by Nikki Owen

Charisma equation

A charismatic person requires the ability to charm, combined with strength of character.

Authenticity and lies

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. Yet many famous charismatic people with strong characters have lied without any apparent ‘dent’ to their charisma.

Robert Maxwell is a prime example of this. He was rumoured to have opened his children’s Christmas presents with the same lack of guilt that he showed when helping himself to the pension fund. Yet how could he have lied and acted so dishonestly without tarnishing his magnetic personality?

The answer lies with the charismatic individual having complete and utter belief that even if they ‘choose’ to lie to others, ultimately they are true to themselves. Their belief system leads them to believe that their power gives them an insight that is exclusively theirs and that they are the ultimate judge in what is morally right or wrong.

Insincerity versus conviction

Some individuals can be extremely charming, yet this can mask their weak character (weak being defined as being easily led) and compensate for their lack of self-esteem by over developing their external charm factors. When meeting these types of individual, we may not consciously recognise that this person’s charm and character doesn’t match, yet we instinctively feel unsure.

Sharon Osbourne, one of the former judges on the show, The X-Factor, has bags of charm, yet in an effort to give positive feedback to the auditionees, she sometimes appeared less than sincere. Contrast her diminished charismatic presence with that of the leading judge of the same show, Simon Cowell. His direct, truthful and, on occasions, hurtful remarks reflected his genuine thoughts. This level of sincerity automatically enhanced his charismatic presence and made him the viewers’ favourite judge.

Hitler and Amin could ‘do charming’ and possessed very strong powerful characters. Both men had complete and utter conviction in their beliefs, actions and decisions that outraged millions around the world. Therefore, charisma is not an exclusive club, only available to persons of ‘good’ character.