Discover Charismatic Leadership: Learn about its Characteristics and Inspiring Examples of Charismatic Leaders.
What we will see in this article
What is charisma theory?
Max Weber was “based on devotion to a specific and exceptional act of heroism, or to a person’s exemplary character, which legitimizes his authority.”
Does a charismatic leader have many followers?
Charismatic leadership theory matches the great mystique generated about leaders who achieve not only popularity, but a huge following around their cause and vision.
Usually political and religious leaders become more obvious as possessing this “gift” or charisma.
What is charisma not?
When talking about charisma, we can understand it in two ways, one being the biblical charisma and the other being the charisma of Max Weber and others.
The biblical charism is the same as that of the apostle Paul, who talks about the gifts for the church as a body and not for a leader per se. These gifts are part of God’s grace and are distributed according to His will for specific functions, but for a whole.
Weber’s charisma (which is the one used today) deals with leadership as an individual and a call to extraordinary feats within a vision it holds.
In any case, both treat charisma as something that cannot be trained and cannot be acquired: either you have charisma or you don’t have charisma!
What is charismatic leadership?
The charismatic leadership is a leadership model where popularity, engagement in the cause above self are combined. The model has a heroic leader with above average authority in the challenges proposed.
What is the main characteristic of the charismatic leader?
The charismatic leader possesses great eloquence, articulation and persuasion over other people, and can be said to bring about an enchantment by his or her extraordinary speech and practices.
With that comes creativity, the ever-heroic way of how you work and take on challenges for yourself, as well as convincing your cause above others.
Is charismatic leadership good or bad?
One of the most important factors about this leadership model is to know that it can be extremely positive or extremely negative.
A charismatic leader has no middle ground, yet he cannot be said to be an extreme, since he sets out to reach the highest point of his struggle, not necessarily having to get to it, can you understand that?
You also need to understand that the charismatic leader is not a populist and does not care about popularity, with the articulation of his vision being the most important factor for him. Popularity is usually just a tool to achieve your goals.
Charismatic leadership and transformational leadership
Although many people think they are the same or even similar, there are crucial differences between the models of charismatic leadership and transformational leadership.
In fact, they are different from their essence, and we will look at the reasons below.
The charismatic leader is always the center of everything
The charismatic leader is the great center of leadership and of those who possess the vision. He provides the vision and the leaders are the tools to achieve it.
In charismatic leadership, transparency is limited
Transparency of information is based on what is in the leader’s interest, not on concepts of common interests.
For the charismatic leader the construction comes from leadership
The construction of the planning, goals and objectives always come from the leader, who may or may not accept the suggestions or other ideas.
Even if tasks are delegated, it is the leader’s vision that must be fulfilled in the construction of the processes.
Transformational leadership concept
- The vision at the center: the vision is what governs the transformations needed by the group. The leader passes on the vision and people with the same common values aggregate and are governed by it.
- Transparency is built: transparency is built by everyone on the team and everyone knows their role within it. The information is strategic, but aggregative so that everyone knows if the vision remains within the established parameters.
- The construction has elements from everyone: the construction of the planning, goals and objectives always comes from the team itself that, based on the initial vision, develops the necessary processes.
Anyway, the important thing is that both leadership models have a purpose in themselves, yet the charismatic model is something innate and it is not understood that it can be learned or acquired.
What are the characteristics of the charismatic leader?
The characteristics of the charismatic leader usually don’t change that much among individuals, not least because they are quite striking among themselves.
Also, a populist leader cannot be confused with a charismatic leader, because the charismatic leader has a clear vision of where he wants to go, and his popularity is just a tool for this.
What is a populist leader?
The populist leader, on the other hand, likes the cult of his own image for its own sake, which is why he does not fulfill his visions as well and does not always hold firm to his values and agreements, but always decides according to what gives him popularity.
Charismatic leadership is ideologically inspired
The ideological character of this leadership model is very strong, bringing about a rupture between the group’s current thinking and the thinking idealized by the leader.
The inspiration and vision are so strong, that it motivates others to step into a new sense of life that they never could before, whether in their profession, faith, relationships, politics, or other areas of our existence.
The charismatic leader has a sacrificial vision
For the inspiration and vision to be fulfilled, constant sacrifice by your leader and his team or followers is essential.
The leader’s sacrifice makes the others feel encouraged and motivated to face all the challenges faced by their leader.
In charismatic leadership emotions are always high
In this leadership model, emotion is the constant motivator of actions. Not that it is an irrational and purely emotional model, but it clearly relies on emotions to keep everyone’s encouragement and sacrifices high for the sake of the greater vision.
How does a charismatic leader emerge?
It arises in difficult times or times of great tension. Generally this type of leadership tends to arise at times of great stress or when extraordinary feats are demanded of the leadership. These achievements can be creative solutions to risks for the company, for example, and others.
Charismatic leadership is always heroic
It is this heroism that generates the courage to take risks to meet and fulfill what one believes in.
Heroic or extraordinary capabilities
Leaders attribute heroic abilities to the confidence one has in the established vision. The confidence is so great that no matter what risks and sacrifices may occur in the middle of the road.
Charismatic leadership is willing to take risks
For these leaders, success from risks are part of their existence and capability, just as failures must be part of martyrdom.
Whether or not he wins a battle or a challenge, the charismatic leader always understands that he is a winner in everything he does. which greatly increases everyone’s optimism and engagement.
Heroic deeds are those daring actions that you wouldn’t imagine someone to be capable of, but someone went out there and showed it was possible.
What are the types of leadership?
It is very important to remember that there are several other models and types of leadership, without a doubt, because they are complementary to each other and each has its own moment of action and culture.
For example, a strategist leader has his or her place in a market where operations are complex and players compete heavily with each other.
A visionary leader, for example, is important for a growing company, a startup, for example, that wants to reach the top of the business in its field.
So let’s talk about some other types of leadership that are equally important and challenging.
What the coaching leader looks like
The coaching leader is one of the leadership types and specializes in preparing team members for future leadership roles , as this leader can coach teams and individuals beyond the expectations set for them.
What the executive leader looks like
It is the leadership model that sets the rhythm and rules within a company or association.
This leader usually has effective control of all processes and places great value on the results delivered, sometimes more than the sacrifices made.
How is the leader by example
This type of leader is usually the inspiration for his whole team, being the example of everything he asks from the other members of his team.
How is the leader big daddy
The big daddy leader has characteristics of forming a family rather than a team, which in times of great stress and pressure ends up being very welcoming.
There is the problem of infantilizing the team members, but it brings a lot of security to everyone and greatly reduces the tension in the work environment.
What the Democratic leader looks like
It is the most participative leadership model, because all members can bring their suggestions, ideas, and help build their own goals and objectives.
What the bureaucratic leader looks like
It is the kind of leader that is very concerned with documentation, process compliance, and is always tied to the traditional ways that are already working in the company.
What the strategist leader looks like
This leader usually enjoys challenges, welcomes creativity, and is always focused on the market and bottom line. Overall, you know your market and how you operate very well.
What the technical leader looks like
This leadership model usually occurs when an employee has knowledge and training, making him the reference for technical issues of the group and also for process issues
Charismatic leadership examples
There are several charismatic leaders, but they cannot be confused with popular or populist leaders, because, as we have already seen, they are very different from each other in their essence.
Charismatic leaders can also be positive or negative
Charismatic leaders can also be positive or negative, as we have seen in history. Even positive charismatic leaders have their flaws that transcend in history, which is natural when dealing with human beings.
Successful Charismatic Leaders
Let’s look at some leaders who have been positive overall for humanity or their company, knowing that they also have their faults as we all have ours.
- Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.: human rights advocate in the US, being one of the greatest leaders against racism of all time.
- Sir Winston Churchill: Churchill was known for his fearlessness, determination, unflinching perseverance, and undying devotion to his goal.
- Madame CJ Walker: was “America’s first black millionaire” and made her fortune thanks to her homemade line of hair products for black women. The self-made millionaire used her fortune to fund scholarships for women at the Tuskegee Institute and donated much of her wealth to the NAACP, the Black YMCA and other charities.
- Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi: his policy of non-violence and protest through civil disobedience was ultimately successful when he led his country to freedom in 1947.
- Steve Jobs: revolutionized the way the world thought about personal technology.
Characteristics of Charismatic Leadership
Charismatic leadership is also packed with attributes that go beyond what we think of as ordinary leadership. Let us now mention some of the characteristics of charismatic leadership.
Acts of heroism are part or the major characteristic of a charismatic leader.
He does not mind facing great obstacles and even facing risky situations to show and point out the real purpose of his vision.
Their ideals are usually confirmed in the face of their acts of heroism. Understand that this is not a good or bad point of view, we simply put it as a characteristic.
We will see in this article some examples of charismatic leaders and we are sure you will understand this item better.
The charismatic leader is capable of extraordinary acts, out of the ordinary of what is expected of ordinary leaders.
In his leadership, he is capable of doing that which no one expects, with extraordinary and unusual solutions, unthinkable acts in the sense of working out (for his cause), going far beyond what is thought or expected of anyone or the situation.
The cause is everything to this leader. The cause is what moves this leadership, the cause is what moves their speeches, actions and gestures.
The cause is this leader’s only meaning in life, and for this reason he does not think that losing his life is harmful; on the contrary, he becomes a martyr to it.
In general charismatic leaders are quite popular, however this is not what they are looking for most, that is, it is not above their cause.
Popularity usually comes about due to his followers spreading the word about his heroic deeds and extraordinary achievements.
Popularity is not a pursuit for this leadership model, since it can also bring a kind of martyrdom.
The charismatic leader forms loyal followers
In this model, the formation of followers who understand the cause and accept it for themselves as a life purpose
Articulates the vision well
This leadership model knows how to organize and systematize its vision very well.
It can say what it wants, how it wants it, and knows how to choose the profiles to fulfill the processes involved, achieving its objectives.
Generally this leadership is not very conventional. Even if it goes through moments that many would consider lost, this leadership successfully manages to overcome barriers that were considered insurmountable.
Creativity and confidence make these leaders unconventional people, which ends up being reflected even in their daily attitudes and conviviality.
Charismatic leadership: advantages and disadvantages
As we have seen in some items, there are several advantages as well as disadvantages to this type of leadership, no doubt about it, but we always prefer a positive agenda for our portal, don’t we?
You must be used to this by now, however, we never deny in our articles the negative side of any subject.
Our incentive, however, is that we do everything in a positive and better way for everyone, just as a leader should set out to be.
Advantages of charismatic leadership
- Create followers and motivate effectively
- Brings a lot of focus around the cause and goals
- The team has a strong sense of belonging and engagement
- The vision is always well articulated for everyone.
Disadvantages of charismatic leadership
- One can easily fall into the trap of populism
- Objectives and processes are not very transparent
- The focus tends to be on the cause and not on people or by people
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Well, how difficult the charismatic model seems, doesn’t it?
Weber himself may not have seen great leaders as he envisioned in his theory, but it is interesting how we can seek to apply and even understand ourselves as humanity through this model.
I hope with all my heart that you enjoyed the reading and leave your comment below, it will be a pleasure to hear from you.