February 19, 2014
The German sociologist Max Weber is the person responsible for introduction the idea of charisma as being a type of leadership. Weber believed that leaders who possessed charismatic leadership qualities were highly esteemed persons. Talcott Parson is widely credited with importing Weber’s ideas to the United States. Lowell Bennion was the first person responsible for making available Weber’s original ideas in the United States. (Papers, 2009) There is a great deal of controversy about whether charisma is a given or inherit trait and if it leads to effective leaders. A charismatic leader is one who attracts followers through their personality and ability to compel members to their way of thinking. These leaders tend to have articulate speaking skills that enable them to compel or captivate an audience, good listening skills that make the speaker feel important, a positive attitude, and the ability to inspire the people into action. They can also focus a great deal of attention in reading their environment and are good at sussing out the moods and concerns their audience. This allows them to hone their actions/words to suit the situation. (Ronald E. Riggio, 2012) Charisma can also have a negative impact. Some charismatic leaders can lead people into nefarious actions. A young officer, Napoleon Bonaparte, in the French army was successful because he instinctively knew about human behavior and the fact that one needed to show appreciation to those who helped you succeed. A good example of this was after a key victory; Bonaparte demanded the gold and silver confiscated from those conquered when he then passed out to his soldiers as thanks. Napoleon’s charisma eventually led his army into battles (Russia) that advisors deemed not worth this risk and his imprisonment. (McManus) Good examples of charismatic leaders include Martin Luther King Jr., Gandhi, and Winston Churchill; they were known as dynamic, charismatic and inspirational leaders. (Ronald E. Riggio, 2012) King used his charisma to help change a nation understands of equal rights across racial lines. Gandhi used his charisma to speak out publicly on human rights discrimination and mesmerizing crowds with his passion. Churchill used his gift of charisma to inspire people to follow him by never backing down from a fight that you believe in. (McManus) Characteristics of a Charismatic Leader
Charismatic leaders are known to attract followers and inspire people to new heights (Basu). Attracting followers and inspiring people takes a certain type of personality or certain characteristics. People just don’t follow any single person. Something draws people in and once in these people can be inspired to do things. Some people, like Charles Manson, drew in followers and inspired them to murder; while some people, like Gandhi, drew in followers and inspired them to be better people. (Basu), (Rosenberg, Charles Manson), (Rosenberg, Gandhi-Biography of Mahatma Gandhi) Manson and Gandhi had certain characteristics that drew people to them in the first place. These may have included maturity, communication skills, humility, and substance. Other traits include not just leading but being liked, caring for others before caring for your, celebrating life and inspiring enthusiasm, seeing the best in people and channeling it, dealing in hope and spreading the goodies (Alain, 2011). Charismatic leaders do not necessarily have all of these traits but these would be what to look for when choosing a charismatic leader. (Alain, 2011) Charismatic leaders need to be mature. This does not refer to age. This maturity is a buildup of wisdom over years through experience. This wisdom can be in business or it can be in whatever area the person excels. Manson, for example, knew how to draw in women and used that knowledge to start a cult. (Basu), (Rosenberg, Charles Manson) Communication is a key...
References: Alain, P. (2011, November 4). The Charismatic Leader Traits. Retrieved from Industry Leaders
Investor, G. (2010). Are Charismatic Leaders Born Or Made? Retrieved from Day-To-Day:
Riggio Ph.D., R. E. (2010). Are Charismatic Leaders Born or Made? Retrieved from Psycology
“The Charismatic Leader Traits." Industry Leaders Magazine RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Jan. 2014.
"The Most Charismatic Leader." : CHARISMATIC LEADER. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Jan. 2014.
Please join StudyMode to read the full document