The cost of charisma

Bust_of_Mahatma_Gandhi,_Saughton_Park,_Edinburgh_(1997)

According to author Olivia Fox Cabane, “All forms of charisma come at a cost; what the cost is depends on the charisma style you choose.”

Charisma–that characteristic charm that allows the speaker to inspire others into action–comes from the Greek word meaning divine gift. There are very few humans who do not wish to be able to speak and have their words influence the actions of others. But, there are few who actually have the gift to do so. And, this is a good thing  because the influence of charisma has a price.

When we see a person as inspirational, we feel their status is higher than ours. This results in a suppression of our own emotion. Even when we adopt the emotion of the charismatic leader, we do so in a manner that blunts exhibiting our own feelings. 

Everyone needs to be able to suppress the show of feelings some of the time.  After all, tantrums are a sign of preschool level of maturity. We often rein in the exhibition of fear or anger that might ruin a relationship. But, when emotions are suppressed long-term as in the relationship of the follower to the charismatic leader, there are negative effects. People who suppress emotions repeatedly do not feel rapport with others and are less willing to form friendships. So, associating with a charismatic leader over a period of time causes most people to become emotionally reserved, essentially isolating the person who inspired them in the first place. The charismatic person may persuade others to champion his ideals, but this influence also precludes them from being his friend.

Interestingly people around others who suppress their emotions, show a rise in blood pressure, indicating an increase in stress. People with high authority are able to create a presence. They exude a sense of being larger than life, as if they take up more space than those of us who gather at their feet. And, in creating this sense of space they distance themselves from the emotional support that they actually need to receive from others.

So do you still want to have the gift of charisma?

http://socrates.berkeley.edu/~keltner/publications/(2012)%20PSPB%20Impett%20et%20al.pdf
http://www.forbes.com/sites/danschawbel/2012/04/13/how-to-master-the-art-and-science-of-charisma
http://www.nuigalway.ie/cisc/documents/cisc_seminar_mkilduff_awestruck.pdf
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1 Response to The cost of charisma

  1. knlistman says:

    Reblogged this on Write about what? and commented:

    How badly do you want to have charisma?

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