Recently, I had Brenda Neckvatal, author of a white paper on charismatic leadership, as a guest on my online radio show, Charisma live. Brenda’s research echoed much of what I had discovered about charismatic leadership and so I wanted her to elaborate further. As we discussed her findings, she was pretty candid about having some misgivings about the traits characterized by charismatic personalities; mainly, extreme narcissism, rebuking anyone who disagrees or pushes back against them, a missionary zeal and manipulation (my addition). Initially, as Brenda discovered these traits during her early research, she decided these traits were not ideal. Later, as she analyzed the conceptual framework of charismatic personalities, she begin to expand her paradigmatic predilections to accept that charismatic personalities were a special breed and contributed greatly despite those traits that were antithetical to mainstream thinking. Largely, she followed the data to determine, what, if any real value, charismatic leadership contributed to organizations. We also agreed that charismatics caused schisms among people, because as one segment of the population loved charismatics and their contributions, the other half of the population abhorred their symbolism. The dichotomy came with an understanding that for every benefit to a group of individuals, the same benefit often proves disadvantageous to another group. Consequently, trying to please everyone proved erroneous and shortsighted.
The take away for students of charismatic leadership is to be fully aware and prepared to be loved and despised if you become immersed in an idea that you believe to be transformational. Charismatics accept this truism, although like anyone else, they would wish to be loved and accepted by all.
To listen to the show in its entirety, link to: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/charismalive/2010/07/06/the-emergence-of-charismatic-leadership