Updated: Nov 3, 2018
Charismatic leaders gather followers by personality and charm, rather than external power and authority. Qualities of charismatic leader are a vision, willing to take high personal risks, sensitivity to followers needs, unconventional behavior, charisma, emotional sensitivity, and personality. The level of charismatic leadership is determined by followers’ trust, unquestioning acceptance, followers’ affections and emotional involvement. Charismatic leadership style is more appropriate for the upper level management positions. Charismatic leaders have the Theological concept of a divine gift. Charismatic leaders are extraordinary, inspirational, visionary and heroic. Example for a Charismatic Leader – Martin Luther King.
Advantages of Charismatic Leadership style - The ability to effect change, energetic and driving, sensitivity to people emotions, supportive environment, vision, and articulation.
The disadvantages of Charismatic Leadership style - Over reliance on the leader, lack of clarity, misarticulation of goals, poor management, and autonomy. True charismatic leaders are rare to find. Charismatic Leaders may cast a vision that is different from the status quo. There are possibilities that they may employ unconventional methods and strategies to achieve the vision. Charismatic Leaders uses persuasive appeal to the followers. They may fail to hire the best people for available jobs. Charismatic leaders tend to produce leaders with almost identical social, cultural and demographics characteristics. Sometimes the personal goals of a charismatic leader may override the organizational goals.
In my previous organization, it was a known fact that the CEO fired the best manager in the organization, because the manager did not belong to the same ethnic group as the CEO. The manger was a well-educated professional but had to lose the job for no fault. I see this as part of charismatic leadership quality of the CEO. The CEO’s decision was made on the wrong perception. Consideration was not given to the organization’s best interest but the personal interest of the CEO.
Transformational leaders make today better by rewarding. They make tomorrow better by;
1. Vision – Transformational Leaders create a noble vision that inspires others
2. Authentic - Transformational Leaders are authentic in their commitment to the mission not to the personal gain. Transformational Leaders integrity inspires the team to act.
3. A growth mindset – Transformational Leader, cultivate professional and personal development – recognizes individual effort and performance
4. Creativity – Encourage team members to develop ideas. Work with talent and embrace originality.
Transformational Leaders allow measured risk to help adopt a culture of innovation and constantly assures transformation for better. Transformational Leaders work towards a noble vision, act with authenticity and honesty, adopt a growth mindset, promote creativity and new ideas.
Transformational leaders have a clear vision for their organization’s future. They create trust by being reliable and consistent in their leadership. They are energetic, inner clarity, visionary, unconventional and exemplary.
How do the transformational leaders achieve the goals?
i. Continual assessment and vision formulating
ii. Communication and vision
iii. Building trust and commitment
Transformational Leadership VS Charismatic Leadership
Leaders influence followers with personality and charm
Leaders vision is fulfilled by simulating followers
Charismatic Leader most likely emerge in crisis situation
Leader driven goals – promote feelings and obedience dependency o followers
Inspire through vison and passion
Inspire through vision and passion
Transformational Leaders will emerge in different level of the organization
Behavior is aimed at commitment and encouraging team work
Transactional Leadership is focused on contingent reward, management by exceptions. People perform better when there is a chain of command. Reward and punishment highly motivate workers. The Leaderships expect the followers to accomplish short term goals.
If a leader directs employees only by Transactional leadership strategy, followers will be rewarded and punished. This method will not be very effective. As a human, we need a ‘pat-at-the-back’ often to increase the motivation and energy level. Same time, the leader needs to create trust by being reliable and consistent in the leadership strategies. To become an effective leader in the organization, a combination of transformational leadership qualities and transactional leadership qualities are essential.
Being friendly with the employees, building a relationship, often finding out their well-being and having regular meetings to discuss the performance and areas and improvements creates foundation towards healthy leadership style.
Robbins, S. P., & Judge, T. A. (2017). Organizational behavior (17th ed.). Harlow: Pearson Education Limited.