Many leadership qualities have been observed throughout history. Some were adopted by bad leaders while others were exhibited by good leaders. In either case, the characteristics of those in charge correlated to their ability to accomplish their goals. Just as importantly, those same traits determined how much - or how little - their followers looked up to them.
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.
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 with supernatural, superhuman, or at least specifically exceptional powers or qualities.”
Why do people tend to do what others do, prefer what others prefer, and choose what others choose? Our study, published today in Nature Human Behaviour, shows that people tend to copy other people's choices, even when they know that those people did not make their choices freely, and when the decision does not reflect their own actual preferences.