Monday, January 30, 2012

Great Leadership through Charisma

Warren Bennis and Burt Nanus assert in “Leaders: The Strategies for Taking Charge,” that “charisma is the result of effective leadership, not the other way around.” A recent report on the measurability of charisma co-authored by Kenneth Levine, Communications Studies Professor at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, suggests that traits like: empathy, good listening skills, eye contact, enthusiasm, self-confidence and skillful speaking are measurable by social scientists. After surveying students to assess the means of defining and characterizing charisma, these learnable traits were viewed as the hallmark of charisma. Following this line of thinking to its logical conclusion suggests that any individual demonstrating these traits would be described as charismatic. In this sense, charisma would be the affectation of certain physical traits, not a specific personality trait or worldview. In this context, charismatic traits are not inborn, but learned. Going even farther, one could assert that the world would have more charismatic leaders if only more individuals possessed these physical traits. This notion is contrary to the work established by Charisma Researcher Edward Brown of Core Edge Image & Charisma Institute.

Brown asserts that traits like eye contact, effective listening skills, enthusiasm, passion and other traits are the manifestations of charisma, not charisma in its pristine form. If everyone learned the skills for becoming more charismatic, there would not be a larger number of charismatic leaders, but a larger number of people demonstrating charismatic traits. Brown is careful to not “split hairs,” when demarcating the differences. The likes of Adolph Hitler, Alexander Hamilton and Martin L. King, Jr. represent perspectives of grand ideas that transcend the physical mannerisms of charismatic personalities. Charismatic traits are the means by which charismatic leaders express ideas. The reason there would not be more charismatic leaders in the world if more people learned these behaviors (greater eye contact, empathy, effective listening, etc…) is because these individuals would not necessarily be motivated by compelling ideas. This is the critical distinction between charismatic personalities and individuals exhibiting charismatic traits. In addition, when charisma is measured based on these physical attributes, the results could be a “false positive.” Yes, one may score high on charismatic mannerisms, but low on the ability to create transformational ideas. The distinction can be characterized as one merely going through the motions versus one who thinks, feels, analyzes, synthesizes and embodies a crusade or mission. To relegate charismatic leaders to mere “actors” would suggest that behind the mask is a chameleon who seeks merely to inspire good feelings within others rather than transform a specific human condition. This is largely why charismatic leaders have been more effective during times of crisis and instability. Charismatic leaders believe they are best suited for the situation at hand, which encompasses ego, narcissism, insecurity and visions of grandeur which are inextricable traits within charismatic personalities. Individuals who score high on charismatic scales would view such traits as oppositional to their self-image as well as antithetical to their ideals on charisma.

Measuring charisma and its manifestation is valuable for developing more effective interpersonal skills within organizations. The ability to coordinate and create alliances will always be indispensable to the viability of organizations. However, there must be a distinction between what it means to be congenial versus what it means to be transformational within organizations. To confuse the two would merely create more questions than answers.

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Sunday, January 22, 2012

How to Make Money Using the Tactics of Charismatic Leaders

Chief executive officers (CEOs) who exude intelligence, optimism and leadership don’t necessarily help their companies perform better than less charismatic counterparts – but they do tend to draw higher salaries and better perks (Tosi & Hoover, 2002).  Tosi and Hoover suggested that the University of Florida study comparing the salaries of charismatic CEOs versus non-charismatic CEOs showed the strength of a charismatic CEO in affecting his or her salary.  However, Tosi and Hoover did not articulate the necessary optimism and skills charismatic leaders bring to a company that breeds a large degree of trust, confidence, and productivity within employees. There are few things that charismatic leaders do to increase profitability within their companies that you can emulate to increase your earning potential.

1--- Charismatic leaders are innovative. Charismatic leaders are relentless in discovering inefficiencies and ways for improving them. These leaders have a preternatural way of finding gaps within companies as well as the marketplace. The late Steve Jobs of Apple is an excellent example of charismatic leaders’ ability to innovate. By looking at the marketplace and the emerging needs of consumers, Apple’s invention of I-Tunes transformed the music industry into marketing and selling music online differently. If you scour inefficiencies within your company, industry or marketplace looking for products or services that meet the needs of customers, but have not be invented yet, you have hit on a potentially money making venture. You don’t even have to invent a product or service. Merely tweak existing products and services to improve on functionality and it can lead to profitability.

2--- Charismatic leaders lead missions and crusades. Since 1982, the Susan G. Komen for the Cure has raised more than $1.5 billion towards breast cancer research. This foundation and mission was started as a result of Susan Komen dying of breast cancer at the age of thirty-three.  As of March 2009, Komen CEO Hala G. Moddelmog earned a salary of $459, 406.00 (Yahoo! Voices, 2010).  Obviously, The Cure was a humanitarian mission devoid of personal financial gain.  However, charismatic leaders use personal hardships, setbacks, and failures as a springboard to immersing themselves into a crusade.  In this vein, charismatic leaders can do good and well simultaneously.  If there is a cause you believe in that would enhance your life, designate yourself the CEO and create a foundation around your cause. With the right message that taps into a core need within a specific population, you can help eradicate a social or health issue as well as create a comfortable living.

3--- Charismatic leaders develop alliances that are mutually beneficial. During the 1990’s, Multilevel Marketing (MLM) was hugely popular for individuals looking for ways to gain financial freedom. Mary Kay, ACN, Amway, and host of other MLM opportunities paved the way for individuals to create income at the ground level.  Unfortunately, many participants became disillusioned because financial returns were not immediate and expectations were not met. Charismatic leaders are effective at picking up the ball where others have dropped it. By creating a product or service where participants are able to make money through partnerships or the selling of your product/services for a fee, you can use the same business model as MLMs and attract individuals looking for such business opportunities.

4--- Charismatic leaders are effective at finding hidden opportunities.  As visionaries, charismatic leaders see opportunities where others may see despair. A friend recently reported her daughter buying inexpensive items at consignment shops and selling these items on EBay for 200% above the originally purchased price. By leveraging the auctioning platforms on the Internet, you can begin selling items that formerly would have merely rested on the shelves of second-hand stores.

Charismatic leaders make a decision on what they want in life and doggedly pursue their aspirations until they have achieved their objectives. If you set your mind to making more money following the tactics of charismatic leaders, you can build a profitable organization that provides your desired lifestyle.


Szabo, L. (2010 Sept. 29). A ‘promise’ spurred Susan G. Komen breast fight. USA Today (online). Retrieved from:

Tosi, H. and Hoover, A. (2002 July 2). UF study: Charismatic ceos more effective…at snaring higher pay.  University of Florida News. Retrieved from:

Yahoo! Voices (2010). Nonprofit ceo salaries: Jobs that pay well over 300k a year. Retrieved from:

For more info., visit: Charisma

Monday, January 16, 2012

Leadership Training for Aspiring Charismatic Leaders

Leadership training has and always will be a significant part of organizational development.  Unfortunately, organizations are not becoming more effective with the onslaught of new leadership models, because many, if not most, fail to consider the model that best fits the personality of the manager.  There may be consensus among researchers about what components should go into a leadership program, but very little feedback on dissecting the manager’s personality and the leadership model best suited for that personality. Amisano (n.d.) asserted that an effective leadership program should have these components in the curriculum:

·         Effective Communication—Learning the essential parts of effective communicating, includes: active listening, paraphrasing, and motivation.
·         Influencing People—Enlisting positive reinforcement and persuasive techniques that inspire employees toward contributing to the mission of the organization.
·         Management—Outlining and implementing how each person fits into the structure of the organization.
·         Build Trust—Being reliable by leading with openness and competence.
·         Delegate—Sharing tasks and responsibilities that affect the long term benefits of the organization.

Although Amisano outlined the essentials for a general leadership development training program, charismatic personalities may require extensive self-study supported by the disciplines within the Humanities.  The psychodynamics of historical figures from Napoleon Bonaparte to Bill Clinton suggest that charismatic leaders have a preternatural curiosity about human nature and leadership training for aspiring charismatic leaders should focus on subjects within Liberal Arts (Literature, philosophy, history, social sciences, etc…).  Charismatic leaders are shaped and formed by their heroic deeds and need to connect with historical figures that embody their aspirations.  Specialized training for aspiring charismatic leaders should entail the following components.

---Charismatic leaders are case study driven.  The missionary zeal that charismatic leaders possess necessitates training that point to epic heroes and triumphs in history.  Reportedly, Alexander the Great was influenced by the hero in Homer’s “Iliad.” Julius Caesar and Napoleon Bonaparte were believed to have been influenced by Alexander the Great.  Training for aspiring charismatic leaders should tap into their vivid imaginations and great ambitions.  Charismatic leaders do not merely want to excel within an organization; they want to transform the industry.  

---Charismatic leaders have advanced oratorical skills. Amisano spoke about the need for effective communication skills that involved active listening, paraphrasing and motivation.  However, charismatic leaders use advanced oratorical skills, not only to arouse emotions within audiences, but to transform initiatives through direct action by employees. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. might have listened to his Civil Rights cohorts behind closed doors, but his tool for transformation came from his oratorical skills at the podium. Charismatic leaders are well versed at creating imagery that inspires and encourages audiences to achieve a mission.  Leadership training for aspiring charismatic leaders should focus on persuasive speaking.  The ability to speak with passion, clarity, and specificity are the powers that charismatic leaders possess that make them iconic.

-----Charismatic leaders are known for being visionaries.  Actually, charismatic leaders are excellent at dissecting and deciphering inefficiencies within an organization. The visionary traits attributed to charismatic leaders are often a result of compiling facts, critical thinking, and finding solutions to various problems.  The late Steve Jobs of Apple is an excellent example of a charismatic leader’s ability to discover inefficiencies within the marketplace.  By looking at the marketplace and the emerging needs of consumers, Apple’s invention of I-Tunes transformed the music industry into marketing and selling music online differently.  Leadership training for aspiring charismatic leaders should include problem solving exercises that enhance their critical thinking skills. 

Like any leadership development program, curriculum should be created that invigorates and motivates aspiring charismatic leaders to flourish where they exhibit the greatest strengths. By developing leadership training that addresses the visceral aspects of an individual, more leaders will emerge, generally, and more charismatic leaders, specifically.


Amisano, C. (n.d.). Components of leadership training.eHow (Money). Retrieved from:

For more info., visit: Charisma

Monday, January 9, 2012

How to Start Your Own Business Using the Strategies of Charismatic Leaders

Some experts suggest that the best time to start a business is during recessionary times as a means of personal fulfillment and a way to jump start the economy.  Several successful companies got their starts during economic upheaval.   Strauss (2003) noted that:
  • 16 of the 30 corporations that make up the Dow Jones industrial average got their starts during recessions.
  • Disney began during the recession of 1923-24.
  • Hewlett-Packard was begun during the Great Depression (in 1938).
  • Microsoft began during the 1975 recession.
However, starting a business during a recession as well as times of prosperity is a challenging task requiring prudence and effective planning. Since most aspiring business owners will most likely begin their business with limited capital and paltry business contacts, personality, passion, and persistence will be your greatest resources. Charismatic leaders operate most effectively when they lack the necessary capital and connections that would prevent traditional leaders from attempting the task.  By following the strategies of charismatic leaders for starting your own business, you can thrive during recessionary times. Here are a few strategies of charismatic leaders.

---Charismatic leaders are known for being visionaries.  Actually, charismatic leaders are excellent at dissecting and deciphering inefficiencies within the marketplace. The visionary traits attributed to charismatic leaders are often a result of compiling facts, critical thinking, and finding solutions to various problems.  The late Steve Jobs of Apple is an excellent example of charismatic leader’s ability to discover inefficiencies within the marketplace.  By looking at the marketplace and the emerging needs of consumers, Apple’s invention of I-Tunes transformed the music industry into marketing and selling music differently online.  If you see business opportunities that are either being underutilized or could be done more efficiently, this is the area you should take advantage.  Charismatic leaders create missions and crusades around problems they observe in society.  Starting your business should be pursued as if it’s your life’s mission to solve a compelling problem with your products or services.

---Charismatic leaders temper passion with relevancy. It is fallacious to believe that “If you build it, they will come.” Many businesses have failed because the owner believed that because he or she liked the product or service everyone else would like it also.  In the last few years, Starbucks has begun shuttering underperforming stores to increase its revenue and curtail “over growth.” Starbucks attempted to rival the growth of McDonald’s and found that its passion for coffee needed to be tempered with its corporate mission.  Starbucks was designed to be a “third place” away from home and office.  By attempting to retail coffee as McDonald’s retails food, it became slightly irrelevant.  As you start your business, be passionate about your product or service, but also be passionate about serving the needs of the population you want to attract.

---Charismatic leaders use current technology to lessen labor intensity.  Charismatic leaders are highly versed in managing people for increased productivity. However, charismatic leaders develop advanced people skills as a means of accomplishing a mission through human labor.  At the end of the day, accomplishing the mission is what charismatic leaders define themselves by. Consequently, the emergence of software technology has allowed business owners the ability to accomplish tasks with less human capital. The self-service checkout lanes in Kroger and Publix supermarkets are excellent for customers who wish to pick up a few items (usually 20 items or less) and hurriedly leave the store. These stores could hire more personnel, but the automated check-out system encourages customers with limited shopping needs to feel as if picking up a few items does not expend a great deal of time. Shorter shopping times encourage return customers.   As you start your business, become acutely aware that your ultimate goals are creating a quality product or service and making a profit.  If the latest software allows you to increase your profitability with less human capital, invest in the latest software.  
Personality, passion, and persistence are the core traits of charismatic leaders. By emulating the traits of charismatic leaders as you start your business, you are not only on the road toward financial success, but personal fulfillment.


Strauss, S. (2003 March 3). Time to start your business may be now. USA Today (online). Retrieved from:

For more info: visit,  Charisma