Charismatic leadership is a term that define a person or group of people who manifest superior leading abilities. Charismatic leader displays an ease in building and sustaining an emotional attachment to the people following him. Such feeling is based on belief, that the entire team contributes to achieving a goal they all believe in.
Being a charismatic leader is also about having an ability to share a vision with followers and guide them to achieving an idealized, yet common goal. Such vision should affect people around in a way they feel are extremely willing to make it live and fulfill that image. It works by creating an emotional connection on a field leader-vision-follower. The more extraordinary, uncommon and profitable the image is, the bigger the chance to get the team devoted. Such group should base on mutual trust and belief they head towards a greater good. Yet is needs to be well understood to the members that certain working standards have to be maintained, due to the fact that image of a better future does not come at any cost(B.J. Avolio, F.J. Yammarino 2013, XXVII).
True leader's attitude
The most important factor is their approach - such leaders fulfill their vision by presenting it as an innovative and shared by the people surrounding them, show highly motivational pose of being a "role model of assertiveness and confidence"(Conger, Kanungo 1998), yet caring about about others needs. They take risks, but never at a cost of the team leaded, to achieve a common vision. Team influenced by them tends to avoid critical conflicts that would away the target. There is a high level of trust to be spotted among the followers caused by a belief of being empowered by the leader(J.A. Conger, R.N. Kanungo 1998, p. 64-67). People leaded by a charismatic individual are also deeply stimulated, both on an intellectual and spiritual field.
Key behaviors in charismatic leadership
According to Conger's and Kanungo's(1998) theory there are certain types of behaviors standing out:
- Innovative strategic vision - ability to think about certain future state and using all resources to make it happen; articulating appealing and emphasizing aspects of the work
- Showing sensitivity to member needs - studies show that the most productive type of employer is the one, who believes he's contributing to a greater good and is responsible for the work he does. He also communicates in a way that unveils expectation of high performance in return, but is not brazen or insolent.
- Taking personal risks - they make bold moves which often lead them to achieving exceptional scores showing high level of self confidence,
- Displaying unconventional behavior - charismatic leaders think out of the box and look up for constant possibility to improve, either amongst the team members or himself,
- Showing sensitivity to environment which means paying strong attention to dangers, opportunities and constraints.
- Ability to give both verbal and written feedback - constructive information about followers way of work often result in them willing to improve and showing serious interest about what are they focused on(G. Yukl 1999, p. 285-305).
- Avolio B.J. , Yammarino F.J.(2013). Transformational and Charismatic Leadership: The Road Ahead(Second Edition), Emerald Group Publishing, XXVII
- Conger J.A., Kanungo R.N. (1998). Charismatic Leadership in Organizations, SAGE Publications, p. 64-67
- Yukl G. (1999). An evaluation of conceptual weaknesses in transformational and charismatic leadership theories "The Leadership Quarterly", vol 10, issue 2, 285-305
Author: Kamil Ochmański