Monday, May 9, 2011

Charisma, Power & Control

Dear Mr. Brown/Core Edge:

I have read your previous blogs and viewed your You Tube videos on charisma where you focus a great deal of attention on charismatic individuals needing power and control. I’m not sure I totally agree with your philosophy about charismatic people needing the level of power and control you suggest. I would go as far as to say that people like Hitler, Gadhafi and maybe even Fidel Castro may fit this mode, but I personally know charismatic people who appear not to be driven by power. Do you think you have overly generalized in your analysis?

Saul Goldberg
Buffalo, NY


Dear Mr. Goldberg:

Thank you for your insightful observations. When discussing the needs and behavior of charismatic individuals, I tend to look at historical and present day figures qualitatively to assess their paradigms and psychodynamics for pattern formulation. Obviously, charismatic individuals are different in personality as well as overall demeanor, but they do share common traits unique within themselves. For example, basketball great, Michael Jordan had the same cut-throat and relentless desire for power within basketball as Adolph Hitler had for conquering Europe and the world. The colorful stuntman Evel Knievel had the same intensity and drive as the founding father and first Secretary of the Treasury for the United States, Alexander Hamilton. To pierce the veil of what these charismatic individuals were driven by surpasses the conventional thinking of the average citizen. It is easy to confuse charismatic behavioral traits with the genuine charismatic personality. Basketball player Kobe Bryant mimics the skills of Michael Jordan to portray a relentless, charismatic player on the basketball court. However, Kobe Bryant would not be described as charismatic. Individuals may mimic the behavior of charismatic personalities, but not genuinely be charismatic. The manifestation of charismatic traits is different than the inner workings of the charismatic mind. Kobe Bryant is relentless, but does not come from the same core as Michael Jordan. The same would be true of R&B singer Usher versus Michael Jackson or even boxing great Sugar Ray Leonard versus Muhammad Ali. The core of Jordan, Jackson and Ali was to self-actualize or become all they could be within their industries. Whether the dominating effect these individuals had on their industries was motivated by a quest for power or power is a result of a dominating effect, their desire to excel at the highest heights brought about influence they used for business and political interests. To this extent, they were conquerors not unlike Alexander the Great or Genghis Khan.

Arguably, what people view as charisma within others is advanced interpersonal relationship skills. Michael Jordan, Evel Knievel, Michael Jackson and Muhammad Ali used personal power that transformed the industry where they reigned. Their level of power controlled the standard of which individuals afterwards would be judged. Power and control were not only internal motivators, but a means of reshaping worldviews. These charismatic individuals taught the world how to imagine and as a result, how to bring imagination into reality.

There is a huge difference between an individual who draws you in with passion, great stories and advanced oratorical skills versus one who transforms the world.

Edward Brown
Core Edge Image & Charisma Institute

For more information, visit:  http://charismaticleadership.coreedgecharisma.com/

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