The New Leadership Model: Charismatic Leadership

Charismatic leadership can be found at several levels of an organization, but usually at the top.

A charismatic leader is able to ‘weave a spell’ to captivate their audience and causing them to believe in a cause as the leader does.

This leadership style is most effective when there is a time of uncertainty and a single voice is needed to unite the diverse crowd. When there is chaos, people will look for people whom they can trust and believe to follow automatically, and a charismatic leader can rally a big number of people.

Characteristics of Charismatic Leaders

tony robbins
Image: Tony Robbins

These leaders are usually defined by:

  • People who have an ability to inspire by their words
  • Attractive personality
  • Good-looking and well-built
  • Big, exciting visions
  • Inspiration by Words

A charismatic leader is able to use his oratory skills to inspire people. They are articulate and moving in their speeches. They understand the power of words to rally people and will use it to move people to a singular cause.

Rudyard Kupling said, “Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind.”

A charismatic leader can use his words to rally people for good or evil. Adolf Hitler was one such charismatic leader who moved a whole country, including even the Lutheran Church to commit evil by killing and conquering others.

  • Attractive Personality

Charismatic leaders usually have attractive personalities; they are friendly and extroverted towards others and will usually be well-liked by most people they meet.

They understand that when people like them, these people are also more likely to trust and follow.

  • Good-looking

Though not always the case, they are usually well-groomed and pleasant looking to the eye. That way, they attract people at all levels: spirit, soul and body.

  • Big, exciting visions

Not all charismatic leaders are good looking or have attractive personalities, but one key factor of charismatic leadership is their vision of a big and better future.

They don’t necessarily have to be attractive to the crowd; but if their vision is noble, believable and inspiring, they too, can rally people around them for a cause.

Developing Charismatic Leadership

Not everyone is born to be a charismatic leader. While it is no doubt, that anyone can be a leader, not everyone has big exciting visions to offer to the world to follow. Not everyone is good with words; and not everyone has attractive personalities.

Yet, there are nonetheless lessons you can take from observing charismatic leaders.

  • Learn personal grooming. When you look good, people will naturally like you more.
  • Learn communication skills. Public speaking and listening skills are important skills you can pick up.
  • Join yourself to a worthy cause. Even if you don’t have a big vision yourself, you can align yourself with a charismatic leader to work with them toward a cause.

The New Leadership Model

The new leadership consisted of new words describing leadership like visionary, charismatic and transformational, and it was developed by Burns in 1978. He contrasted the transactional leadership style to the transformational leadership style.

» Transactional leadership
Transactional Leaders practice what you would call management-by-exception and contingent reward. They set performance standards and do performance reviews for their followers.

» Transformational leadership
Transformational leaders have the ability to inspire and motivate their followers beyond their job description. They seek to bring change in their environment or community by improving on the current situation, whatever it may be. They tend to anticipate problems before they come and act accordingly.

» Charismatic leadership
Charismatic leaders have a natural ability to attract people and inspire commitment to their cause.

» Visionary leadership
Visionary leaders have the ability to see what things could be in the future, rather than what things are. Through the attractive visions that they give, they are able to draw followers to themselves.

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