual go far, but is quite beneficial especially when it comes to attracting followers and motivating them to do their best.
Push the boundaries
Charismatic people set their target high. This is the key to achieving more in life. Pushing the limits helps people discover new things that they can do and how best to do them. This is an important quality, especially when working with a team. Charismatic leaders help their team push the boundaries and this helps streamline the team and motivate the team members to work harder. This, in turn, increases productivity which is the main goal of the organization.
HOW DO CHARISMATIC PEOPLE BEHAVE LIKE?
Charismatic individuals have a unique character that people of all walks of life admire and will always want to be in their company for a good time. These are people that are seen to be sympathetic and their presence is of great importance to the immediate people they mingling with. Charismatic people have many behaviors but just to mention a few;
Careful with words
They always choose words to suit the needs of the people they may affect in the long run. They are very mindful in what comes out of their mouths. These people do not want to hurt anyone verbally, as a matter of fact, they swallow they keep a lot to themselves than letting go that word that spoil the otherwise good relationship they had with people. They seek peace and avoid trouble. As an eye opener, they tend to avoid people that will bring trouble to them. They are very slippery and if you are careful enough you will notice that these people do not disclose when they are offended instead they avoid your company just to keep the peace and to avoid unfriendliness. They watch from a distance when they are with a group of troubleshooters but they never mean to disturb the relationship with any person. Generally, they can live with any person as long as they have understood them.
Admit their Mistakes
In real life situation, it is not simple to accept personal mistakes especially to a person lower in the rank. Most people will term the acceptance of their mistakes as weakness, a room for criticism and belittlement, a charismatic person will have a second thought to admitting that he/she was wrong and he/she stands to be corrected. This element helps in bringing people closer to you and understand you in a positive way, you will be approachable by many, admitting to your mistakes will lay you a carpet of opportunities to convince people and maintain cordial circles of all manner,
Give Attention and Concentration to all
Life is full of packages and categories that cluster people to different classes. We have the poor and the rich, light complexion and dark complexion, short and tall, introverts and extroverts. Charismatic people are not discriminative in any way. They give every person or audience the attention they deserve, they will not be busy with their laptops as you talk with them, they maintain a good eye contact with you or the person who needs their concentration at that time, they will tell you when they are not ready to talk and give you an appointment so as you can meet them when they are ready. They will laugh with you when you laugh and mourn with you when you mourn, nodding is part of them to show understanding and to exhibit they are still listening, they also ask questions to clarify points and this will show that they are still interested in listening to their audience. Charismatic people give other people time to ask questions for the sake of understanding and getting along with everyone in the room, they are not dictators and assume that they are right and their words and speeches become law. Through concentration and attention giving, they gain good rapport with the rest of the world and get liked easily, this leads to fame,
Listen more than they talk
They are a good listener which sometimes is assumed to be a weakness on their side, they only give their word where it is needed. Listening to them is very vital so that they can understand people in a better way, and it will be noticed that people will love talking and discussing matters with someone who listens for a good time. Charisma is all about intelligence and these charismatic people will listen a lot but give a solution or a comment in very few words that satisfies everyone.
Charismatic people know that other people are important
Another behavior that is common in charismatic people is honoring everyone that they interact with. They are always constant in reading the psychology of the people in their company. To them, respect is not all they can give they extend to giving people importance. They make all important through analyzing what people like, what they expect depending on the situation at hand, they never leave any stone unturned. They constantly engage with people, sometimes they call them just here from them how they are doing. Charismatic people give importance to matters that are small since they are aware that they give good results in maintaining a good relationship. Charismatic people are very humble and not arrogant, they have way of swallowing their pride and very slow to anger, they never get angry as such but all human have a point of breaking up, and to this class of people it’s very rare to find them angry with other people, that is an indication that they value and give importance to everyone. They have the habit of giving frequently and often they do give more than they receive. In conclusion, they have a unique sense of handling progress in other people, they never get jealous, instead they happy and excited with his colleagues progress. In their own understanding, progress to them is when they have a good relationship with others.
CAN CHARISMATIC BEHAVIOR BE LEARNED?
All human character can be acquired through different techniques of learning. Human behavior can be acquired through observation, teaching, life experience, and imitation. Charisma is not an exemption to the learning process. Learning is a process that involves time and emotional effort. For you to tap true charismatic traits you must be able to understand the environment and its occupants, you must be able to connect with the people that you want to win their attention. Many a times charisma has been confused for professionalism, it should be understood that the two do not relate to each other but each depends on the other. Professionalism without charisma amounts to poor public relations while charisma without professionalism is ignorance. This is a skill that can be achieved socially through the following social learning methodologies. Connecting with people is the main engine that grows charisma in people
Deal with People as they want to Dealt with is an important way you can use to learn to be more charismatic. This is an important aspect of gaining charismatic abilities, while it can be impossible to understand what people want, it is very simple to learn the likes and dislikes of a group or set of individuals who share a given origin or character. Through attempts at gaining knowledge of a people’s culture and beliefs, the organizational culture that a people embrace, you will understand their treasures in life and in so doing, you will acquire the traits of charisma. Charisma is not a quality that one gain in a day, neither is it a trait that comes by itself, it should be nurtured through observation and personal evaluation. It involves analysis of people’s behavior and attitude towards your actions. For one to be charismatic you should be able to listen to other people’s opinions and ideas, it is believed that not everybody is able to give the best opinion as such, what is meant here is that, however the point can be out of order, you should try to accommodate it, but later on be the first to critic constructively through alternative approach.
Charisma can be learned through being mindful of other people’s feeling and reactions. You should be concerned on how your actions affect the immediate environment, your listeners, and audience .The best way to be concerned with how you have touched the audience is through the word of mouth. Whatever we say either true or false, may please or hurt the people we are talking to. For us to learn charisma we must be able to be pleasing at all cost in everything that we do or say, the impact an action will put on the surrounding determines how charismatic we are. Through this method, one can slowly gain the traces of having the traits of charisma.
One of the best and known traits of learning to be charismatic is through being sensitive with your own persona, getting in touch with your weaknesses and strength, upon identification of your best and worst things then you will be able to limit them to yourself, thereby making sure that you do not spill them to your immediate environment or the people within your interaction niche. Understanding one’s self-entails taking steps in analyzing how you change other people in your actions, and if one does not know the above then he/she could be hurting people and in many cases, you will not be informed about the negative impact you impact on others. You will only be praised on the best you have done but you will not be criticized openly by all, but if you know your limitations you will begin to be charismatic and you will get its results without difficulty but through gaining more followers and many collogues buying onto your ideas, opinions, and strategies.
A major aspect of adding charisma into your character is by learning to see the best in others, the eyes that see and identifies good that have been done by others, learn to appreciate them, tell them ‘it was good of you” Appreciating others is the equal to being a charismatic trait. You will win the people’s attitude if you possess the attitude of being part of their dreams through hoping for the best on their behalf, meaning you be part of their solutions. You do not need to offer much as such but giving them sentiments that can play a role in reenergizing them to stand on their feet again, be part of their problem solving. For one to have charismatic behavior they should be able to learn the weaknesses of their colleagues and by so doing you will be able to accommodate their limitations and also live harmonically with the immediate environment.