Although some people may be unable to define charisma, most can name a few charismatic people they have known.
A charismatic leader which graced history was Winston Churchill. He came to power in the middle of World War II, and upheld the morale of the British people during a very difficult time of the war.
His charismatic leadership is often characterized as being a main force behind the Allied victory of the war. His forceful personality and commitment to his people helped strengthen European to continue fighting.
When psychologists list charismatic people and leaders, Bill Clinton frequently makes the top. He makes eye contact, converses with everyone, asks others for opinions, and then remembers names of random people he meets in addition to details about those people and the conversations he had with them. This served him well in politics and helped him get elected during his Presidential campaigns. His charismatic leadership ensured he left office with the highest approval rating since World War II, despite being involved in scandal while serving in office.
In show business, Oprah Winfrey tops the list of charismatic people. As a talk show host, Oprah demonstrated her ability to draw out emotional responses from her audience and responded well in difficult or sensitive situations. She makes people feel important, special, and worth listening to. As she mingles with celebrities, she knows how to work the crowd while standing out from them- think of her in that stunning red dress at the black-and-white party she hosted. Only Oprah could have pulled that off without offending the many celebrities and powerful people who attended.
Martin Luther King’s achievements make him one of the most charismatic people in history. When people think of the benefits of charisma and what charismatic leadership can achieve, they think of him. His ability to articulate emotions and convey that message to millions helped inspire a Civil Rights movement that changed history. The fact that he was assassinated while fighting for his cause also highlights an important aspect about charisma– natural ability is important, but people tend to follow charismatic people who also demonstrate self-sacrifice and commitment to others.
Although some elements of charisma can be learned, the charismatic people listed above are all considered to be naturally charismatic leaders.