Saturday, July 18, 2009

Charisma & The Fight Over Leadership

The interplay between charismatic leadership, transformational leadership, transactional leadership as well as other traditional leadership models is always fascinating. Are pundits trying to determine the ideal leadership model or merely playing each model off each other as a form of brinkmanship? Once more, is a person's personality geared towards one leadership model over another? Certainly, a life-long introvert wouldn't necessarily adopt the Charismatic Leadership Model to follow. While the Charismatic Leadership Model may have ideal traits the introvert may emulate, invariably, the core genotype for charisma may not be present. Consequently, hybrid approaches in leadership development may be necessary based on current social conditions. There has been an ongoing "Intellectual Donnybrook" where pundits square off one leadership style versus another. In the end, the winner is the style most favored personally by the pundit (based on his own temperament).

At the core, each leadership model is attempting to persuade or assuage the natural narcissism within each individual for the greater good of the organization. At the macro level, charismatic leadership may resonate with one group of individuals more viscerally than a traditional form of leadership. At the micro level, a leader may have to use various leadership styles for individuals in a smaller group as a means of group cohesion. It's the leader who is malleable and mutable to the context of the situation as well as the personalities involved who will triumph. While there may be core traits within each leadership model, the would-be leader could and should use leadership models as mere tools for achieving an objective. To suggest a leadership model exists that is purely altruistic is naïve. Whether it's a mission, crusade or profitability, leadership is created to feed the hungry need of the overarching objective.

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