What is special about leaders?

I was thinking last night about leadership and what makes a good leader and it occurred to me that even above intelligence and strength, there is one common trait all famous leaders possess.  The leaders I thought of when I thought of this special trait were John F. Kennedy, Gandhi, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Jr, and surprisingly enough, but not so surprising when you think about it, famous notorious leaders such as Adolph Hitler, David Koresh and Jim Jones. Why did these evil leaders come to mind? Because the trait I realized they had in common with great leaders of the past is charisma.

In my opinion, charisma is something you either have or you don’t. It can’t be taught, bought or borrowed. It is an elusive trait, and it is hard to put your finger on just what makes a person charismatic or what charisma really is. Haven’t we all known someone personally, that when they walked in a room, every head turned, the atmosphere became charged with energy, even the lighting in the room felt as if it had changed?

And what about famous motivational speakers like Dale Carnegie, Tony Robbins and Wayne Dyer? When these men take the floor, people listen. A person with charisma, as history proves by the number of souls who swallowed the doctrine of Jim Jones, even dying at his command, instills instant trust and confidence in those they comes in contact with. Why is that?

Why did we love JFK and Martin Luther King, Jr. so much, aside from the fact that they had great visions? I believe there is more to it than that. And what about Bill Clinton? Many people, including me, found president Clinton highly charismatic, and continued to do so even after his White House sex scandal. Why?