Can a person with average charisma or personality be a superior leader?

Essay by maguirre2005University, Master'sB, April 2009

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Can a person with average charisma or personality be a superior leader? Support your position and if applicable, provide an example.

My answer is No. A personal trait alone is not a factor for superior leadership. Ralph Stogdill argued that, "traits of an effective leader can only be assessed in conjunction with other factors, such as the nature of followers and the characteristics of the situation" (Wren, J.T. 1995, p. 125). Furthermore, Kirkpatrick and Locke in their writing of Do Traits Matter (1991) underscore that charisma is on the three traits with less clear-cut evidence of importance to leadership (Wren, J.T (1995). A person even with all of the things involved in being a charismatic leader (not with average charisma) is still not enough to be a superior leader. On the contrary there can limitations and even risk to the organization. Nadler and Trushman observed that "there are inherent limitations to the effectiveness of charismatic leaders, many stemming from risk associated with leadership which involves around a single individual".

A leader with charisma or personality may create unrealistic and unattainable expectations. This exactly what happened at my local Engineering Association in the year 2004; the charismatic president of the association during his key note address of the annual association conference stated that the revision and publication of the association's charter in accordance with the new government regulation will be completed prior to the next year annual conference. Apparently his goal was important to renew the association's license to continue to operate legally, allows the enrolment of many new members, and he can get re-elected if he succeeded. The entire board of directors and more than 200 members worked so hard for the entire year and the goal was not even 50% achieved. Even though, the government regulators extended the deadline...