Leadership plays a vital role in determining the success or failure of a business. A leader has a vision and directs the efforts of the organization to achieve common business objectives. People have different personalities and their behaviors vary. Likewise, leaders also possess different traits or styles.
There are several leadership styles, such as authoritative, autocratic, democratic and laissez-faire. This blog will examine the charismatic leadership style. Read on to learn the meaning of charismatic leadership, understand charismatic leadership theory and observe some real-life examples of charismatic leadership.
Charismatic Leadership Theory
Charismatic leadership theory was first mentioned in the book, The Three Types of Legitimate Rule, published by Max Weber in 1958. Leaders who follow the charismatic leadership theory can inspire their followers and motivate them. In turn, they win the devotion of their employees. Such leaders are typically highly influential individuals with confident personalities. Their ability to inspire and influence makes them catalysts for change. They are always available for their employees and ready to opt for unconventional paths to meet their vision. Charismatic leadership calls for motivated individuals who can diplomatically handle even the toughest of situations. By nurturing a positive relationship with their subordinates, they can generate a collective identity that helps workers achieve both their own and organizational objectives.
Let’s now look more closely at the meaning of charismatic leadership, followed by examples of charismatic leadership.
Charismatic Leadership Meaning
Charismatic leadership is characterized by a person at the helm who can inspire and influence others by using their persuasiveness and strong communication skills to charm others. They have expertise in managing authority figures, colleagues and juniors alike. They have a crystal clear vision for the organization and like to engage with people actively.
Charismatic Leadership Traits
Charismatic leaders stand out from the crowd. Their behavior towards others and their thinking help them grab the attention of the people around them.
The following are some behavioral attributes exhibited by charismatic leaders:
1. Empathetic, emotionally sensitive and controlling
Charismatic leaders are good listeners. They make an effort to understand their employees. This helps them form a connection with their juniors. Consequently, the employees feel valued and devote themselves to the leader. This brings many benefits to the organization, such as a robust and positive work culture. An important charismatic leadership example is someone with the ability to exercise control over their own emotions to make sound decisions.
Managers who practice charismatic leadership styles can mark their presence as they are inherently motivated and have confidence in themselves. They are exceptional communicators and aren’t afraid to take unique action to achieve results. Being great listeners also helps them build connections with their teams.
3. Excellent communicators
Charismatic leaders possess excellent communication skills. They are confident in their conversations with employees and are great listeners. They can carry out precise and effective communication across the organization’s hierarchy by using the correct language and words.
4. Determined individuals
Charismatic leaders don’t give up easily. They’re committed to facing and finding solutions in the most difficult of situations. They aren’t afraid to take risks even when the stakes are high.
5. Team-oriented visionaries
Charismatic leaders are sure to interact with their teams from time to time. They are keen to understand the thoughts and feelings of the workforce. Charismatic leaders always provide suggestions and advice whenever someone needs guidance. These leaders often put extra effort into learning the personal and professional goals of their employees. They attempt to synergize these goals with the company’s objective.
People who display these traits are usually familiar with the meaning of charismatic leadership. They must have worked hard to build these skills over time.
Charismatic Leadership Style Examples
The world has seen many inspiring examples of charismatic leadership. Here we list some famous leaders who’ve exhibited the charismatic leadership style:
1. Martin Luther King Jr.
One of the most noteworthy examples of charismatic leadership in history, MLK Jr. played a vital role during the American Civil Rights Movement. His confident and down-to-earth personality helped him win the support of the people. He was also an excellent orator who made impactful speeches that bolstered his popularity.
2. Sir Winston Churchill
Another stellar example of charismatic leadership is Churchill, who was prime minister of the UK during World War II. Churchill’s experience serving as a correspondent helped him strengthen his communication. He had exemplary oratory skills, which enabled him to influence and inspire the masses.
3. Steve Jobs
One of the founders of Apple Inc., Steve Jobs was known as a charismatic leader. He was respected by his workforce as well as by peers and customers around the globe. His succinct and effective communication skills made him a great orator. People used to wait for him to take the stage at Apple events.
Now that we’ve covered the meaning of charismatic leadership and looked at some charismatic leadership examples, let’s evaluate its advantages and disadvantages.
Advantages Of Charismatic Leadership Style
The advantages are as follows:
- Charismatic leaders are motivated individuals. Their appealing personality and interactive behavior help them motivate others as well. Employees are often inspired and influenced by such leaders.
- According to charismatic leadership theory, such leaders form strong relationships with all the people working in an organization. They realize the significance of teamwork for success.
- Being sensitive listeners, charismatic leaders are able to comprehend the issues their employees may be facing. These leaders can then solve employee-related concerns and problems effectively.
- By following unique ways of getting things done, charismatic leaders often play the role of change-makers in an organization.
- Leaders who employ a charismatic leadership style create a comfortable environment for their teams. They are easily approachable and don’t have arrogance or ego problems.
- Charismatic leaders often act as a catalyst for initiating positive changes in the work environment of the organization.
- Such leaders take the mistakes that are committed as learning opportunities.
Next, let’s talk about the disadvantages.
Disadvantages Of Charismatic Leadership
The following are the disadvantages:
- There is a chance that charismatic leaders might develop narcissistic or authoritarian tendencies.
- Their personal goals of seeking admiration from the employees might lead to negligence of the organization’s collective goals.
- Charismatic leaders might start believing that they are irreplaceable due to the admiration they receive from employees.
Having talked about disadvantages, let’s now compare charismatic leadership with other styles.
Comparison of Charismatic Leadership Style with Other Styles
The type of leadership style that a leader opts for largely depends on their personal behavior and attributes. Leaders who employ charismatic leadership theory in practice are those who have inherent charm. They have an ability to influence and inspire people, which in turn raises the overall productivity of the organization. They are continuously involved in boosting, motivating and encouraging their teams, so that they are able to deliver the best.
Charismatic leaders are similar to those who follow a visionary leadership approach. This style involves leaders with a crystal clear vision to undertake a project. Likewise, charismatic leaders also possess a clear path or vision for their initiatives. The difference is that they follow a broad and open-ended approach, which is based on traditional lines.
Charismatic leaders are also similar to situational leaders as they adapt themselves to all circumstances. The difference is that charismatic leaders are flexible in their approach compared to those situational leaders who follow traditional business models.
Practicing Charismatic Leadership
It can be observed that the number of advantages that charismatic leadership style has to offer outweigh the disadvantages. However, when a leader decides to follow this approach of leadership, then they should keep in mind the following points, which will help them stick to the right path:
- Owning mistakes and delegating them is crucial for a charismatic leader. The mistakes or failures that happen should be considered as opportunities to grow.
- Being a sensitive listener will go a long way. Speaking always and not listening to the concerns of the employees is not a trait of charismatic leaders. Having an empathetic attitude to address the employees’ issues is essential.
- Try to be transparent in your work and flexible in approach.
- Being compassionate towards all employees is important. Understanding and addressing the wants, desires and needs of the teams ensures ongoing trust. Always extend a helping hand to employees when they are in need. This helps build positive relations with the workers.
- Continuously try to work on yourself. Attending leadership training and exercises will aid in self-improvement.
- Employ creative methods to solve problems in an innovative way. Motivate the workers using new methods, be open-minded and ask for their inputs.
Charismatic leaders are an asset to the organization. They are valued by the people around them for their communication skills and confident personalities, which helps create a positive environment within the organization. It is clear that the advantages of charismatic leadership outweigh the disadvantages. Individuals who practice charismatic leadership have a lot of scope to grow in the future.
To learn more about charismatic leadership and how to adopt charismatic leadership styles, join Harappa’s Leading Self course. Allow us to guide you to become successful leaders of tomorrow.
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