Charisma and the Candidate

As a campaigner, [**Mitt Romney** is awkward](http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/after-debate-romney-searches-new-...). It's surprising that he's as awkward as he is, because he made his career in business, where charisma is valued as an X factor that makes CEOs great. A quick search on Forbes reveals a wealth of tips to cultivate charisma, and it seems like someone as ambitious as Romney must have spent hours reading these sort of how-tos. [This definition](http://www.forbes.com/2010/01/25/charisma-speaking-communication-leaders...) from Richard Wiseman, a psychology professor is helpful in understanding what Romney lacks:

> "[Wiseman] says every charismatic leader shares three qualities: He or she feels emotions very strongly, excites them in others and is impervious to the influence of other charismatic people."

Romney might be impervious to the charms of someone like **Barack Obama**; he might excite strong feelings (must they be positive feelings?) in others. But robotic Romney certainly doesn't come off as if he "feels emotions very strongly."

Romney's lack of charisma on the trail could very well cost him whatever chance he has at winning the Republican nomination and the presidency. Charming candidates win elections: **George W. Bush**, whatever his other flaws, could be very charming; **John Kerry**, not so much. **Hillary Clinton** might have beat **Barack Obama** in the 2008 primary, if only her smile was as endearing as his.

But does his lack of charisma mean Romney would make a bad president? The job, after all, is somewhat akin to that of a CEO: the president must run a large organization, make big decisions with confidence, and convince stakeholders that those are good decisions. Despite the business world's interest in charismatic leaders, they don't make better CEOs: [this study](http://www.usnews.com/usnews/biztech/articles/060508/8ceo_charisma.htm), for instance, found that companies with charismatic leaders didn't do better over the long run. So even if Romney's weird butt-pinching jokes fall flat, anyone who agrees with his policies might want to look past that and vote for him anyway.

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