Charismatic leadership is one of four subdivisions of the larger concept of transformational leadership (Bass, 1990). Charismatic leaders are self-confident, dominant, purposeful, articulate, influential, idealistic, and expressive. They have high energy levels, strong convictions, the ability to display empathy, and are risk takers (Bass, 1990). By stimulating "ailing corporations, revitalizing aging bureaucracies or launching new enterprises" (Howell and Avolio, 1995), charismatic leaders demonstrate how truly effective they can be. These leaders are often described as visionaries, with a strong sense of the future and a passion for their vision. They are able to achieve the vision by developing strategies to accomplish the long term goals associated with the vision.
Expressiveness is an important quality in charismatic leaders. Charismatic leaders can utilize nonverbal cues "to move, inspire, or captivate others" (quoted in Bass, 1990). According to Bass (1990) the charismatic's "tone of voice is engaging and captivating, and their facial expressions are animated." Charismatics must convey an aura of complete self-confidence. This self-confidence enables them to become "larger than life" (Bass, 1990) in the eyes of their followers. Another quality attributed to charismatics is eloquence. In order to reach the audience, he must possess the ability to speak directly to them. The message has to reach the audience in a fundamental way, a way which addresses their needs. High energy levels are necessary for a charismatic to be successful. This allows the leader to "relentlessly promote their beliefs with boundless energy" (Howell and Avolio, 1995). Bass (1990) also notes that charismatic leaders are s...
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...ion. These leaders have great power over there followers and it is not always positive, as evidenced by many of the charismatic leaders seen in history.
Bass, Bernard M. Bass. (1990). Bass & Stogdill's handbook of leadership: Theory, research, and managerial applications (3rd ed). New York: The Free Press.
Howell, Jane M., & Avolio, Bruce J. (1995). Charismatic leadership: Submission or Liberation? Business Quarterly. 60, 62-70.
Mirriam-Webster Dictionary. (1997). Springfield, MA: Mirriam-Webster.
Nur, Yusuf Ahmed. (1998). Charisma and managerial leadership: The gift that never was. Business Horizons, 41(4), 19-26.
Pillai, Rajnandini, Schriesheim, Chester A., & Williams, Eric S. (1999). Fairness perceptions and trust as mediators for transformational and transactional leadership: A two-sample study. Journal of Management. 25(6), 897-933.
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