John C. Maxwell: 4 Qualities of Charismatic People

UPDATED: September 1, 2021
PUBLISHED: September 1, 2015

At first glance, charisma appears to be an invisible energy or magnetism. There’s no denying its presence, but it’s hard to put a finger on its source. Some mistakenly believe charisma is a birth trait—embedded in certain personalities but completely absent in others.

Charisma is both explainable and learnable, defined as “the ability to inspire enthusiasm, interest, or affection in others by means of personal charm or influence.”

Related: 6 Ways to Unlock Your Charisma 

People who have this special ability share four things in common:

1. They love life.

They are passionate about life. They are celebrators, not complainers. They’re characterized by joy and warmth. They’re energetic and radiant in an infectious way.

Look no further than the smile to illustrate the power of charisma. When people see a smile, they respond with a smile. We are hardwired to take on the energy of those around us. People who love life have charisma because they fill the room with positive energy.

2. They expect the best.

They expect the best from people—in other words, they “put a 10 on everyone’s head.” They see people, not as they are, but as they could be.

When you invest in people and lift them toward their potential, they will love you for it.

3. They give hope.

They connect with people by painting tomorrow brighter than today. To them, the future is full of amazing opportunities and unrealized dreams.

They infuse optimism into the culture around them, and they boost morale. While attentive to the current reality, they do not resign themselves to present circumstance.

4. They share themselves.

They add value to people by sharing wisdom, resources and special occasions. They embrace the power of inclusion. They value togetherness. They are not lonely.

When it comes to charisma, the bottom line is other-mindedness.

Related: 12 Characteristics of People Who Are the Best at What They Do

John C. Maxwell, an internationally respected leadership expert, speaker, and author who has sold more than 18 million books, has been named an inaugural SUCCESS Ambassador. Dr. Maxwell is the founder of EQUIP, a non-profit organization that has trained more than 5 million leaders in 126 countries worldwide. A New York Times, Wall Street Journal and BusinessWeek; best-selling author, Maxwell has written three books that have sold more than a million copies.