Definition: having a special magnetic charm or appeal; having the ability to arouse loyalty or enthusiasm through charm or influence
Causes: a knack for reading others and knowing what they want to hear, a need to manipulate others in order to get what you want, an honest desire to connect with people, a desire to motivate and help others, ambition
Characters in Literature and History: Aragorn (Lord of the Rings), John F. Kennedy, Adolf Hitler
Positives: Charismatics are great at reading people and situations. They're often able to discern motives and true intent. Building relationships and developing trust comes easily to them. Their ability to charm and influence others makes them natural leaders.
Negatives: Charisma segues effortlessly into manipulation. Charismatic leaders with great ambition often use their charm to win people over solely in an effort to achieve their goals. People become tools that are acquired, used, and cast aside. On the flip side, those with charisma are often the target of manipulation. Those with their own agendas may seek to befriend a charismatic leader in an effort to further their on purposes. Charismatics may grow weary of always being wooed only because of what they have to offer.
Common Portrayals: politicians, prom queens, quarterbacks, visionaries, con-men, villains
Cliches to Avoid: grasping politicians with an agenda, the reluctant leader
Twists on the Traditional Charismatic:
- Charismatics are usually portrayed as 1) egomaniacs seeking to further their selfish goals, or 2) bleeding-heart philanthropists who live to make things better for the less fortunate. How about something in between, like a girl using her influence to raise awareness about the disease that is killing her boyfriend.
- Instead of someone who is reluctant or narcissistic, try an eager leader who is completely ignorant of the flaws that work against his charisma (fear of public speaking, bad breath, no fashion sense, spits when he talks).
Conflicting Characteristics to make your Charismatic unique or more interesting: average, clumsy, cowardly, grouchy, guilt-ridden, immature, sloppy