What are the key characteristics of charismatic leaders?
The charismatic leader is one who gains influence mainly from strength of personality e.g. Martin Luther King, Hitler and Napoleon. Charisma is a powerful and personal quality that has a strong influence over people and will make them admire you and become your willing followers.
Charismatic leaders are few because not many people are endowed with the exceptional qualities that transform all around them into willing followers.
Charisma is an inborn gift that cannot be acquired by training; it can only be modified by
Charismatic leaders can achieve heroic feats (turning around ailing corporations, revitalizing aging bureaucracies or launching new enterprises by:
• Powerfully communicating a compelling vision of the future
• Passionately believing in their vision
• Relentlessly promoting their beliefs with boundless energy
• Propounding creative ideas
• Inspiring extraordinary performance in followers by :
a) Expressing confidence in followers abilities to achieve high standards
b) Building followers’ trust, faith and belief in their leader.
The term charisma is value neutral; it does not distinguish between good or moral and evil or immoral charismatic leadership. Charisma can lead to blind fanatism in the service of megalomaniacs and dangerous values, or to heroic self sacrifice in the service of a beneficial cause.
Ethical charismatic leaders develop creative critical thinking in their followers, provide opportunities for them to develop, welcome positive and negative feedback, recognize the contribution of others, share information with followers, and have moral standards that emphasize collective interests of the group, organization or society. They use power to serve others.
The unethical charismatic leader uses power only for personal gain. He promotes his own personal vision, censures opposing views, insists on one-way communication and relies on convenient external moral standards to satisfy self-interest