Charismatic Leadership Essay Sample

Published: 2022-11-11
Charismatic Leadership Essay Sample
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Leadership style
Pages: 5
Wordcount: 1112 words
10 min read

Charismatic leadership refers to a type of leadership in which the authority is derived from the leaders' charisma. It refers to the method aimed at encouraging certain behaviors in others through the usage of eloquent communication, the force of personality and persuasion. Charismatic leaders tend to motivate their followers to improve the way some things are carried out or motivate them to ensure things get done. Charismatic leaders always rely on persuasiveness and charm, and commitment and convictions ever drive them to their primary cause.

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Charismatic leadership depends on three elements which include the characteristics of the followers, leader characteristics and the situations. In charismatic leadership, a situation always provides a conducive platform for the leaders to demonstrate their various charismatic attributes to get a response from the followers. According to Nahavandi, 2015, in his book of " The Art and Science of Leadership," the characteristics of the leaders include self-confidence of the highest degree, enthusiasm and high energy, excellent skill in communication and expressiveness, role modeling and constant image building, firm conviction and belief about ideas. The followers, on the other hand, demonstrate esteem and affection, respect of high degree, devotion and loyalty towards the leader, greater confidence, unquestioning obedience and high expectation on the performance of the leader. The situations can either be internal conditions or external crisis or both. All together situation elements can be recognized need and desire for change, chance to bring out ideological goals, sense of imminent or real crisis and opportunity to bring out the role of the followers in managing crisis. Further facilitation of the charismatic leadership can be provided by the type of reward and task structure, organizational culture and structure and the various internal conditions within the organization's life cycle.

What is meant by charismatic leaders use active impression management with their followers to support their image

Impression management refers to the subconscious or conscious process whereby individuals try to influence the view and perception of others regarding an object, an event or a person. This is done by controlling and regulating information during social interaction. As a charismatic leader guides and leads the followers in the context of a particular situation, they present themselves carefully as a role model who is to be followed with a specifically crafted message. However, the persona of the role model and the weight of the information is at many times delivered to the followers by the leader while surrounding himself with mystical symbols often and dramatics to bring out their persona as being bigger than standard life figure and is enhanced ( Nahavandi, 2015).

At many times, the symbol acts as an emotional bond that exists between the followers and the leader towards a cause. Gonsalves, 2012, describes the piece of white cloth known as "Khadi" worn by Mahatma Gandhi as a symbol of purity, simplicity, poverty, and subversion which was a symbolization of desire to relate and interact with his close followers who appeared to be the majority who were predominantly poor in India at that time.

Authentic Leadership

Authentic leadership refers to an approach in leadership that put more emphasis on building the legitimacy of the leader by enhancing an honest relationship with the followers in which their input is valued, and it is built on an ethical foundation. Ideally, authentic leaders are positive individuals who promote and enhance openness and have self-concept full of truth. Authentic leaders generate trust and bring out enthusiasm and support from their followers or subordinates hence improving team performance within a group. Authentic leaders share their visions with others and encourage teamwork to realize the vision. They are always described as passionate, charismatic and confident in whatever they do hence bring out the authenticity in them (Elrod, 2012).

Importance of Authenticity to Leader

Authenticity is crucial for leaders as it allows them to leverage their strength by removing the pretense regarding how they should act and who they are. It is clear that in a group people know that a leader cannot be perfect and at the same, they cannot forgive a leader who is not honest with himself regarding their limitations. For one to be selected as a leader, then it is clear that their strength outweighs their weakness hence needed to leverage these strengths and build on them as they work on their areas of improvements (Elrod, 2012).

Another importance brought about by authenticity is the building of trust. Stephen M.R Covey while delivering a speech during the IMA annual conference and exposition emphasized on how high trust is crucial to an organization. The existence of high faith towards the leader tends to make the organization innovative, effective, creative and collaborative (Elrod, 2012).

Why is charismatic leadership considered a double-edged sword that requires careful monitoring to avert abuse?

Charismatic leadership is said to be a double-edged sword since it can be applied and used both ethically and unethically. Ethically, it can be implemented in to advance the organizational and social goals, and on the other hand, it can be applied unethically achieve individual goals and personal gains. Ideally, an ethical leader is likely to exercise a socialized charisma which is composed of messages built on common goals, focusing on the purposes of the organization, seeking and encouraging divergent views, accepting criticism, encouraging a two-way communication, managing impressions used to motivate and energize followers and describing to the followers the exact need for bringing change. On the contrary, the unethical leader tends to exploit followers with the intention of advancing their agenda through practicing the personal charisma by focusing on personal goals, the punishment of divergent views, using impression management to deceive followers, discourages others and creating or exaggerating the sense of a crisis. Therefore charismatic leadership which is unethical are more likely to present an organizational liability which can be both financial and legal that are most likely to be detrimental towards the progress of the organization or the society. An unethical leader is expected to deter from the vision of the organization into a flawed individual vision hence misleading followers using exaggerated estimates to meet personal gains (Nahavandi, 2015)

It is therefore evident that charismatic leadership is essential to the progress of an organization and It can used byat the same time, it can be used by individuals to exploit others to achieve personal gains hence the need to be monitored closely to avoid misuse intended to reach personal milestones.


Elrod, D.J. (Aug 2012). The Importance of Being Authentic. Strategic Finance,(94. 2), pp. 14-16.

Gonsalves, P., 2012. KHADI: Gandhi's Mega Symbol of Subversion. Retrieved on 20th February 2019 from

Nahavandi, A. (2015). The Art an Science of Leadership. Boston, MA: Pearson Learning Solutions.

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