Charisma

by Nikki Owen

Common questions

  1. Can anyone develop charisma or is it just the birthright of an elite few?
  2. How will having charisma impact on my career?
  3. What is charisma exactly?
  4. What is the difference between being charismatic and being charming?
  5. Won’t I feel drained if I’m being charismatic all the time?
  6. Where do I start if I want to develop more charisma?

 

1. Can anyone develop charisma or is it just the birthright of an elite few?

Yes – anyone can develop higher levels of charisma if they want to. In behavioural science, you pinpoint the specific elements of an individual’s behaviour that cause them to generate a predictable response. This approach can be applied to charisma. Once you have identified the elements, if you replicate these elements exactly, they create the same response as the identified or ‘modelled’ individual. This has had a huge impact on the study of charisma. Repeatable success is created by focusing on finding the best examples of people in a chosen field, and then investigating what it is they do that generates the results they get. Behavioural modelling goes beyond behaviours and encompasses the elements of each model’s mindset, skills and knowledge.

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2. How will having charisma impact on my career?

Charismatic people possess a potent blend of attractiveness and presence that commands attention with an irresistible magnetic force. According to studies of babies and infants by Judith Langlois of the University of Texas, in experimental studies, attractive people earn more and progress further in their careers.

Trice and Beyer’s studies, undertaken in 1996, show that charismatic leaders affect their followers and have an important impact on the organisational culture. The Cremer and Knippenberg report, published in the Journal of Applied Psychology, 2002, used scenario experiments, cross-sectional surveys and laboratory studies to prove that charismatic leaders have a stronger effect on cooperation than their non-charismatic counterparts. Most leaders today appreciate the impact that a charismatic presence can have on their effectiveness. Charismatic leaders attract more publicity and more attention from outside groups, as well as exerting a strong (albeit invisible) bond with their organisation’s workforce. Numerous studies and experiments have been conducted that prove conclusively that charismatic leaders are more successful.

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3. What is charisma exactly?

There are numerous and contradictory views on defining charisma and up until recently, many believed that you either had charisma or not. In 1947, renowned sociologist Max Weber perceived charisma as a trait. This view contrasts strongly with studies by professor of management, Robert House, who defined charisma as a set of behaviours. In 1995, Fernando Molero, an expert researcher on charisma and Transformational Leadership, proposed a new classification of charisma, based on Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalysis. Nikki Owen, developer of An Audience with Charisma, provides the following definition: ‘Charisma is an authentic power that captivates the hearts and minds of others.’

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4. What is the difference between being charismatic and being charming?

External measurements of charisma can sometimes be interpreted as charm – although this alone does not create a charismatic presence, which requires a strong sense of the person’s character, the essence of the inner person. All the charm in the world cannot compete with an individual who speaks from their heart in a way that is genuine and reflects their deepest beliefs.

If an individual lacks authenticity – if they don’t mean what they say – they will dilute the strength of their character and consequently the strength of their charisma. Some individuals compensate for their lack of congruency by over-developing their external charm factors. When meeting these types of individuals, we may not consciously recognise that this person’s charm and character doesn’t match, yet we instinctively feel unsure.

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5. Won’t I feel drained if I’m being charismatic all the time?

If you try to emulate any other charismatic individual, you effectively ‘act’ and put on a mask of charisma. You start modelling external characteristics that may or may not reflect your own external characteristics. This immediately drains your energy, because it takes a lot of effort to sustain ‘a mask’. This then blocks the flow of your own authentic you, consequently diluting the emotional intensity of your communication. The only way to be truly charismatic is to be authentic and speak from your heart. Whatever external mask you choose to wear, if it doesn’t reflect the genuine, authentic ‘you’, this will then create a feeling in others that ‘something just isn’t right about this person’. This in turn means you will be unable to replenish your own energy reserves through your interactions with others. By connecting with the core elements that shape our character, we create the opportunity to develop a charismatic presence that stimulates our energy.

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6. Where do I start if I want to develop more charisma?

The first step towards developing and enhancing your charisma is to take a ‘helicopter view’ of your current level of charisma. You do this by rating yourself in the areas of self esteem, motivation, sensory awareness, vision and energy. As you begin to develop and enhance each of the five elements of charisma, you’ll notice that the tiniest change automatically creates a ‘Newtonian’ impact, derived from the laws of motion and gravity. Every action you take creates a reaction that is based on the principle of ‘cause and effect’. Everything that happens is a result of an underlying cause. The more you change each element (the inner cause of numerous external effects), the greater the number of charismatic effects will be created and consequently experienced by other people.

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