Friday, April 23, 2010

Are Charismatic Personalities Always On?

The myriad of opinions surrounding charisma can be astounding. From persuading intractable people to captivating imaginations that had grown lackluster; the charismatic person is seen as an iconic “Mover and Shaker.” But, is he always on? Is his presence always stirring? Actress Joanne Woodward, who was married to actor Paul Newman for 50 years until his death reportedly, said that she did not see what everyone else saw in Paul Newman. She said he was the epitome of normality as he went about his quotidian chores. However, when he was honored for an award or went before crowds, he looked transformed. As much as charismatic personalities seem to be perceptually “on,” they are very often not the beacon of glamor during down times. In fact some pundits have gone as far to attest to different forms of charisma from personal charisma to office charisma. It is true that the degree to which a person reflects charisma hinges on the situation. A person operating a Fortune 500 company may be viewed as charismatic in a corporate setting, but largely lack connectivity in personal relationships. This does not suggest a different type of charisma based on the setting or relationship, but the different objectives of the situation. If charismatic personalities will to power and influence, situations that are not in tune with their vision may not warrant interest or energy in one context compared to another. He may not desire to “waste” his energy and enthusiasm on people and things that do not serve an ultimate purpose.

As such, charismatics are not always on, because they choose not to be perpetually engaging. If the charismatic is passionate, energized and inspired, the source is not the people. People tend to drain the conduits of charisma. The source stems from the ideas surrounding a compelling mission. When Paul Newman rose to the occasion of his charisma, he was meeting the enthusiasm and passion surrounding his body of work within film. The light within a charismatic’s inner sanctum is always on, but the curtain has to be occasionally drawn to keep people from draining the power source.

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