ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

What is Charisma?

Updated on November 30, 2016

Charisma is the quality of personality that sets an individual apart from ordinary men so that he is recognized as having otherworldly or at least uniquely exceptional powers and qualities. Charismatic qualities may be found in the leaders of such varied groups as priests, politicians, revolutionists, artists, and socialites.

A leader is said to have charisma not only because he has a calling to fulfill a mission, but also because there is spontaneous recognition on the part of his followers of his uncommon and unusual characteristics, abilities, and personality. This recognition, which is based on irrational feelings and emotions, seems to flow from a quality resembling divine grace in the leader.

The term "charisma" has a wide range of applications, but it is never used to refer to a leader's cause or the end for which he strives. It has reference only to leadership qualities. For example, despite the dissimilarity in their political aims, Adolf Hitler and Franklin D. Roosevelt can both be classified as leaders who had a strong charisma.

In sociological analysis, the term has been used to characterize a certain type of authority. Max Weber, a German sociologist, suggested that there are three kinds of authorities. Two of these, the traditional and the rational, or legal, types, are more or less stable. The third, the charismatic authority, is transitory, unstable, and often a response to a revolutionary social situation. An example of this type of charismatic authority is Napoleon I of France.

Social crises arising out of rapidly changing beliefs, values, and modes of behavior or out of economic and political instability are particularly apt to produce charismatic leaders. Such leadership, therefore, often carries with it the idea of mass excitement and collective fervor. It always challenges ordinary, established practices and generally results in radical societal changes.

The character of the charismatic authority tends to be undemocratic because the leader demands rather than seeks recognition. The leader does not necessarily represent his followers' opinions or even their interests, although there is usually an elating unity between leader and followers. This relationship is precarious and the charismatic leader is likely to lose his authority if his mission fails.

Since charismatic authority is transitory and personal, problems of political continuity necessarily accompany such a phenomenon. It is difficult, for example, to find and justify a successor to such a leader and to maintain his charismatic fervor while ordinary, routine, and stable relations are being reestablished.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Run Down Battery profile image

      Run Down Battery 

      8 years ago from UK

      I like this perspective


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)