Leadership and Charisma

What makes a leader motivating others? The most common answer I have come across is "charisma." People want to hear what charismatic leaders have to say and do, what they advise. “Charismatic people always combine two messages,” says Fox Cabane. “They give the impression that they have a lot of power and also that they like you, or could like you, a lot. Humans are hard-wired to dislike uncertainty, so when they come across someone who shows none they tend very hard to resist.” Therefore, it is not surprising that in nowadays of crisis many organizations seek to hire those who exhibit charisma.

good leader
Today more than ever we are in need of inspiring employees to confront problems, the need of workers that focus on tasks, and voice their opinions. Here leaders and not managers are setting their organizations up for needed transformation. Leaders, which have virtue, vision and “internal” power to do it.

It is not about the definition of a bad or good leader, it is about how he or she should behave and what she or he should aim for to be a successful one.

Therefore a question is not about charisma but rather what kind of personality has a good leader. Are the leaders' values hidden within coaching or soft approach as searching for ‘an abandoned heart’ or the against-ego kind? Being stubborn is also an example of egoism and should a leader be stubborn or be bendable? Does knowing a lot of people help in leadership and how? Is being a leader a personality issue or rather profession? How can one become aware what is appropriate leadership with such different morals?

My opinion is that a good leader understands equally the processes in the team, as well as the fact that leadership does not require the application of force or pressure because a leader trusts his people. A leader knows what is right and what is wrong. Whereas charisma can be confused with goodness as in some historic villains known for their allure Hitler, Mussolini.

internal personal qualities
A good leader knows that a well-led team is not a battlefield of egos because there is no place for victories or defeats in teamwork on all levels. Therefore, a good leader should have rare internal personal qualities which arouse fervent popular devotion and enthusiasm, has a personal magnetism or charm capable of influencing or inspiring large numbers of people in a positive way. He or she has something internal that others feel.


  1. Top blog :) I think we need both. we need charismatic (potential) leaders and the personality analysis that You well explained as a check back filter to sort just potential from real leaders ;)

  2. It's true that charisma relates to personality. But it also relates to accomplishments and the way the culture values the personality/accomplishments of a leader. So charisma is in itself negotiated culturally. I think of Gabrielle Douglas, the American Olympic gymnast who is become a (carefully constructed) role model in US culture now. And President Obama, who is very charismatic, authentic, consistent -- and contested. Charisma does not necessarily equal success. I wonder what you think helps leaders with the "rare internal personal qualities" to be GOOD and EFFECTIVE charismatic leaders. Charisma is a slippery slope for leaders to build a legacy on.

  3. Carol, I agree with you that it is a very “slippery slope”. This was the reason I opened it as the topic in my blog. And yes it doesn't mean (always) “public” success – can be hidden and not seen but works.

    Mostly people misinterpret “charisma” with “power” or even “position”. The best leaders I've met or worked with were just “normal” people. They gave me “energy” to fulfill the task they've ask me to do. Therefore, I've tried to follow the path of this kind of “commanding” and what I finally spotted was that all of them had something internal. Something that is hard to describe but then I found it in my martial art practicing. It is common in all martial arts and you can feel it when your master (teacher) perform or show to you. Then I developed it as a story, a story that is described in my book and goes from stability, control of myself first, up to taking responsibility and adaptability, to name some interconnected parts.

    And the most interesting issue is that I can use it and I’m using it in daily activities and when leading meetings, people, etc.

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