by Nikki Owen

Needs that power charisma

According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs (see Motivation), every individual is driven by a need for survival and security. As these needs are satisfied the individual then looks to fulfil other needs such as feeling loved and making progress. Once we satisfy a particular need we become motivated to fulfil the next need. Dr Clare W Graves, a student of Maslow, provided a fascinating perspective to this model that was developed and is widely used by international speaker, Tony Robbins.

Using the model, we recognise that charismatic people possess a huge craving to satisfy the following needs:


People need to feel comfortable and secure. This need is inherent within us all, yet in charismatic people this particular need is less important than the need for spontaneity, adventure, variety and surprise. That’s why charismatic people often court danger and take risks that many people find overwhelming. When an individual’s life includes the qualities of sameness, routine and certainty with the contrary qualities of variety, surprise and uncertainty, the effect is explosive.


Every individual has a need to feel special and significant. In charismatic people, this need is magnified, which is one of the underlying reasons why they stand out from the crowd. This deep-seated belief that they are special and gifted boosts their self-esteem, because they know that they are important. When an individual is living their life in a way that fills them with meaning, it unconsciously creates a strong sense of balance, which is felt and recognised by others.


Relationships are catalysts that cause us to grow. The need to feel loved and accepted is strong within all of us. Charismatic people intuitively seek to fulfil this need by seeking to connect with people, irrespective of whether this connection is on a one-to-one basis or with a large crowd. This connection is achieved by focusing all their attention into the moment. When you meet a charismatic individual, you feel enveloped by their complete and utter attention, which in turn stimulates a greater flow of energy within you. Energy breeds energy, so the need for connection can cause charismatic people to exude an ever-increasing aura of presence.


A person, an animal, a plant or indeed any living thing is either growing or it has reached a peak, after which it starts to die. If we choose not to grow and develop our knowledge and capabilities, then we are effectively, although at an unconscious level, choosing to die. Charismatic people are driven by a thirst to continually grow, improve and develop. This fuels their energy so they radiate it. Contrast this with the way people who turn their backs on growth often drain the energy of themselves as well as others.

Making a difference

Charismatic people have a strong need within them to make a difference to the world within which they operate. This wider focus expands their energy flow and this is then interpreted as ‘presence’. This particular need stimulates all the elements of charisma shown in the Symbol of Star Quality™. The need to make their mark strengthens their self esteem because the simple act of wanting to make a difference carries the presupposition that they can make a difference. Every need is based on what is important to the individual, therefore accelerating their inner driving force. Making a difference is highly emotive because it engages our sensory awareness. People with a strong vision naturally have high energy, and so the pentagon shape blends naturally with the more traditional human needs models.