Charisma doesn’t guarantee charismatic authority


… But is a part of the process, part of a model of such influence.

There are many typologies of authority. In physics there is no much room to pick and choose, but in social and political science there kind of is some possibility to have your favorites. My favorite is little tweaked classical Max Weber’s typology of authority where you have legal/rational authority based on law and force (often on coercion), traditional authority and charismatic one.

Little tweak that I would propose is to separate legal from rational, because in modern society bureaucratic system isn’t really rational, or based on expertise. So after some reasoning (the details of which I would love to present in other form if some of you would be interested – comments, mails etc. with questions are more than welcome) the typology would look like this: Legal/bureaucratic authority, rational authority based on expertise and positive past record of leader and charismatic/non-rational one based on faith in leaders abilities to lead. As you can see types of authority may merge to create a real reflection of how a leader is perceived by followers.

To create an authority one have to use some method/toolkit. For legal authority it is legislation and force to execute it. For rational authority it would be great level of expertise, innovative idea and great record of decisions made before. And here is place for our “mystical” charisma – it is a tool (precisely one of tools) to create a charismatic/non-rational authority. Charisma is what make followers emotionally invested to the point after which they want to act in favor of the leader. By my take on this then, charisma itself is a way to ignite emotionally driven decision and nothing more (so it’s a method one use, not an attribute or trait one could possess). It could be making people believe in innate, supernatural abilities of leader or infecting them with passion or enthusiasm for the idea or decision.

You can (and you do it most of the time) use charisma (defined like this) to enhance your rational or legal authority and that does not make you automatically charismatic. Since we all need to “feel about” things combining such model of communicating is something crucial to any situation where you want to influence others. It would be ideal if great expertise could be attractive by itself to everyone, for now however, it is obvious that we need to “make” it sexy by mixing passion, enthusiasm and story into the message.

If you have some thoughts on this, please share. Idea above is work in progress so really any suggestions or feedback would be super-great.

By then, take good care and have the nicest day!

– Przemek Kucia

P.S. Beautiful video with pure charisma at work – enjoy.

2 thoughts on “Charisma doesn’t guarantee charismatic authority

  1. Chatty Owl says:

    That was interesting to read. To continue along the lines of that mystical charisma, i have to agree with you. It achieves other people to get personal satisfaction by pleasing the leader in a form of agreeing with the leader, who is left pleased and worshiped. Its emotional way to control/persuade/influence the others.

    I like how you think.

    • Przemek Kucia says:

      Thank you. It exactly does what you wrote – it’s a brain hack used by many in past, is used today, and until our motivation comes from emotions it will be used.

      I’m flattered – I do what I can to be truth with what we know, don’t know and could know if we would think about it and analyze.

      Thanks for the comments and support! 😀

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