Charisma, dem man glauben kann

CAMBRIDGE, MASS.: In zwei bedeutenden Autokratien steht 2012 ein Führungswechsel an. Überraschungen sind in beiden Fällen nicht zu erwarten. In China steht Xi Jinping bereit, um Hu Jintao als Präsident abzulösen, und in Russland hat Wladimir Putin angekündigt, dass er die Präsidentschaft von Dmitri Medwedew zurückfordern wird. In den demokratischen Ländern sind die Wahlergebnisse in diesem Jahr weniger vorhersehbar. In Frankreich steht Nicholas Sarkozy ein schwieriger Präsidentschaftswahlkampf bevor, und in den USA gilt dasselbe für Barack Obama.

Nach den US-Präsidentschaftswahlen von 2008 erklärte uns die Presse, Obama habe gewonnen, weil er „Charisma“ habe – eine besondere Fähigkeit, Faszination und Loyalität zu wecken. Wenn das stimmt, wie kann dann seine Wiederwahl nur vier Jahre später in Frage stehen? Können Führungspersönlichkeiten ihr Charisma verlieren? Hat Charisma seinen Ursprung in dem Betreffenden selbst, in seinen Anhängern oder in der jeweiligen Situation? Akademische Forschungen legen nahe, dass alle drei Punkte zutreffen.

Charisma erweist sich als überraschend schwer vorhersagbar. Eine aktuelle Umfrage kommt zu dem Schluss, dass „relativ unklar“ ist, wer charismatische Führer sind. Der amerikanische Politikberater Dick Morris hat erklärt, dass „Charisma“ nach seiner Erfahrung die am wenigsten greifbare politische Eigenschaft sei, weil es nur in unserer Wahrnehmung – nachdem ein Kandidat es durch harte Arbeit und gute Themen zu Erfolg gebracht – und nicht in Wirklichkeit existiert. In ähnlicher Weise hat die Wirtschaftspresse immer wieder CEOs als „charismatisch“ beschrieben, wenn es für sie gut lief, nur um ihnen dieses Etikett wieder zu nehmen, wenn die Gewinne schrumpften.

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