There are those who you KNOW are charismatic. Bill Clinton, Oprah, JFK, Ronald Reagan. In business it gets a little more subjective. In life it gets very rare because it doesn’t always follow power.
Often position gives charisma. You run a Fortune 100, there is an implied charisma. Doug McMillan, the new President of Walmart might inherit charisma because of position. But those around him say, “he is the most charismatic person I have ever known.”
Recently I had a conversation with a nephew. It was him, my oldest sister, and my youngest daughter and me. Personal, close, family.
Afterward, as we drove away from the large office building we, my sister and I, talked about this nephew. He has been a senior executive with one of the largest insurance companies on the planet. Now he is the CEO of a large multi-level marketing company. He has his fingers in properties, partnerships, and hob-nobs with a lot of well to do people.
But our conversation was about family. From time to time, the focus (I confess I was curious and was the instigator) was on his business. His answers were polite, considerate, and warm. But the conversation soon moved back to family as he quizzed his uncle (me) and his aunt (my sis). He honestly wanted to know about our worlds and his cousins. Ours is a big family with lots of extended kin. When my mother passed I think her direct offspring (including spouses) numbered over 114.
Afterward we commented on how authentic, down to earth, and gracious he was. All he did was listen. He was . . . . wait for it . . . charismatic. He could have touted accomplishment, raise the flag and fanfare.
Charisma is something that is assigned by the other person, NOT by the one possessing it. It brings an after thought of feeling “cared about.” It allows a lingering of the mind and the heart on the interaction.
True charisma is found more often in listening than in oratory skills, or leading a battalion up a hill. It is found in true, authentic caring, and not in the flashbulb of celebrity.
Most of us will not “hang” with Oprah. We will not dine with Bill Clinton. Our lives will, however, have these shooting stars, these real people who have moments of connection, of significance. These charismatics are often brushed against in the daily grind of life. It is only after the fact that we think back on the influence.
These supreme conversationalists were so designated in the past with a touch of deity, as having a divine gift, because of this special spark. When you have this “gift” (we now know that the is the result of certain behaviors) it allows you a special warmth of knowing you can create such strong bonds so effortlessly. They listen. They connect. They empathize. But mostly they facilitate because of their ability to take empathy and give gifts of compassion, service, and insights. And isn’t a truly authentic and listening ear a gift of caring, of love and compassion?