It seems that being, or becoming, a charismatic leader represents a desirable goal.
In fact, it is quite common to define “charismatic” as a person who shows particular efficacy in leading people, groups, companies, or even nations.
Well, my friends, the word charisma turns out to be among those that are destined to be highly mentioned and little known: that’s why I decided to do a brief research on the term and tell you what I think about the charismatic leader.
In psychology charisma indicates the power to exercise a strong influence on others; it comes from the Greek word χάρισμα, in turn coming from the noun χάρις, cháris, which means grace: it assumes, in both cases, the significance of gift.
In English and other languages, the word charisma has been used to refer to supernatural grace granted by the Holy Spirit to an individual for the benefit of the whole community; it has been and still is assigned to people – for example political leaders and statesmen – who have marked history for their ability to gather around themselves a huge mass of people, so great as to change the course of events.
Sociologist Max Weber defined charismatic authority as founded on devotion to the exceptional holiness, heroism, or exemplary nature of a single person, and the norm models or orders revealed or given by that person.
He applies the term charisma to a certain quality of the personality of an individual, by which he stands above ordinary men and is treated as one gifted with supernatural, superhuman powers or qualities (…); these qualities are considered to be of divine origin, and on this basis the person in question is considered a leader.
In short, serious stuff; and I’m sure you’ve also understood why the desire to be or become a charismatic leader is so popular.
Charisma is particularly interesting for several reasons:
So you may be wondering:
Well, the reason is that (as Freud says in his The Psychology of Masses and the Analysis of the Self, and as even recent historical events have amply proven) the bond between the leader and most of the followers is driven by love; a love that makes the ego of the follower more and more humble and the leader more and more magnificent, precious: and the leader ends up taking ownership of the love that the follower has for himself.
This love can be enduring and resistant to time and, in some cases, can survive the leader himself; but there are cases, very frequent, in which at some point in history, for the most varied reasons
And often escalating into violence.
To end up like the man in the cartoon can’t be pleasant.
Now, tell me about yourself: would you like to be a charismatic leader?