What Are the Effects of Charismatic Leadership?

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Charisma is the term commonly used in the sociological and political science literature to describe leaders who by force of their personal abilities are capable of having profound and extraordinary effects on followers. These effects include commanding loyalty and devotion to the leader and of inspiring followers to accept and execute the will of the leader without hesitation or question or regard to 'one's self interest. The term charisma, whose initial meaning was "gift", is usually reserved for leaders who by their influence are able to cause followers to accomplish outstanding feats. Frequently such leaders represent a break with the established order and through their leadership major social changes are accomplished. The Effects of Charismatic Leadership

Many writers agree that the effects of charismatic leadership are more emotional than calculative in that the follower is inspired to enthusiastically give unquestioned loyalty, commitment and devotion to the leader and to the cause that the leader represents. The charismatic leader is also seen to be an object of identification by which the followers evaluate the leaders’ values, goals, and behavior. Thus, one of the effects of the charismatic leader is to cause followers to model their behavior, feelings, and cognitions. Through the articulation of a transcendent goal the leader is assumed to clarify or specify a mission for the followers. By the leader's expression of self-confidence, and through the exhibition of confidence in followers, the leader is also assumed to inspire self-confidence in the followers. Thus, the charismatic leader is asserted to clarify followers’ goals, cause them to set or accept higher goals and have greater confidence in their ability to contribute to the attainment of such goals. Finally, according to the traditional literature on charisma the charismatic leader is assumed to have the effect of bringing about rather radical change by virtue of beliefs and values that are different from the established order. Therefore, some of the effects of charisma can be summarized as follows: Follower trust in the correctness of the leader's beliefs, Similarity of followers‘ beliefs to those of the leader, Unquestioning acceptance of the leader,

Affection for the leader,
Willing obedience to the leader,
Identification with and emulation of the leader,

Emotional involvement of the follower in the mission,
Heightened goals of the follower, and
The feeling on the part of followers that they will be able to accomplish or contribute to the accomplishment of the mission. The charismatic effects listed above constitute an initial list of variables that can be used as preliminary dependent variables for a theory of charisma. Some of the above effects have also been the dependent variables in social-psychological research. Specifically, the ability of one person to arouse needs and enhance self-esteem of others, and the ability of one person to successfully serve as a behavioral model for another have been the subject of substantial empirical investigation by psychologists which will be mentioned briefly later to identity and describe the specific situational factors and leader behaviors that result in such "charismatic" effects. Defining charismatic leadership in terms of its effects permits one to identify charismatic leaders only after they have had an impact on followers. Such a definition says nothing about the personal characteristics, behaviors, or situational factors that bring about the charismatic effects. Therefore it is necessary to discuss some of these factors also in order to further understand the effects of charismatic leadership.

Characteristics of the Charismatic Leader
According to Max Weber the charismatic leader is accepted by followers because both the leader and the follower perceive the leader as possessing a certain extraordinary gift. This "gift" of charisma is seldom specified and...
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