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Good Leadership
Business, Politics and Religion
Charismatic Leadership
Business, Politics and Religion
Sir Richard Branson
Nelson Mandela
14th Dalai Lama
Transactional Leadership
Tranformational Leadership
Comparison of Transformational and Transactional Leadership
Servant Leadership
Mother Theresa
Mahatma Gandhi


Charisma is an extremely powerful skill to have and can be used to gain success in the business world. An example of this is Richard Branson, who for four decades has been a prominent charismatic business leader and as a result built the Virgin Empire to what it is today. Noda (2005, p. 17) is of the opinion it is about the ability to envisage something before all others and no one can deny this of Sir Richard, who at the beginning of his career in 1972 started Virgin Records. The author clearly remembers one of its stores opening as a teenager in Aberdeen, Scotland. The store was innovative, ie not like all the other small record stores, it was on three levels, spacious, modern and had “hip” employees serving a vast variety of music. Sir Richard signed bands such as The Sex Pistols and The Rolling Stones to his record label and Virgin Records stores dominated in punk rock and rock and recall it was the coolest place to hang out. Sir Richard’s employees, I believe, have always been passionate about Virgin, and Noda’s (2005) belief that charismatic leaders’ communication is so effective that followers or employees become absorbed in the success themselves confirms the history of Sir Richard’s success.


Bennis, Burke, Gery and Juetcher (2003, p. 32) are of the opinion that business leaders can become greedy and can be referred back to Jung and Susik (2006, p. 12) five leadership traits; all of which are concerned with dollars and belongings all equalling status. It is very unusual to not have a business leader who is not in it for the money and this is due to organizations being dollar driven, a direct result of globalisation. It is not my opinion that all business leaders are dollar driven; however, believe it is perhaps not until you delve into the leadership characteristics of many political and religious leaders that greed turns into an "overwhelming desire" for issues such as freedom and removal of poverty, rather than dollars.



Politics is another environment for leaders and Emrich, Brower, Feldman & Garland (2001, p. 527) are of the opinion that there are two important leadership traits of presidents; charisma and greatness. Charisma demonstrates doing more than what is expected from one’s followers and greatness in one’s performance, ie demonstrating clear outcomes. An excellent example of this is Nelson Mandela who is famous for his dedication to anti-apartheid in South Africa. Mandela is a leader who expresses no personal greed, but has an overwhelming desire for the cause of the South African people. For instance in the 1960’s Mandela, Preseident of the African National Congress was forced underground following the Sharpeville Massacre, a rally by the blacks against the government’s anti-apartheid laws. Mandela has displayed such greatness during his life and and example is that he did not let this stop his crusade for human rights and carried on visiting other world political leaders. On his return to South Africa he was captured and sentenced to 5 years jail, a sacrifice he was willing to take (sourced from: Mandela has many leadership traits, however, charisma, servant, influential and lead by example come to mind. Charisma has been covered previously and there is no doubt Mandela has extraordinary powers, both internal and external. Cole (2005) describes servant leadership as being unselfish and not built around a person’s ego or desire for fame and glory, but a genuine desire to help people reach their potential and Mandela was prepared to go to jail for his people.


Conversely, Jimmy Carter in a speech called “Do not under estimate us Americans” spoke about leadership characteristics required to lead America; as being “decency, compassion and common sense” (Carter, 2004, p. 622). These traits can be related to Bill Clinton, President of the United States from 1993 to 2001, who in his two terms was able to drop unemployment to an all time low, drastically reduce crime rates due to his passion to restrict the sale of guns in America and was an advocate for an end to racial discrimination. There is no doubt Clinton is not perfect, particularly in his personal life, however, the author believes that Clinton, a man of great influence, demonstrated “good leadership” during his presidency (sourced from:


Do Australian politicians rate high in leadership skills and is Australia breeding great leaders for the future?  Click here to visit an expert panel discussion with Rose Jackson (Former president of National Union of Students), Ann Sherry AO (Westpac Group Executive) and Ros Kelly (Former member of House of Representatives).



His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama describes himself as “a simple monk”. Through his religious beliefs and influence over world leaders the Dalai Lama has made a difference to the people of Tibet as well as many issues such as the environment. Just as Mandela, the Dalai Lama made self-sacrifices and lives in exile in North Africa, along with many Tibetans. Like business and political leaders, religious leaders have the same leadership characteristics, however the outcome and reasons are different. An example of a similarity is the Dalai Lama is clearly charismatic and has the ability to capture the audience of world leaders and even celebrities, just as the same as Bill Clinton and Sir Richard Branson (sourced from:


Like business and political leaders, religious leaders can be either transformational or transactional. Transformational is when a leader has long-term vision and inspires his followers to come on the journey. The Dalai Lama is a transformational leader who strives for the freedom of Tibet and its people. Transactional relates to the relationship between the leader and followers, setting goals and rewards. Transactional religious leaders are not rewarded in monetary terms, but perhaps in position.

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