Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/471460-Tact-and-Charisma
by Joy
Rated: E · Essay · Opinion · #471460
Tact, charisma, and a winning profile
Have you ever entered a social gathering, felt immediately drawn to a person, and seen that others also huddle around him? On the other hand, have you noticed yourself feel more at ease when a certain person is present in a crowd? Chances are, the person in the first situation had charisma, and the person in the second situation had tact.

The most successful people in starring roles in society have tact or charisma or both. People with charisma immediately secure others' loyalty at first sight with or without having many desirable assets. People with tact instinctively grasp the situation and put everyone at ease by being able to say the right thing at the right time.

Although a tactful act is instantaneous, tact involves a holding-back of judgment and measured action. Charisma, on the other hand, glows with abundant action. Followers of charismatic people trust them full-heartedly, with affection, obedience, and emotional involvement. A charismatic person connects to people right away practically on most levels: physically, emotionally, and intellectually. Yet, tact calms the action down and soothes agitated nerves. A tactful person is one who would most likely put people at ease and stabilize any shaky situation. People are appreciative of tact but are mesmerized by charisma just as the children of Hamelin were drawn to Pied Piper.

Charisma has been a characteristic of some leaders who had crowds, mobs, or groups following them and obeying them almost instantly. People usually feel strongly attracted to a charismatic person.

The idea of charisma, as a God-given gift or talent, first found its place in theology. Charismata (Greek for "spiritual gifts") was spoken of by Christians during the early apostolic age, and it was considered as a sign of grace. Later the word charisma was used in describing some political leaders and popular people in the public eye. Marilyn Monroe, Martin Luther King, F. D. Roosevelt, Leon Trotsky, Adolf Hitler, President Kennedy, President Reagan, and President Clinton had charisma. As the examples of these people show, charisma has little to do with morals or being good or evil. Charisma compared to tact is an asset of the fa├žade of personality.

Charisma is more of an external feature; tact is more of an internal affair. Tact may develop as the interpretive sensitivity to the other person or situation. How can one act with tact if he interprets the other person in the wrong way? As people gain experience and become more reflective, they become more tactful.

Although some intuition is involved inside it, tact may be teachable, but not charisma. The spring from where charisma flows is not clearly identified. Charisma is like a magnet that stirs up emotions, affectionate feelings, and blind trust. The followers of a charismatic person become missionaries in his cause and trust his every word as the members of Al Queda did, following Osama Bin Laden with religious fervor.

On the other hand, Benjamin Franklin was a person of tact. Through his tactful approach, he was able to obtain liberal grants and loans from Louis XVI of France despite the objections of the France's Finance minister. After the revolutionary war, when United States Delegates (Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and John Jay) met with the British John Hartley to sign a treaty recognizing the colonies in the new world as an independent country, Franklin pointed out that the British Empire had made war on the United States unjustly, causing the colonies great injuries. "Nevertheless," he said, "Now, not only peace will be achieved, but also reconciliation." He added, "Reconciliation is a sweet word." Franklin knew what to say, when to say it, and the way to say it. In a high pressure situation, tact answers the intent.

Our Founding Fathers acted with tact. Some of them also had charisma. Combining the two made them invincible. Theirs is a tough act to follow.

Since confidence inside a situation is a quality of both tact and charisma, their combined use is a strength in personal style. A personal style with both charisma and tact has its own components. One of them is a person's silent message, the way he carries himself in every way, even before he opens his mouth. Another is the ability to speak well, articulating every thought and idea. If a person can't put forth his ideas properly, who would appreciate them? Another is the listening skills, a key to effective communication. Then come the persuasion skills, motivating others to follow one's lead, ability to adapt to others by understanding their situation and treating them in the way most pleasant to them. Using one's time well and respecting others' time and personal space are also very important. Moreover, knowledge of one's own self, knowing what one really cares about, what he's passionate about, and knowing one's own vision are all factors inside a person who combines charisma and tact.

Tact and charisma together spring from highly evolved minds and attractive personalities. A combination of tact and charisma produces winners who act with spirit and heart. When those winners connect to others in commitment of optimistic acts, they elevate everyone's quality of life. My hope is, one day, people like that will unite the world into one loving family, and I believe we are all after that utopia.
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