Tuesday, December 20, 2011

How to Use Charisma During Job Searches and Interviews to Increase Your Hiring Opportunities

In November 2011, the unemployment rate reportedly dropped to 8.6% from 9% (Izzo, 2011). For those who were able to secure a job, this was good news. However, for the millions of Americans still searching for employment, the news did not move the needle one iota. The pain and despair of perpetual unemployment for job seekers can be disheartening to say the least. However, there are a few tips and tactics job seekers can enlist to enhance their charisma during job searches and interviews. Although many employers take the “Don’t call us, we’ll call you” approach, job seekers can obtain an edge by developing their charisma. Historically, charismatic leaders have performed best during times of uncertainty.
During job searches, seize any opportunity for personal contacts and connections. Employers go to luncheons, business forums, and conferences to network and share their knowledge. Job seekers, who stay informed by perusing calendars in business newspapers and chronicles for upcoming events, can establish connections by merely going to these venues. Comedic film maker Woody Allen reportedly said that Ninety percent of life is just showing up. Over time, this statement has been transformed to say 90% of success is merely showing up. If you relentlessly show up and creatively engage employers, your odds of landing a job increase.
When making contacts, use charisma and the art of engagement. It is understandable that an individual who has been out of work for a considerable amount of time will not be the most confident and engaging. However, if you are attempting to impress employers, it is imperative that you become a great actor when lacking enthusiasm. People respect strength over weakness and empowerment over begging. Mentally determine that you are in business for yourself and create inexpensive business cards highlighting your expertise. By operating as a free agent, you stress your abilities as a contractor looking for opportunities, which provides you leverage in creating alliances. By asking “open-ended” questions that require extensive responses, as you represent yourself as a problem solver, you create memorable experiences that tap into the employer’s emotions and intellect.
During job interviews, give employers a snap shot of what working with you would be like. When President Obama was campaigning to get elected, he created images that gave the American people a sense of what he would be like as president. Obama’s airplane had his logo attached to it reminiscent of Air Force One. He would create opportunities to go abroad where throngs of crowds would gather to hear him speak creating the image of having Foreign Affairs experience. Every Obama campaign tactic allowed Americans to feel comfortable with a potential Obama Administration. By conducting yourself as if you are already a part of the company (Having done your research about the company), you give the employer a sense of the benefits for hiring you.
Use stories, animation, and passion to persuade employers. Typical interview questions begin with “Tell me a time when you…” prompting you to share relevant experiences that speak to your job qualifications and ability to fit into the corporate setting. By realizing that your performance is an audition for a part in the company, you should make every effort to draw an employer in with your enthusiasm. Many individuals operate at the bare minimum, but energetic people inspire and motivate others toward excellence. By demonstrating a proven track record of accomplishments, you encourage employers to want to hire you as an asset to the company.
During these uncertain times, there are no quick fixes to securing a job. However, by embracing the notion that charisma entails adopting the rules of engagement and a strategic mindset separates you from competitors. Throughout the annals of history, charismatic leaders have used sheer personality, determination, and fortitude to achieve a mission when no one else believed in the feasibility of their efforts. By following the precepts used by charismatic leaders, you can accomplish your mission of finding your ideal job.

Izzo, P. (2011 Dec. 2). Why did the unemployment rate drop? Wall Street Journal (online). Retrieved from: http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2011/12/02/why-did-the-unemployment-rate-drop-5/

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Monday, December 12, 2011

How to Develop Charismatic Leadership Skills

Although there is a shortage of effective leaders in the marketplace, there is even more of a shortage of charismatic leaders. The recent death of Apple’s Steve Jobs not only represented an end of an era, but the passing of a charismatic leader who made technology sexy. To be able to add personality to inanimate objects could only stem from the imagination of a charismatic leader. However, there are a few things an aspiring leader can cultivate in developing charismatic leadership skills.
1. - Charismatic leaders are great innovators. Innovation comes through having a preternatural curiosity about how systems work and uncovering the gaps that make systems less efficient. Using Jobs as an example, he saw that Pop culture was influencing the behavior of individuals. Although technology had to have a utilitarian value attached to it, it also needed to be attractive and engaging. Taking cues from the fashion, entertainment, and automotive industries, charismatic leaders discover the latent desires of consumers and fulfill these desires with objects of affection. To develop your charisma, passionately focus on a challenge within your industry and turn solving problems into a mission. You will gain a following by evangelizing, writing, and developing practical solutions to problems.
2. - Charismatic leaders are introspective. Charismatic leaders spend a lot of time reading, thinking, and synthesizing disparate ideas. Although, charismatic leaders are viewed as “great people” persons, a lot of their time is spent pondering ideas in solitude. Charismatic leaders define themselves by their performance. In the movie, “A Beautiful Mind” with Russell Crowe, John Nash had an insatiable desire to create an idea that would gain him recognition and distinction. Many charismatic leaders are similarly motivated. By pondering and sharing the ideas of personal unresolved and unfulfilled aspirations, charismatic leaders become more engaging to adoring participants. By spending more time reveling in the field of ideas, you become more imaginative and heroic in your pursuits.
3. - Charismatic leaders speak with specificity. Although charismatic leaders are noted for passionate and effective oratory, it is their ability to speak with specificity and detail that makes them magnetic. By providing clear, precise, and practical information, employees are able to see their role in an overarching vision. If you begin breaking a mission down step-by-step with passionate oratory that speaks to the long term manifestation of an idea, you will not only free the employee of ambiguity, you will inspire the employee to create options to the mission you may not have considered. In the end, clear and concise communication is used as a motivational device.
Steve Jobs created Apple using many of these traits. If you see your role on the world’s stage as either transformational or merely trying to positively affect your department, using the strategies of charismatic leaders will allow you to have an edge within your industry. 

For more info., visit:  http://coreedgehrworkforcesolutions.core-edge.com/

Monday, December 5, 2011

How to Use Charisma to Become More Persuasive

Charismatic leaders have a preternatural way of influencing and getting people to do things for them. When taking to extremes, these talents can be viewed as manipulative. However, when accomplished with a sense of mutuality, all parties can benefit from the relationship. The following techniques are used by charismatic leaders to persuade others.
1. Charismatic leaders seek to fulfill hidden as well as expressed needs of others. Charismatic leaders are versed in human nature and know that individuals will generally respond to requests when these requests are tied to a core need within the individual. Charismatic leaders ask questions to determine these needs by tapping into the emotional as well as mental dynamics of individuals. Open-ended questions such as “That’s interesting, what is the greatest challenge you regularly experience in your company?,” help charismatic leaders determine a person’s motivation. By empathizing and sharing experiences that relate to the individual, charismatic leaders create initiatives that recruit people who have a vested interest in a mission.
2. Charismatic leaders speak with passion and specificity. Contrary to popular beliefs about charismatic leaders, they are not “pie in the sky” visionaries who spout impractical and lofty ideas. Charismatic leaders are adept at spotting opportunities and speak directly about the benefits as well as the challenges surrounding a mission. The passion by charismatic leaders stem from their willingness to “own” or personalize initiatives. The personalization of a mission takes on a crusade-like zeal that becomes infectious to potential supporters. Also, Charismatic leaders articulate the completion of tasks within a step-by-step plan that inspires followers to embrace the feasibility of a mission.
3. Charismatic leaders are relentless. Because of personalization and the feasibility of a challenging mission, charismatic leaders judge themselves by their performance. For charismatic leaders, achieving a goal is not merely meeting an objective, but a self-defining opportunity to prove their worth. The tireless efforts of charismatic leaders stem from their identity being wrapped into the mission. As a result, followers are inspired by the leader’s commitment.
To emulate the leadership qualities of charismatic leaders, determine what your core needs are, adopt a mission as your own, commit to it, and execute activities until the mission is complete. By demonstrating and implementing these traits, you will not only find your passion for projects, but people will follow you based on their self-interest.

For more info., Charisma

Monday, November 21, 2011

How Charismatic Leaders Handle Difficult People

Although charismatic leaders are skillful at handling people in general, they are strategists at handling difficult or hard to get along with people who may be impediments to their goals. Charismatic leaders handle difficult people by:

1. Making an assessment about the social environment they enter. Before any actions are made, charismatic leaders determine the personalities and behaviors of the individuals within an environment. If for example, a manager micromanages a department, the charismatic leader is observational and cautious before interacting with the manager. In this instance, difficulty often stems from the manager’s need for control. The charismatic leader does not give up personal power, but is willing to share power by establishing non-verbal communication boundaries with the manager. The charismatic leader “picks his battles” by determining which issues to address and which issues to ignore.

2.Choosing to be respected rather than to be loved. Charismatic leaders adore being admired, but never at the behest of being disrespected. Difficult people often prey on the weak and will continue exercising disempowering behavior as long as the conditions allow. Charismatic leaders do not thrive in weak relationships, particularly if they are the ones being preyed upon. In this vein, charismatic leaders command respect by never horsing around, pandering, or acting from a position of weakness. Charismatic leaders choose to be professional rather than being nice when dealing with difficult people.

3.Communicating candidly. Difficult people can be crass and stern. Charismatic leaders have the knowledge and comportment to express discontent behind closed doors. Charismatic leaders speak with precision pointing specifically to lapses in communication and asking for, and recommending future ways effective communications can be established. By setting and controlling the stage, charismatic leaders maintain power in determining the protocol for future interactions.

Essentially, charismatic leaders institute a strong presence within an environment, which disallows debilitating or denigrating behavior. To gain leverage over difficult people, charismatic leaders understand that image management and self-control are the keys to maintaining poise and power. The ability to handle and manage difficult people lies in the charismatic leader’s ability to lead with strength, reason, and open lines of communication.

Related: Charisma

Monday, November 14, 2011

How Charisma Could Help Occupy Atlanta and Other Protestors Accomplish Their Goals

To bring about fundamental changes within an industry requires a few rules of engagement:

1. Choose a leader who has compelling speaking skills and can articulate a vision that even opponents can respect. Protestors must be media conscious in selecting a leader who speaks with passion and uses imagery and logic to make a case for the mission. Opponents of protestors will listen and modify behavior if they feel a charismatic leader is a threat to their interests.

2. Create an “Angel vs. Villain” storyline. If financial institutions are the villains, protestors should protest the actual locations of financial institutions or affiliates. For protestors to attack public parks causing destruction where tax payers are on the hook produces enemies. Protestors should use the playbook of historical movements. By updating and replicating the success of past demonstrations shows knowledge of history that is progressive and applicable to current organizational needs.

3. Monetize the organization as well as the event. The perpetuity of a crusade necessitates a nexus between grass roots support and long term financial sustainability. Any organization that does not have a financial and marketing component to its operations is doomed for failure.

4. Begin as a fringe organization, but ultimately become mainstream. Americans typically are socially liberal and fiscally conservative. Consequently, a movement that does not take on some of the characteristics of established institutions will be dismissed as a passing fancy. Protestors, no matter how committed, will not gain credibility if they do not professionalize the organization and the movement.

Charismatic leaders are effective at embodying the message and mission of a crusade as well as creating a detailed strategy. Converse to the idea of charismatic leaders being visionaries, they are excellent strategists in meeting the internal needs of protestors and the general public. Occupy protestors will fail if a leader does not emerge with the star appeal of a Barack Obama and the marketing wisdom of a Steve Jobs.

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Sunday, November 6, 2011

Did Kim Kardashian Leave Kris Humphries Because He Lacked Charisma?

In this session, charisma expert and commentator Edward Brown weighs in on the impact of charisma on the celebrity marriage of Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries.

Q: What impact did charisma or the lack of charisma have on the marriage of Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries?

A: Essentially, charisma is a way of gaining power and influence within interpersonal relationships. If you notice, Kim controlled the imagery, dialogue, and direction of the wedding from day one. Kris was a pawn in the power game from the beginning. Had he been more influential and persuasive through charisma, they would be together now.

Q: So, how could Kris have been more powerful?

A: First, he should have been aware of the motivation that drives Kim. She essentially is like actor George Hamilton, famous for being famous. If fame is her driving force, the two could have built a dual entertainment brand like BeyoncĂ© and Jay-Z. Instead, he misread his role in Kim’s marketing machine and thought love would be a saving grace. He married for love, she married for headlines. Second, Kris let Kim dominate the dialogue. The person with the bigger microphone and stronger personality controls the direction and momentum of the relationship. He should have dominated interviews, acted like he had second thoughts to gain leverage, and become emotionally detached about the event.

Q: Interesting. Many would say that love and marriage should have less gamesmanship involved?

A: We have to review and rethink what marriage means in contemporary society. Actor Will Smith said that he and wife Jada got married to create a family-run entertainment empire. Will said they needed something bigger than love and physical attraction to build a marriage on. Their children, Jaden and Willow, are entertainers because of the Will and Jada entertainment machine. People are redefining what marriage means today. As a NBA basketball player, Kris is not a Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, or Blake Griffin. The biggest value to Kim’s marketing machine is Kris’ affiliation with the NBA. Had Kris understood the larger picture, he could have been to Kim what NBA basketball star Tony Parker was to actress Eva Langoria; the merging of two entertainment brands.

Q: Okay. So Kris blew the opportunity because he didn’t understand the game. What should he do now?

A: The best marketing for a non-charismatic man is the connection to a beautiful woman. Kris will be forever linked with Kim, which will allow him access to the world of eligible starlets. Moving forward, he should never again operate from a position of weakness. He should learn to be more witty, self-promoting, and realistic about how the world operates. Real love still exists, but in a media generated society, love is used as a mere storyline to a continuous movie. Kris got married to Kim for love. In the future, love should be in conjunction with a more compelling reason to be married. Today, you are as a powerful as the impact you make on the world stage and as enduring as your ability to leverage opportunities.

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What do you think?

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Charismatic Leadership in the Public Sector

Javidan and Waldman (2003) looked at the impact of charismatic leadership in the public sector. They found that leaders who are risk takers in pursuit of their visions instill higher esteem in subordinates. Also leaders who encouraged independent thinking and provided constructive feedback tended to build the esteem of subordinates. Charismatic leadership was perceived within the public sector, but it may not produce the same performance or motivational results typically associated in the private sector. Although there are degrees of uncertainty, crisis, and turbulence within the public sector, conditions in which charisma leaders tend to flourish, these factors do not appear to affect employees the same in the public sector as their private sector counterparts. A possible reason could be the merit system that many public jobs are based, protects workers from being dismissed without cause. Javidan and Waldman ruled that more research was needed in determining the impact of charismatic leadership in the public sector. However, these authors did note that environmental uncertainty manifested itself in the way of political changes, budget cuts, natural disasters, etc… They could not conclusively determine these factors on charismatic leaders’ effectiveness in the public sector.


Javidan, M. and Waldman, D.A. (2003 Mar./Apr.). Exploring charismatic leadership in the public sector: Measurement and consequences. Public Administration Review, 63(2), 229-242.

For more information, visit:  Charisma

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Creating Loyalty within Employees & Followers through Charismatic Leadership

Researchers on the charismatic leadership model often lambast charismatic leaders for being selfish, self-absorbed, and narcissistic in their dealings with followers. The same researchers criticize followers for being, helpless, mindless sycophants who exhibit codependent traits that rob them of their self-identity. However, very few, if any, researchers have embraced the mutually beneficial and symbiotic relationship between charismatic leaders and followers. Philosopher Thomas Carlyle postulated that individuals seem to be hard-wired for hero worshipping. In other words, if there were no demigods to worship, individuals would somehow create their own. Cicero and Pierro (2007) hypothesized that charismatic leadership is positively associated with followers’ work effort, job involvement, job satisfaction, and performance, and negatively associated with turnovers. Cicero and Pierro’s finding agreed with past researchers that charismatic leadership was positively related to work group identification. Also there was a correlation between charismatic leadership and organizational outcomes. Cicero and Pierro results seem to suggest that there is a direct connection between charismatic leadership and employee performance in that employees have a greater proclivity to work optimistically and productively when a charismatic leader is at the helm. De Hoogh et al. (2004) drew a correlation between charismatic leadership and subordinates’ positive work attitudes. Employees had a greater willingness to invest in efforts to achieving organizational goals.

Galvin, Balkundi, and Waldman (2010) discussed the ability of charismatic leaders to develop disciples or surrogates within an organization. The authors said these surrogates promote, defend, and model behavior after the charismatic leader. Charismatic leaders identify and train surrogates, either formally or informally, which allows charismatic leaders to have influence in distant areas within an organization. Surrogates create networks, social processes, and flow information within the organization. These networks serve as means for the charismatic leader to influence an organization by dispersing information. Although a rouge surrogate could harm a networked system by sending information oppositional to the goals of the charismatic leader, the authors note that surrogates are selected to occupy their positions based on the supportive behavior they exhibit in line with the desires of the charismatic leader.

In many respects, narcissism is the fuel that prompts charismatics to go farther than the average individual in achieving goals within and without crisis situations. Eminent psychologist Alfred Adler described this aspect of narcissism as the “Superiority Complex.” Maniacci (2007) asserts:

They see others from the vantage point of who is above—or below—whom. If they are not on top, they feel grossly inferior. Others tend to feel inadequate around them. They are overly responsible, too involved, and far too controlling. When confronted with the possibility of not being superior, these people blame, attack, and criticize others. They may be wrong, but others are more wrong than they are. They hate the notion of not having a purpose in life, and they often work too hard and far too long. Winning is everything, and they are willing to cut corners, cheat, or even hurt others if they perceive themselves as losing. Winning is not the only thing: It is everything. They are excessively concerned with their appearance, and while they often take care of their outward appearance through dressing well and superb hygiene, they often neglect their inner health, both emotionally and physically. They are far too busy achieving to be worried about such things, and after all, they are special, so they don't have to worry about diets, sleep, and their health—nothing could ever happen to them (p.138-139).

When these characteristics are exemplified within charismatics, it is often seen as “missionary zeal” and “the love and concern” for people. In actuality, people are mere pleasantries utilized to implement and bring to fruition an ultimate goal. “In advance of performance, narcissists seem to care most about attaining desirable rewards associated with meeting or exceeding performance goals, and they typically show less concern about the prospect of failing to achieve the desired goal” (Wallace, et al, 2009. P. 79). It is important to note that these vainglorious acts are cultivated by an enabling culture. Western culture, which relishes and embraces its Judeo-Christian leanings, inherently support the narcissism of individuals generally and charismatics, specifically. A tenet which espouses man being created in the image of an omnipotent God-head, by definition relegates man to a superior position. If everything is created by a superior being than how did man become the inheritor of this largesse? Man’s self-importance, through scriptural edict or ethnic domination, saw fit to find self-defining roles to pit his esteem against real or perceived adversaries. “Throughout history, the pretense of masculine superiority has had to be continually reinforced by patriarchal laws, religion, and cultural rituals and ceremonies that elevated men and made woman subservient, all too often through the application of brute power and violence. The appearance of harmony between the genders was more often the experience of subjugation by fear, male dominance followed by the submissive acts of women who had been stripped of power and status in the world” (Bitter, 2008, p.271).

Essentially, the symbiotic relationship between charismatic leaders and followers is based on the need of charismatic leaders to be adored by followers and the need of followers to adore charismatic leaders. In this sense, both parties are getting their needs met. Researchers who denigrate this notion rely on an over-idealistic, extremely sanguine reality of human nature. To deny the personality, experiences, and environmental influences of charismatic leaders is disavowing the evolutionary process that brings these individuals into existence. In addition, the inherent need of followers to achieve hope and certainty in their lives via religious affiliation or charismatic leadership is also disavowed by researchers who attempt to intellectually disconnect an emotional connection.

Instead of researchers attempting to divide the needs of charismatic leaders and followers as a means of establishing some utopic idealism, it would be better to allow the intellectual and emotional relationship to exist between charismatic leaders and followers. In short, allow the charismatic leader to be loved by adoring followers and followers to find encouragement, inspiration, and hope within the ideals of the charismatic leader. Invariably, researchers cannot have it both ways---organizational development, social cohesion, and collectivism at the behest of rugged individualism, hopelessness, and barbarism. The idea of the fully-contained individual devoid of the need for external support, emotional attachment, and unadulterated self-confidence is illusory. Such understanding by researchers suggests a naiveté and myopia about human nature and the world that is counterproductive to social progress.


Bitter. J. (2008 Fall). Reconsidering narcissism: An Adlerian-feminist response to the article in the special section of the journal of individual psychology. The Journal of Individual Psychology, 64(3), 270-279.

Cicero, L., and Pierro, A. (2007 Oct.) Charismatic leadership and organizational outcomes: The mediating role of employees’ work-group identification. International Journal of Psychology, 42(5), 297-306.

De Hoogh, A., den Hartog, D., Koopman, P., Thierry, H., van den Berg P., van der Weide, J., and Wilderom, C. (2004 Dec.). Charismatic leadership, environmental dynamism, and performance. European Journal of Work & Organizational Psychology, 13(4), 447-471.

Galvin, B., Balkundi, P., and Waldman, D.A. (2010 Jul.). Spreading the word: The role of surrogates in charismatic leadership. Academy of Management Review, 35(3), 477-494.

Maniacci, M.P. (2007 Summer). His majesty the baby: Narcissism through the lens of individual psychology. Journal of Individual Psychology, 63(2), 136-145.

Wallace. H.M., Ready, C.B. , and Weitenhagen, E. (2009 Jan-Mar.). Narcissism and task persistence. Self & Identity, 8(1), 78-93.

For more information, visit: Charisma

Sunday, October 16, 2011

How Corporate Boards Choose Charismatic Leaders

Often the board of directors is not an effective auditor for recruiting and monitoring the actions of charismatic leaders. Greve (2004) pointed to Khurana’s (2002) work on the irrational search for charismatic CEOs. Board of directors of major corporations believe strongly in the ability of a CEO to rescue a troubled firm. This irrational enthusiasm stems from: 1. Directors taking cues from securities analysts and business journals prompting directors to believe that a celebrity CEO can turn around a company’s low performance, 2. Directors evaluating CEOs based on past performance and viewing social traits characterized as charisma as a panacea, and 3. Directors and analysts being complicit in choosing a CEO based on these preconceived notions of CEO value. Invariably, there is no voice of reason between directors and analysts in auditing and objectively searching for a CEO with the best overall fit within a company’s corporate culture. Once a board sets its sights on a specific CEO, analysts follow suit. Greve’s reported that this favoritism toward charismatic CEOs has impact on organizational development. First, by choosing a CEO based on past performance or celebrity status before searching inside the company for qualified candidates causes low morale within the company. Second, directors operate from a position of weakness in contractual negotiations with a highly sought-after CEO. Inflated expectations of the new CEO is a recipe for failure when expectations do not materialize based on high expectations, risky strategic decisions, and the exorbitant power of the new CEO. Corporate challenges may be more complex than originally defined or take longer to solve than anticipated.


Greve, H. (2004 May). Searching for a corporate savior: The irrational quest for charismatic ceos reviewed work(s). American Journal of Sociology, 109(6), 1542-1544.

Khurana, R. (2002). Searching for a corporate savior: The irrational quest for charismatic ceos. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.

For more information, visit: Charisma

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Charismatic Leaders Spark Innovation Within Followers

Michaelis, Stegmaier, and Sonntag (2009) said that charismatic leadership is related to innovation implementation behavior and plays a significant role in followers demonstrating behavior characterized as innovative. Second, this innovative-oriented environment allows followers to create a greater trust for the leader, particularly as it relates to the opportunity for followers to be change agents in that environment. Third, followers had to feel trust in the innovative aspirations of top managers as well as immediate managers. It was more important for followers to trust in top management because top management is where the fundamental changes within an organization take place. If top management was not committed to change initiatives, it logically follows that trust in immediate managers would be limited.


Michaelis, B., Stegmaier, R., and Sonntag, K. (2009 Dec.). Affective commitment to change and innovation implementation behavior: The role of charismatic leadership and employees’ trust in top management. Journal of Change Management, 9(4), 399-417.

For more information, visit: Charisma

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Charismatic Leaders Develop Disciples to Influence Organizational Development

Galvin, Balkundi, and Waldman (2010) discussed the ability of charismatic leaders to develop disciples or surrogates within an organization. The authors said these surrogates promote, defend, and model behavior after the charismatic leader. Charismatic leaders identify and train surrogates, either formally or informally, which allows charismatic leaders to have influence in distant areas within an organization. Surrogates create networks, social processes, and flow information within the organization. These networks serve as means for the charismatic leader to influence an organization by dispersing information. Although a rouge surrogate could harm a networked system by sending information oppositional to the goals of the charismatic leader, the authors note that surrogates are selected to occupy their positions based on the supportive behavior they exhibit in line with the desires of the charismatic leader.


Galvin, B., Balkundi, P., and Waldman, D.A. (2010 Jul.). Spreading the word: The role of surrogates in charismatic leadership. Academy of Management Review, 35(3), 477-494.

For more information, visit: Charisma

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Environments for Charismatic Leadership

Shamir and Howell (1999) spoke about the environmental conditions best suited and most ill-suited for charismatic leaders. Shamir and Howell said charismatic leaders are more likely to emerge in weak or uncertain environments where performance is difficult to measure, because emotions run high and individuals are easier to influence in their desire for things to return to normal. Conversely, charismatic leaders are ill-suited when environmental conditions are strong or stable, because individuals are more certain and rational requiring more transactional rewards for increased productivity. The determination of whether environmental conditions are weak or strong is purely subjective and decided by employees.


Shamir, B., and Howell, J.M. (1999 Summer). Organizational and contextual influences on the emergence and effectiveness of charismatic leadership. Leadership Quarterly, 10(2), 257.

For more information, visit: Charisma

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Transactional Nature of Charismatic Leadership

Often researchers who view charismatic leaders as expert manipulators do not investigate the transactional relationship between the charismatic leader and followers. Kallis (2006) discussed the impact of leaders and followers who benefited within the German and Italian military under Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini. To suggest that the German and Italian citizenry followed the dictates of Hitler and Mussolini out of fear would undermine the strengths of the charismatic leadership model. Although each man articulated and exemplified an ideal for his respective country, a transactional relationship existed between the leaders and followers. Followers supported Hitler and Mussolini, because these leaders instilled the self-respect and integrity within their followers lost in World War I. Both leaders represented the glory and esteem that their fellow countrymen saw within themselves. Kallis suggested that this intangible exchange created an unqualified psychological contract between the leaders and followers. In essence, if Hitler and Mussolini could restore their respective countries to greatness, they could garner continual support from constituents. Loyalty among followers grew incrementally as the charisma of the two leaders created a mythology of future prosperity. Hitler and Mussolini became prophets and messiahs to their followers.


Kallis, A. (2006, June). Fascism, ‘charisma’ and ‘charismatisation’: Weber’s model of ‘charismatic domination’ and interwar European fascism. Totalitarian Movements & Political Religion, 7(1), 25-43.

For more information, visit: Charisma

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Charismatic Leader's Speaking Style

DeVries, Bakker-Pieper, and Oostenveld (2010) noted the dynamics of charismatic leader’s communication style. They submitted that a charismatic leader’s communication style is characterized as assured, supportive, argumentative, precise, and verbally non-aggressive. These authors also found that expressiveness was not believed to be related to charismatic leadership. DeVries, Bakker-Pieper, and Oostenveld said that expressiveness is not a necessary trait for charismatic leaders to reach their goals. Mahatma Gandhi is an example of a less expressive charismatic leader, yet effective. In addition, preciseness of a charismatic leader’s communication style had a significant effect on the leader’s performance and satisfaction by subordinates. A charismatic leader’s preciseness, together with the leader’s supportiveness, lent greatly to enhancing subordinates knowledge collecting from the leader.


DeVries, R., Bakker-Pieper, A., and Oostenveld, W. (2010 Sep.). Leadership=communication? The relations of leaders’ communication styles with leadership styles, knowledge sharing and leadership outcomes. Journal of Business & Psychology, 25(3), 367-380.

For more information, visit: Charisma

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Charismatic Leadership Versus Transformational Leadership

Researchers disagree about charismatic leadership and transformational leadership being synonymous or two distinct leadership models. Den Hartog, House, Hanges, Ruiz-Quintanilla, and Dorfman (1999) stated in their study that several attributes reflecting charismatic/transformational leadership are universally endorsed as contributing to outstanding leadership. These attributes include: motive arouser, foresight, encouraging, communicative, trustworthy, dynamic, positive, confidence builder, and motivational.

However, Yukl (1999) drew a distinction between the two leadership models. Yukl stressed that transformational leaders seem more likely to take initiatives that empower followers and make followers partners in an endeavor. Contrarily, charismatic leaders seem more likely to emphasize the need for radical organizational changes that can be accomplished if followers place their trust in the charismatic leader’s abilities. The core behavior, motivation, and traits make transformational and charismatic leadership unlikely to occur at the same time.

Dubrin (2010) noted that a key component of transformational leadership is the leader’s ability to inspire people and make major changes within an organization. Although charismatic leaders are inspirational, they do not bring about major changes within an organization (Dubrin, 2010). Johnson (2012) argued that charismatic leadership and transformational leadership were not interchangeable terms. Johnson suggested that charismatic leadership is more individual or personality centered in that followers had emotional ties to the leader that approached idol worship. The transformational leader encouraged followers to be independent of leadership; whereas the charismatic leader encouraged followers to rely on the leader.

Johnson postulated that transformational leaders raise the morality of both leaders and followers and serve as a model for ideal behavior. On the other hand, charismatic leadership is more results focused. Johnson believed emphatically that transformational leaders are charismatic, but that charismatic leaders are not necessarily transformational. Charismatic leaders are more concerned about what works as opposed to what is right. Johnson appeared not to disagree that charismatic leaders affect organizational development, but inherently believed that the moral barometer within charismatic leaders is ethically skewed toward achieving successful results at any cost. Johnson appeared suspicious of the charismatic leader’s motives and seemed to suggest that impure thoughts produce impure results.


Den Hartog, D.N., House, R.J., Hanges, P.J., Ruiz-Quintanilla, S.A., and Dorfman, P.W. (1999 Summer). Culture specific and cross culturally generalizable implicit leadership theories: are attributes of charismatic/transformational leadership universally endorsed? Leadership Quarterly, 10(2), 219.

Dubrin, A. J. (2010). Leadership: research, findings, and skills, 6th edition. Ohio: South-Western Centage Learning.

Johnson, C.E. (2012). Meeting the ethical challenges of leadership: Casting light or shadow, 4th ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc.

Yukl. G. (1999 Summer). An evaluation of conceptual weaknesses in transformational and charismatic leadership theories. Leadership Quarterly, 10(2), 285.

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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Is the Charismatic Leader a Super Hero?

The Charismatic leadership model offers other challenges to researchers. Often charismatic leaders are viewed as superheroes that swoop down in a moment of need, reminiscent of fictional characters such as Batman and Superman. Within organizational development, finding these heroes becomes even more challenging during times of crisis. Jacobsen (2001) showed that all the conditions that should create the charismatic leader’s appearance, does not. Shamir, House, and Arthur (noted within Jacobsen’s study) mapped the conditions when charismatic leaders appear. The charismatic leader’s appearance is most apt when: 1. The situation is perceived to threaten important values, 2. The relationship between performance and goal achievement is nebulous, 3. The situation is unstable, and 4. The task requires exceptional effort. Attempting to reconcile some sense of pragmatism between the superhuman traits under Jacobsen’s concept with the realism under Callan’s views makes identifying the traits, conditions, and environment that much more problematic to uncover.

Jacobsen tried to bridge the gap empirically by identifying six historical figures deemed charismatic by their transforming an organization, country, or movement. Some individuals included John F. Kennedy, Lee Iacocca, and Adolf Hitler. The biggest challenge with attempting to gauge the charismatic leadership models’ impact on organizational development under Jacobsen is that it happens after the fact. Once the event is over and recorded by history, researchers are tasked with attempting to analyze and articulate what happened. This is more the challenge with monumental events. The impact of the event cannot be thought until it transpires. Contemporary CEOs such as the late automotive designer John DeLorean and Hewlett Packard’s (HP) Carly Fiorina, who was ousted by HP, are not emblematic of the invincibility attributed to the charismatic leadership model. Though they were rising stars at one point of their careers, they could not maintain the luster of the charismatic leader. The subjectivity of the charismatic leadership model makes it such that success is measured far into the future compared to the objective standards ascribed to the traditional leadership model. With the traditional leadership model, the CEO enhances stakeholder profitability, cuts costs, and expands into new markets or does not.

Jacobsen, C. (2001 Spring). Dynamics of charismatic leadership: A process theory, simulation model, and tests. Leadership Quarterly, 12(1), 75.

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