Over the years, whenever and wherever I’ve asked a group of students, executives, or academics to list the five most important attributes of leadership, charisma always makes the list.
The 19th-century sociologist Max Weber greatly emphasized the importance of charisma. For him, charisma was a deeply rooted personality trait that enabled individuals to attract others by the sheer power of their dramatic presence. When you are in a crowd listening to a charismatic leader, what do you tell yourself? In your semi-deification of the charismatic leader, you may engage in self-exclusion. The message you tell yourself is, “It ain’t me,” and by the cultural glorification of charisma, society tells most people, “It ain’t you.”