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The Anatomy of Charisma

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http://nautil.us/issue/45/power/the-anatomy-of-charisma

nautil.us

The Anatomy of Charisma
For weeks I had been researching what science has to say about the power of charisma. Why do some people so clearly have it and others don't? Why do we fall so easily under its influence? Charismatics can make us feel charmed and great about ourselves. They can inspire us to excel.

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The power of charisma

Charismatics can make us feel charmed and great about ourselves. They can inspire us to excel. They hypnotize us.

But they can also be dangerous. They can use charisma for their own purp...

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Defining charisma

The German sociologist from the early 20th-century Max Weber wrote charisma is a quality that sets an individual “apart from ordinary men,” and causes others to treat him as “endowed...

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Charismatic techniques can be taught

Charismatic Leadership Tactics range from the use of metaphors and storytelling to nonverbal methods of communication like open posture and animated, representative gestures at key moments.

...

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Charisma has two halves

It’s a relationship between the person who possesses it and the people who respond to it. And emotion is the accelerant.

A charismatic speaking to a mirror is not particularly excit...

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The awestruck effect

Charismatic leaders put us in awe. 

We reach a level of admiration so high, that we tend to hold back our emotions in order to show our respect for them, to acknowledge their superior st...

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"A charismatic leader releases the individual of the pressures of life under stress. If you join a group in those circumstances, you feel more protected. But that presupposes the vulnerab...

David Aberbach

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Be A Good listener

You can’t remember everything, but at least remember people’s names. Repeating their names during the conversation is a good memory reinforcement. Also, listen with interest, pay attentio...

Tell Great Stories

Keep yourself informed and speak with conviction. Use words like “I am sure” vs. tentative words like “I think, I hope and I feel.” Use humor, even if it is self-deprecating.

Don’t: Confuse humor with bad joke telling. And don’t overdo on the self-deprecation to the point you push yourself out of the conversation that it takes away from who you are.

Use Body Language

Be open, approachable, gracious and graceful. Walk up to someone, smile, make eye contact, shake hands. Introduce yourself by saying your name.

Don’t: Overdo it. When you smile, be authentic. If your smile is not in your eyes, people will know you're faking it.

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The Allure Of Authority

The Allure Of Authority

Many people are susceptible to follow and be ruled by an authority figure and obey commands that defy logic, reasoning and are also unfair or dangerous to others.

F...

Reasons How Authoritarians Control People

  1. Most people blindly follow a figure of authority due to an inbuilt culture of obedience, where positional power eclipses any sound judgement.
  2. Authoritarians ensure most of the information never reaches people, by discrediting or cutting off the information sources.
  3. They use incremental action by gradually increasing the demands that are made on others.
  4. They ensure that people don’t have any personal responsibility for their actions. Example: Managers hiding behind company policy to justify unfairness at the workplace.
  5. They use the power of fear by discrediting facts, scapegoating, polarization, and divide and rule tactics.

The Two Roads Of Our Brain

Normally, we utilize the ‘high road’, the main regions of the brain (thoughtfulness and reasoning) before any information reaches the amygdala (region of emotional response).

When a brain reacts due to any kind of threat, the main brain regions are skipped as the ‘low road’ is taken, sending the information directly to the emotional processing region, activating stress, anxiety and fear-based reactions.

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Confidence

Confidence

To be a stronger leader, you need to practice self-confidence. If you’re always second-guessing yourself and feeling shy around your coworkers, they won’t follow you.

Conf...

Creativity

Charismatic leaders think outside the box and aren’t afraid to push the limits.

While others may see this kind of push as risky, these leaders are the ones leading the way and driving innovation. When a problem arises, leaders don’t see only the difficulties. Instead, they rise to the challenge and see it as an opportunity. In business, this creativity can lead to powerful change and transformation, which can inspire and motivate others.

Vision

"Leadership requires two things: a vision of the world that does not yet exist and the ability to communicate it.” - Simon Sinek 

Because leaders value innovation, they are focused on the future and how they can improve it. They have a dream and direction that motivates and inspires others. 

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Charismatic Leadership Style

Max Weber defined charisma as “[a] certain quality of an individual personality, by virtue of which he is set apart from ordinary men and treated as endowed with supernatural, superhuman, or at ...

History of charismatic leadership

  • In medieval times, leadership was mostly based on tradition. Most people never met their leaders and leadership was legitimized by the divine right of kings - charisma was not needed.
  • The 19th and the 20th century were full of charismatic leaders. Technological (newspaper, radio, and TV) allowed leaders to transport their charisma over long distances.
  • Our current globalized world and access to social media have led to another rise in charismatic leaders. On Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter, many people support leaders solely based on their charisma.

Dangers of charismatic leadership

Most of the dangers of the charismatic movement relate to this power.

  • Charismatic leaders lose support more quickly than other types of leaders.
  • They have to clearly be the best person for the job at hand – always and in any situation. This is why they often engage in a cult of personality and become resistant to criticism.
  • Things that charismatic leaders do to maintain their power are precisely the things that diminish it when their business, country, or other undertaking encounters problems.
  • When charismatic leaders use their position to motivate their followers to do things they would not normally do, the followers often feel betrayed once they suspect that they might not get the expected payoff. 
  • They often eventually take the praise of their followers too seriously and show narcissistic traits. They consider criticism as disobedience and expect total loyalty. 

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Charisma is a skill

Charisma, defined as that irresistible magnetism some people possess, is often thought of as trait you’re born with (you either have it or you don’t).

But the truth is that charisma is a s...

Charismatic behaviors

There are 3 keys to being charismatic: 

  • you need to be present in the moment when engaging with others.
  • you need to give off warmth by implying goodwill toward others.
  • you need to appear powerful by coming across as someone capable of affecting the world around you.

Being memorable

... by making a graceful exit. Offer the other person something of value before you go:

  • Information: an article, book, or web site you think might be of use to them.
  • A connection: someone they ought to meet, whom you know and can introduce them to.
  • Visibility: an organization you belong to, where you could invite them to speak.
  • Recognition: an award you think they should be nominated for

Communicate Masterfully

Mastery of verbal communication includes:
  • Learning how to become a good listener
  • How to speak more intentionally
  • Reading the body language of those you’re communicating with...

Use The Full Power Of Body Language

  • Learn how to use body language to better illustrate stories and make them more powerful.
  • A straight posture communicates confidence, while curling or hunching communicates its lack.
  • Have an easy smile.

Maintain a High Energy Level

Charisma only comes into play when you’re interacting with others, so you just need high energy during specific interactions.

It’s pretty easy to adopt an exercise that pumps you up before interactions, whether that’s a few jumping jacks before a speech or something more lasting such as a morning routine that includes affirmations and exercise.

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Learning To Be Charismatic

Charisma is about what you say and do as opposed to who you really are as a person. Your subconscious, social cues, physical expression, and the way you treat others all play a part in developin...

Presence As A Charisma Tool

Presence is necessary for charisma and it’s all about being truly engaged with others and showing them that they have your complete attention. Without presence, you can come across as just wanting to show off.

Shut down your ego, and pay attention to and focus on every word that others say. 

Develop A Sense Of Confidence

People like confident individuals, even if their other qualities are less attractive. Developing confidence is a balancing act as you don't want to be arrogant, but you also don't want to come across as timid or scared.

Exercising regularly, dressing in clothes that make you feel good, and talking about the things you understand well can help you build and maintain confidence.

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Addicted to charisma

A leader who employs too much charisma can come to rely on this ability as an end unto itself.  Charismatic leaders can charm themselves. 

Authentic leaders understand (...

Becoming addicted to a charismatic leader

An overly-charismatic leader draws focus from the rest of the organization by demanding all the attention. When the focus shifts to the personal characteristics of the leader, accountability is diminished.

The followers can become overly dependent on the leader for all manner of large and small directions and decisions. The enterprise loses the ability to be resilient in the face of changing realities. 

To avoid organizational dependency

... leaders must ask themselves:

  • Do I spend my time empowering others to make decisions, or does my involvement force people to look to me for answers?
  • How often do I dive into details that belong to others?
  • How do my actions and attention help – or prevent – others from taking greater responsibility and accountability for their actions?

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The Universal God

Aldous Huxley's The Perennial Philosophy(1945) is an extraordinary work of synthesis, introducing global (particularly eastern) spirituality into mainstream western culture.

The Phi...

Fresh Take On Religion

  • Modern society has been described as the Age of Noise, and an Organized Lovelessness.
  • Advertising is revealed to be an organized effort to extend and intensify craving.
  • People in the modern age worship progress, technology, and their nation-state, all of which can be described as a 'religion'.
  • The dogma of such religions was profoundly criticized in the classic books, while paving the way towards newer ways to find God, like meditation.

The Author and Philosopher's fresh take on religion, shaping it as an 'empirical spirituality' was a huge influence in the 1960s and which has since then led to more people (now 27% in the US) being 'Spiritual but not Religious'

Constructing One's Reality

Aldous Huxley was heavily criticized after his death by newer philosophers who didn't subscribe to the Perennial Philosophy.

While the author insisted that the ultimate mystical experience is the moment of pure oneness with God where the concepts of 'I', language, image and culture are dissolved, his critics argued that all religions are true and some of them are truer than the others.

One of the critics states that human beings construct reality using their bodies, rituals, words, actions and cultures.

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Be a Professional Cheerleader

Charismatic people offer encouragement instead of skeptically listening to people’s goals and ideas. Find ways to encourage people while still holding them accountable:

Charismatic People Bring People Together

Charismatic people have lots of connections and share them regularly. Highly charismatic people are not only great at meeting new people, but also sharing their talent with their connections by introducing people who they know will get along well.

This quality is part of the reason charismatic people are such sought after connections; they spread their social wealth.

Likability is Key To Your Own Charisma

Likable leaders earn the trust of their team members and treat them well, and that makes the team’s performance better.

Teams with likable leaders tend to be more stable long-term because of lower turnover rates and are also better with changes since they are more likely to have employees committing to adopting to new ways.

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