Are charismatic leaders born

Are Charismatic Leaders Born or Made?

This is the number one question that everyone wants to know the answer to…… Are Charismatic Leaders Born or Made?

Well to put everyone out of their misery …. There is no wrong answer Charismatic leaders are both born and made.

Confused??? Don’t be!

While there are a great many people who have genuine natural ‘charisma’, it is also a skill, therefore, just like leadership itself, charisma, although many believe it to appear to have an enigma status, it can be honed and developed and together with the right tools anyone can be trained in the art of charisma.

According to Psychology Today recent research suggests about one third of leaders have natural charismatic ability i.e. their personality and temperament, while two thirds of leadership consist of qualities that are taught and developed over time through education, parenting and experience.

So to answer the million dollar question …… Are Charismatic Leaders Born or Made? The answer is yes to both, charismatic leaders are both born and made.

Understanding Charisma: Nature vs. Nurture

What is Charisma?

Well, according to the Oxford Dictionary the exact meaning of the word ‘charisma’ is ‘compelling attractiveness or charm that can inspire devotion in others’

Whereby the Cambridge Dictionary describes Charisma as ‘a special power that some people have naturally that makes them able to influence other people and attract there attention and admiration’.

These both conjure up the image of some godly cartoon character who has super natural attractiveness and charm not sanctioned for mere mortals.

If you ask anyone, while they may not be able to pin point exactly what ‘charisma’ actually is, they will all be able to tell those who have it from those who don’t.

Most think it’s some mythical unicorn of traits whereby only the chosen few possess it and it appears to be this unattainable feature that only the chosen few possess.

There is also a strong belief that charisma is a je ne sais quoi quality that you either have or you don’t. 

When the reality is, and this is very important, that anyone can be trained to be charismatic.

Although there are natural charismatic leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr, Gandhi and Nelson Mandela who appear to have that something extra which is a magical gift and unachievable to others and yes while they do have ‘natural charisma’, ultimately anyone can become more charismatic with a little know how, dedication, a lot of commitment and focus to genuinely want to learn and change the pattern of their life journey.

Through research we already know that the main components of charisma are paralleled to style and personality, these are inbred in us and make up the ‘born’ element of charisma. The ‘made’ side consists of a range of skills that we are taught and which can be developed further over time.

Whereby everyone has a different level of natural charisma, we all have it to some degree and depending on your own personal charisma level, this is the base to which we use as a starting point.

Don’t be fooled, you will not suddenly become a charismatic leader overnight.  The qualities associated with charisma takes commitment, effort and energy as well as a conscious change of mind-set.

So to debunk all those myths of flying unicorns and god like creatures, Charisma is not some magical, unachievable mysterious unattainable range of skills.  It is acutely associated with the ability to communicate emotionally by showing emotional intelligence as well as relationship skills and permitting authentic connections with others.  Public speaking showing optimism and positivity while being emotionally expressive all contribute to the jigsaw of charisma.

Charisma is actually made up of a range of soft skills, it a collective group which when put together and used conjunctively projects charisma.

Developing and enhancing your natural Charisma can be a positive step to improving both your professional and personal life.

According to Forbes magazine ‘You can never be too rich, too thin … or too charismatic’ and not only will it make you the life and soul of any party but in research it has been found to help you get that new job, promotion and bag yourself a higher salary.

Rakesh Khurana, a professor of leadership development at Harvard, said that charisma is the main quality that companies most often look for in a C.E.O.

So what we should be asking is not can I have it or do I have it but how can I access this charismatic energy to bring more out of me so that I can become a good leader, get that promotion, enhance my social life etc.

Our behaviours make us charismatic. Some people have natural behaviours and in others they need to be, not only taught, but also to be aware of and recognise these behaviours.

All of these can be developed through specific soft skill charisma coaching.

What are charismatic leader traits?

Are charismatic leaders born

To become a charismatic leader there are certain skill sets which are essential, all of these skills are intertwined and together are the traits of a charismatic leader.

They include:

Effective Communication

    To have the ability to communicate verbally and non-verbally is an essential skill. By having strong effective communication skills you will be able to translate your thoughts and ideals clearly and concisely with others.  It is no secret that leaders are excellent communicators as they have the ability to explain projects, ideas, goals etc. in a way that is clearly understood by colleagues.

    Showing Empathy

    Empathy is being perceptive to acknowledge the emotions of others.  As an empathetic person others will feel comfortable approaching you to open up enough to disclose their emotions and feelings. Showing empathy helps build better relationships with appreciation for mutual emotions.

    Conflict Resolution

    Within every environment, whether in the work place or social environment disagreements and discord can appear within any situation. Conflict resolution is about having the ability to assess the root of the matter at an early stage to ensure a suitable agreeable solution for both parties.

    Relationship Management

    Building rapport and connections are all key components to ensuring active relationships. This skill is not just important in a business or work environment but is essential to grow a social network. With good relationship management skills professional relationships with executives, managers, stakeholders etc. can grow whereby everyone benefits from the relationship.


    Within a work environment, knowing when to begin communication and respond is an important element of respect. Permitting others to speak first and not automatically jump in or cut them off when they are in full flow is an essential communication skill that shows respect for fellow colleagues. Showing an interest and responding concisely while staying on topic are other examples of respect through communication.

    Active Listening

    Active listening is having the ability to hone in on another person’s conversation giving them your full attention while they talk.  This skill is quietly respected by other colleagues as it offers respect and focuses on the individual without anything else going on in the background.  It also gives you the opportunity to prepare a valid response once the speaker has finished.

    Art of Negotiation

    The art of negotiation is a roundup of all the charisma skills, it requires elite communication, respect, conflict, empathy, actively listening and managing the relationship.  The main rule is to understand the negotiation process inside out.  The principle of negotiation is not a battle to be won at all costs but a mutual decision making process where all parties come to the table, initially with different goals.  A good negotiator will ensure that all parties leave feeling they have both won.

    Emotional Intelligence

    Emotional intelligence is quite personal, it is having the ability to look at yourself inside out being able to manage and adjust your emotions offering more empathetic relationships. By managing your own emotions it will enable you to have a healthier and more productive working environment while being able to recognise the same emotions in others.

    You may argue that not all leaders have charisma, and while this may be true to some extent, all GREAT leaders, are those who have made an impact on society or in history, they all have one common denominator which is that they ooze charisma in one way or another.

    Charismatic leaders are all exceptional communicators.  They use active listening, respect, empathy and confidence to communicate.  By doing this they have the ability to engage and inspire others. By showing empathy they are able to connect and build a relationships, they use storytelling and metaphors when making a point or explaining something.  They make you feel as if they have known you all their lives.

    Charismatic leaders have the likability factor.  They are the pied piper captivating everyone’s attention. They have the ability to bring the best out in you, they are confident and empathetic. Through their word choices they are able to generate enthusiasm and create a wave of change.

    Charismatic leaders are not afraid of change, they boost morale and squash any self-doubt others may have, showing how any problems or road blocks can be overcome.  They act as motivators and show a desire to rise to the top. They go through life with a positive attitude striving for results and reaching goals.

    It is for these reasons that charismatic leaders appear to have unique strengths which overall contribute to the success of companies.

    Charismatic Leaders in History: Case Studies

    Are charismatic leaders born

    There are a whole array of charismatic leaders throughout history and we all have our favourites for different reasons, some might inspire us or others we respect, here are a few that stick out:

    Martin Luther King

      As one of the most inspiring and influential icons in American history Martin Luther King his epic speech ‘I have a dream….’ Sums up his notoriety as a charismatic leader.

      Mahatma Ghandi

      Known as India’s ‘Father of the Nation’, Mahatma Ghandi’s philosophy of non-violence inspires civil rights leaders around the world and earned him a place as one of the worlds’ greatest charismatic leaders.

      Nelson Mandela

      As South Africa’s first black president leading the transition from apartheid to a multiracial democracy through his likeability and forgiving nature along with his powerful presence secured Nelson Mandela’s position as a great charismatic leader.

      Barack Obama

      As the first black president of the United States, rescuing the country from the great recession and ending the Iraq war, it was Barack Obama’s world class communication skills and respect for his followers during live events and debates etc that endeared the nation earning him the title of a great charismatic leader.

      Donald Trump

      Just as a jar of marmite, you either like him or you don’t.  Whatever your preference there is no argument that Donald Trump oozes charisma and charms his followers like an Indian snake charmer who all believe he has exceptional qualities. His infallibility, self-confidence, public speaking and communication make him a great charismatic leader.

      Satya Nadella

      Steering the helm of the world’s most influential computing company believing that cloud computing was the future Satya Nadella’s leadership style has been grafted from playing cricket as a young boy. His belief in positivity, empathy and a growth mind-set inspiring others and motivating them highlights him as a great charismatic leader.

      Steve Jobs

      The late Steve Jobs was a transformational leader, he was inspirational and had vision.  He motivated employees bringing out the best work ethics in them. As an exceptional effective and persuasive speaker using various strategies he was always constant in the message he wanted to get across all these qualities and his authenticity makes him one of our greatest charismatic leaders.

      John F Kennedy

      It was John F Kennedy’s charm and disarming smile that everyone remembers.  However, John F Kennedy was also a visionary he strived to make the nation a better place, he was a great listener, an excellent communicator and above all highly intelligent. His famous quote ‘Those who dare to fail miserably can achieve greatly’ refers to mistakes he made, humanising and endearing him to the nation as a charismatic leader.

      Tips to improve your charismatic leadership

      Are charismatic leaders born

      Develop confidence

      Confidence is the holy grail of leadership it is the one core skill that is essential in leadership. Without it there is no leadership.  It instils confidence in others and motivates them to follow your lead.

      Use storytelling to communicate

      Story telling is a relatable and emotional way of communication, it helps build connections, trust and motivates a team.

      Build relationships with colleagues

      As an essential component for leadership building better relationships with colleagues, this way you will get a better understanding of each other’s strengths and weaknesses, it builds trust, confidence and helps motivation while offering a more harmonious working environment

      Improve body language

      Body language is another vehicle of communication. It helps develops a confidence and magnetic presence, and encourages your team. Non-verbal communication is powerful.

      Increase Your Emotional intelligence

      Emotional intelligence helps with conflict and managing difficult conversations.  By regulating your emotions you are able to express yourself more effectively to others.

      Staying Positive

      Positivity in stills confidence and builds deeper relationships.  It motivates teams and makes them feel anything is possible.  It also helps with stressful situations and maintains a visionary focus.

      Can Anyone Become Charismatic?

      Are charismatic leaders born

      This is a no brainer … of course anyone can become more charismatic.

      What is good to know is that we all have natural charisma to some degree, some more than others, so no one starts from zero.

      It’s just a case of delving in there and bringing out what is hidden to the surface and believing in yourself.

      As a personality trait your levels of charisma can be improved with the right coaching and know how. 

      In a nutshell a charismatic personality is someone who displays outstanding social and leadership traits.  We all have the ability to show this.

      Without a doubt these qualities can be learned.  By taking the skills you have naturally, expanding and enhancing your soft skill set enables us to bring out your natural authentic charismatic charm.

      Here are some skills that grouped together create that elite charisma charm.

      • Self –awareness
      • Showing empathy
      • Confidence
      • Body language
      • Storytelling
      • Authenticity
      • Assertiveness
      • Active listening
      • Humility
      • Positivity

      All of these skills can be taught and learnt.  You may not think that you possess such skills but you do.  With the right coaching they can be developed and organically you will become more charismatic.

      Training and Development – What can you do to increase your charismatic leadership?

      You might ask… What is charisma coaching?

      If you go onto the internet to find out what is charisma coaching, well you will find out lots of examples of what is charisma or the skill set that make up charisma or all of the famous charismatic people throughout history but you will find it difficult to pin point exactly what is charisma coaching, and what it entails.

      Well here’s something to think about to put it into perspective……

      If you wanted to become a teacher, you would go for teacher training.

      If you wanted to become an athlete you would take up athletic coaching.

      If you wanted to become a plumber, a chef, an electrician or learn any new skill you would go to an expert in that field and learn from them.

      Charisma coaching is no different. 

      As a recognised expert in their field of charisma coaching, your soft skill set can be improved to exceptional levels through Art of Charisma.

      Charisma coaching specialises on focusing on the natural charisma you already have and showing you how to enhance these skills. 

      Charisma coaching can help not only with your social interactions in your personal life but also within your professional career. 

      Charisma coaching will give you more confidence, allow you to be more influential, help to show empathy and emotional intelligence, to be positive and to have that magnetism that everyone wants to be around you.

      Charisma coaching will give you the confidence to go for that promotion, to speak up and ensure respect.  It will help you bag that new job or speak to that person you really liked but did not have the courage to approach.  Before you know it, you will be you dancing on the tables giving it the full personality. Book your free discovery call for charisma coaching today: