When you ask people why they followed their leader or what made their leader great, most would use words like charismatic, honest, trustworthy and confident. So this begs the question, are these all qualities that are born or learned? According to Webster’s dictionary, charisma is a “spiritual power or personal quality that gives an individual influence or authority over large numbers of people.” So a charismatic leader can be defined as a certain quality of an individual personality, by virtue of which he is set apart from ordinary men and treated as a person with supernatural or superhuman powers or qualities. So with that said, can that be learned over time or simply just polished? How can those qualities or characteristics be taught? We can take a charismatic person and polish or refine them to be better leaders but charisma, according to the definition cannot be taught. According to Dr. Joe Pace in “The Workplace: Interpersonal Strengths and Leadership” he describes three qualities to what makes a good leader. “A good leader used his or her authority to do three things: motivate, manage and make Decisions.” (Pace-84) So by this definition one would assume that these characteristics can be learned. Through mentorship in the workplace one can be taught when to make the decision, how to manage personnel and how to motivate people. After all, the human resources division in the professional work environment spends countless hours and dollars training personnel on learning how to effectively motivate their personnel and manage them correctly. So in this example it would appear that leadership can be learned. I have been told by many that I command presence when I walk into a room. For years it would bother me that so many people found it necessary to touch me, to find a way to brush up against me or reach out and hold my arm as I was talking to them. I use to ask my wife all the time “why do so many people find it necessary to touch...
References: Bock, Wally. Three Star leadership, 2006. http://www.threestarleadership.com/articles/bornormade.htm
Conger, J. A., and R. N. Kanungo (Eds), Charismatic Leadership in Organizations.
Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 1998
Pace, Joe DR. The professional development series: Book Two: The Workplace; Interpersonal Strengths and Leadership. Published by McGraw-Hill, Inc. 1221 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY.
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