About Charismatic Leadership

Junior (College 3rd year) ・Business ・APA ・3 Sources

There is always interest in the topic of leadership in various fields. The biggest organizations depend on leaders, who in turn shape many elements of our lives and the course of society, whether in industry or politics. According to Conger and Kanungo (1998), charismatic leadership is characterized by four key characteristics: possessing and communicating a vision; being ready to take risks in pursuing the vision; demonstrating sensitivity to the needs of followers; and exhibiting new conduct (Judge, Fluegge Woolf, Hurst, & Livingston, 2006). Since charismatic leadership is able to produce outcomes through a seductive strategy that engages and stimulates teams, it is frequently recognized as the most effective style of leadership. Charismatic leadership could revolutionize firm operations where a firm is not strategically aligned with its environment. A charismatic leader is able to engage the emotional, intellectual, as well as behavioral commitment of their team to usher in a new and potentially radical view of the organization. A charismatic leader will challenge existing cultural values, and they represent the desired changes and appeal to the team by dramatizing the major features of the change process (Biviano, 2000).

Active Impression Management

Charismatic leaders employ active impression management techniques when interacting with the followers in order to supplement or bolster their personal image. Through active impression management, a charismatic leader may bolster their personal image as far as competence is concerned, enhance the faith of their followers in the leader’s action, while also increasing subordinate compliance (Takala, 2005). Active impression management is one of the features that may be used to distinguish a charismatic leader from other types of leaders.

For example, a charismatic leader could show up early to work before everyone else and leave after everyone. They could also adopt company products. Such simple actions are bound to inspire some feelings and actions in the followers. Consequently, charismatic leadership will transform individual values, interests, desires, aspirations and preferences of individual followers into collective interests, so that the followers become greatly committed to the visions presented by the leader, and become ready to make sacrifices to ensure the visions are realised (Takala, 2005).

A Double-Edged Sword

A charismatic leader is effective when the leaders’ actions and behaviors are altruistically motivated. The charismatic leader may be motivated by various personal needs over time, including a need for power, achievement, or affiliation. Nevertheless, whether a charismatic leader is effective will be determined by whether their needs align with those of his team or his firm, and if their motivations are inherently altruistic. This would ensure that the leader is not selfish and does not ‘manipulate’ the followers for his own personal gain. Altruism, therefore, implies pursuit of good for the benefit of others, even where the actions might seem self-centered.

On the other hand, risks abound where a charismatic leader is able to employ his active impression management and articulation skills to rally a team towards a goal that may only serve their interests, or that may have largely negative consequences for society. Human are social beings. They look up to leaders who can give them direction. Selfish charismatic leaders portend doom for society. They can conjure visions that may promote violence or hate among populations. Consequently, the amount of influence that a charismatic individual holds over a group or society becomes risky, particularly when they may not be questioned or their ideas may not be interrogated.


Biviano, J. A. (2000). Charismatic Leadership: An Effective Instrument for Cultural Transformation: RMIT Business.

Judge, T. A., Fluegge Woolf, E., Hurst, C., & Livingston, B. (2006). Charismatic and transformational leadership: A review and an agenda for future research. Zeitschrift für Arbeits-und Organisationspsychologie A&O, 50(4), 203-214.

Takala, T. (2005). Charismatic leadership and power. Problems and perspectives in management, 3(2005), 45-57.

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