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8 Types of Charisma

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Charisma is a charming or fearsome personal presence that inspires devotion in others. The following are common types of charisma.

Personal Magnetism

Personal magnetism is a mild form of charisma that can be described as attractiveness or interestingness. For example, an individual with an interesting life story that people find attractive. This represents a social advantage that allows the magnetic individual to influence others.

Personal Presence

Personal presence describes an individual who is immediately noticeable and powerful even if you know nothing about them. For example, an individual who instantly gains respect when they walk in a room based on subtle social cues they send such as calm confidence and friendliness.

Costly Signaling

Costly signaling is social risk taking that influences others. For example, individuals with a cruel wit risk offending everyone around them such that they can expect people to counterattack. The ability to adopt such a high risk social strategy and survive sends strong signals that an individual is socially adept.


Countersignaling is a form of costly signaling whereby an individual downplays themselves in a show of confidence. This indicates social strength that others may find charismatic. For example, self-deprecating humor is a form of countersignaling that involves humor about one's own weaknesses. This is a type of risk taking that displays your social prowess. Strong individuals who don't take themselves too seriously or who downplay themselves may be highly likable.

Kind Charisma

It is common for charisma to be portrayed as a form of kindness, empathy and friendliness. It is often the case that charismatic individuals have an abundance mentality whereby they support the success of everyone around them. Such individuals view most situations as win-win and defeat negative politics and competition by producing value and building positive relationships.

Fearsome Charisma

Charisma can be based on an ability to be tough but likable. This is a fearsome type of charisma whereby an individual is able to constantly battle with others while retaining a charm that even bitter adversaries may find appealing. When people find toughness likeable, they may quickly join this side.

Charismatic Authority

Charismatic authority is power that extends from the charisma of an individual. For example, a charismatic new hire with a lowly job title may exercise more influence in a team than a manager with much formal authority but a less compelling personal presence.

Cult of Personality

A cult of personality is the glorification of an individual to the point that they are worshiped, idolized and viewed as having magical abilities. This is based on charisma but requires significant propaganda to achieve. A cult of personality is viewed as a dangerous situation whereby groups may strongly follow flawed strategies that are based on the magical thinking of an interesting leader.
Overview: Charisma
A charming personal presence that inspires devotion in others.
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