Moors (2001, p. 17) state that charismatic leadership traits stem from Max Weber’s theory, whereby it is related to
extraordinary human qualities, such as communication and the ability to capture an audience (sourced from: http://business.nmsu.edu/%7Edboje/teaching/338/transformational_leadership.htm). Weber is firm in his belief that
charismatic leaders are “self-ordained”, and as such they do not look to others for ideas or support, rather take
charge by leading the way. Noda (2005, p. 17) reveals that charismatic leaders are so effective in their communication that
followers believe in it enough to become part of it themselves. In addition to this, Sarros et al (2001, p. 16) state that
there is a clear comparison between charismatic and non-charismatic leaders with charismatic leaders getting so much more from their followers, such
as success and commitment.
Jung and Sosik
(2006, p. 12) believe there are five charismatic traits of leaders:
· Motive to attain social power;
· Self-enhancement; and
· Openness to change.
the relationship between the leader and follower, in particular the leader’s behaviours, which should always be a level
above and be suited to any situation. Similarly, leaders must show how effective they are through their actions, such as vision
and performance (Jung & Sosik, 2006).
comes from Maslow’s heirachy of needs and puts leaders at a higher level; this time in areas such as personal needs,
expertise and vision. As a consequence, this provides leaders with influential powers through importance and independence,
ie their followers see what leaders have achieved and strive for the same. Conversely, followers look up to their leaders
and believe in everything they say and do (Jung et al; Rouse, 2004, p. 27).
Jung et al found
that charismatic leaders and having the motive to attain social power go hand-in-hand, ie leaders are constantly
striving to be in a position of respect and power, and as a result allows leaders to control followers’ actions. Preston
(2005, p. 222) is of the same opinion and has many strategies for attaining social power such as keeping calm, sharing information,
considering issues carefully and standing by them as well as learning to say no.
is all about leaders performing so that they create a perceived image for their followers and an excellent example is Sir
Richard Branson who is the face and brand of Virgin (Jung et al). These coincide with Max Weber’s theory that leaders
have “superhuman” powers and are able to do something extraordinary (Sarros et al).
brought radical change and an important aspect of charismatic leadership is being “champions of change” (Howell
& Higgins, cited in Jung et al). Essentially, this is about seizing opportunities, being proactive rather than reactive
in addition to incessantly demanding more of oneself.
It is believed
that leaders who have all these qualities are more effective, and Sir Richard Branson discussed in self-enhancement, is an ideal example of a leader who demonstrates all of these traits.
It is important
to note that stemming from charismatic leadership is a theory that divides leaders into two categories; transactional or transformational leaders.