Charismatic Leadership

Essay by Max_SmoowUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, September 2004

download word file, 3 pages 4.8 2 reviews

I've done my extra report on charismatic leadership because its one of the more recent theories on leadership. I've been more interested in what makes a person charismatic since doing my interview project of a leader.

My questions resulted in a focus on charisma.

Merriam-Webster's dictionary defines charisma as a special characteristic of some leaders to lead. People usually feel personally attracted to a charismatic leader and this attraction can lead to powerful leadership. A charismatic leader can be morally good or evil. F.D. Roosevelt, Martin Luther King, Jr., Adolf Hitler and some cult leaders such as David Koresh are all considered charismatic leaders.

I found an interesting poll on regarding the U.S. presidential campaign. It asks -- which 2004 presidential or vice presidential candidate has the greatest charisma? Right now George W. Bush is ahead with 42% followed by John Kerry with 32%, John Edwards with 13%, and Dick Cheney with 12%.

Charisma has been studied as a trait and as a set of behaviors. Traits typical of charismatic leaders include a strong need for power, high self-confidence, and strong convictions. The trait approach looks at qualities such as being visionary, energetic, unconventional, and exemplary. Bryman (1992) noted that the variety of charismatic leaders made it impossible to single out special traits that were common to all. Bryman said that highly charismatic leaders have often been described as having striking eyes, a powerful voice, an abundance of energy and confidence, and a capacity for empathy, none of these characteristics could be attributed to all charismatic leaders.

Most recently charisma is being thought of as theatrical. Gardner and Alvolio's (1998) drama perspective is that charismatic leadership is an impression management process enacted theatrically in acts of framing, scripting, staging, and performing. Framing is a quality of communication that...