Edward Brown, M.S., of Core Edge Image & Charisma Institute provides questions and answers about how and why charismatic leaders are often viewed as Alpha males.
Q: This is almost a “no brainer,” but are charismatic leaders typically Alpha males?
Brown: First, it behooves me to define what an Alpha male is. Dictionary.com defines an Alpha male as “The dominant male animal or person in a group.” Consequently, since the charismatic leader will often be the dominant personality in a group or organization, he will typically be an Alpha male.
Q: Is this dominance mental or physical?
Brown: Often, it may be either or both. Essentially, the charismatic leader sets the course of a mission or crusade and people basically fall in line due to the force and passion of the charismatic leader’s personality.
Q: Since this seems to hinge on influence and persuasion in civil societies, the Alpha male will have to use more brain than brawn. Do you agree?
Brown: Absolutely. As a matter of fact, the charismatic leader as Alpha male would have less or at least short term success, if he relied on force as a legitimate means for establishing and maintaining power.
Q: Since people often demand consensus and an equal voice in decisions, how effective is the Alpha male trait in charismatic leaders for consensus building?
Brown: It depends on the situation and who is willing to assume responsibility for achieving a goal. The operative word is “voice.” It does not mean that merely having a voice carries any real power. A child can have a tantrum, but at the end of the day, he’s going to do what his parents tell him to do. Voices and tantrums are great stress relievers, but they don’t convey any real power. Someone still has to rally the people to get things done. Typically, accomplishing this feat will not be done by the masses.
Q: So, are you saying that the masses are children and the Alpha male (charismatic leader) is the parent?
Brown: In some respect, yes. Many people cannot even govern their own lives, how could they possibly govern others? The charismatic leader as Alpha male is willing to make decisions and assume the responsibilities for ensuring an idea moves from plan to practice. Just like children, the masses like leisure and play, but not the responsibilities in life that require accountability. Any challenges in society that have gone unresolved, often will be addressed by someone courageous and forceful enough to find solutions. This individual is often a charismatic leader.