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Charismatic Leadership

Among all known leadership styles, charismatic leadership style is a subject of the special interest, because charismatic leadership, being something elusive, has strong power and can affect the followers even more effectively than leadership styles based on certain practical and material foundations. The power of charisma allows the charismatic leaders to make mistakes and sometimes even act in contrary to followers’ interests and, at the same time, not to lose his or her authority and to be forgiven for some disadvantages. Of course, a successful leader has to be educated, have the appropriate social skills, behavioral traits, and cultural backgrounds. Yet, all the above mentioned qualities can be maximally effective if charisma is present.

Charismatic leadership style is concluded in that the leader, using his or her charm and popularityfor the achievement of their purposes, provides his or her team with a great dose of enthusiasm and is full of much energy in driving the team forward. Nevertheless, a charismatic leader relies more on him or herself than on the team (“Types of Leadership”, 2012). Very often, charismatic leaders appeal directly to the values of the followers, and it makes the charismatic leaders successful. Charismatic leaders inspire their teams and stimulate them to do their best. Workers and team members desire to impress a charismatic leader; thus, they try to achieve the targets by all possible means and make all possible efforts to succeed (Fleming, n.d.). As a rule, charismatic leaders perform the following behavioral attributes: pleasant appearance and good elocution skills, sensitiveness to the environment, sensitiveness to needs of the team members, readiness to take personal risks, performing non-standard, and unconventional behavior (“Charismatic Leadership”, n.d.).The charismatic leadership style includes the following characteristics.

  • Leaders are regarded as those who have incredible powers and abilities; the leader is regarded as a star by team members.
  • People follow such leaders due to personal confidence and the charisma that the leader demonstrates.
  • Certain official institutions of authority are absent; leadership power is achieved by means of advanced social skills (“Charismatic Leadership Style”, n.d.).

Charismatic leadership style has its advantages as well as disadvantages. The range of advantages includes as follows. Charismatic leaders have the high sensitivity of the gap existing between what is delivered by an organization to its followers and what is actually needed from an organization by the followers. Due to this fact, a leader is able to outline an image of a future state, which would be better than current environment, as everyone believes. When followers can see themselves in this future vision, they support the organizational goals with a higher level of readiness. The charismatic leaders build trust among their team members (“Charismatic leaders”, n.d.). Such leaders are able to stimulate people with their vision and expound their vision clearly. Charismatic leaders are also able to receive the best from team members (Vanbrabant, 2012).

However, charismatic leadership style has several disadvantages. Charismatic leaders frequently achieve the acceptance of their vision by means of excessive persistence and personal sacrifice. Charismatic leaders are also used to rely in general on their personal charm popularity and perceptions, which can lead to the appearance of rumors and disinformation in “negative press”. In addition, in a team where there is a strong charismatic leader, members are used to work in a manner which requires permanent control and approval by a leader. This may lead to failure of a project or an organization if a leader leaves. Charismatic leadership requires from the leader permanent staying under the pressure of great responsibility and long-term commitment (“Charismatic Leaders”, n.d.)

If to summarize all above mentioned advantages and disadvantages of charismatic leadership style, one can tell that charismatic leadership would be the most suitable for some short-term projects. It is the best to appoint charismatic leaders to work on the projects which require much energy and talent (Fleming, n.d.).

The most famous examples of charismatic leaders are Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, Mahatma Ghandi, Nelson Mandela, Margaret Thatcher, Steve Jobs, Barack Obama, Martin Luther King, etc.

As a conclusion, it should be stated that charismatic leadership is quite powerful instrument used for people’s management. The most successful and respectable leaders are those who are able to endear people. However, if a person chooses to be a charismatic leader, he or she should understand that they will always stay under the pressure of responsibility and commitment. Therefore, it could be the best for such leaders to supervise some short-term projects which require talent and charm. However, possessing inner charm and charisma is not enough for being a successful leader. Such things as education, appropriate social skills, behavioral traits, and cultural backgrounds are strongly recommended to be present in the list of the leader’s character traits. Although the charismatic leadership style has several disadvantages, it will always be a subject of the special interest, because charismatic leadership, being something elusive, has strong power and can affect the followers even more effectively than leadership styles based on certain practical and material foundations. Therefore, the significance of the charismatic leaders should not be underestimated, and the issue of the charismatic leadership style should be examined properly.


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