This is the result of a question I’ve submitted upon this subject, one year ago.
I’m leaving this roll of answers as private, although it was a public question, so that only those who show some interest on this may read it.
I’ve just posted this so that it can be shared with the European Mentoring & Coaching Council Linked In Group members who have participated in a similar discussion brought up by Antoinette Dale Henderson:
Below these lines you’ll see the answers I’ve received (hope it will help you and your interesting research! Antoinette:
Name of the person who has answered
(professional activity or personal interests)
Here they are:
Can you define a Charismatic Leader?
Which are, in your opinion, the caracteristics of a Leader that turn him into being seen as Charismatic?
Manuel Alves, BA (Hons), MA, MSc, GL Group & G+ 1st
(Global business, business intel, Vending, HoReCa, F&B. Invited speaker in international business)
A charismatic leader: main point – he/she is born not made
He stands by his people and motivates them
He takes decisions after listening to all parties
He takes responsibility without looking for escape goats
He hates politics inside the company
Understand that people are the driving force – not anything else
Embraces change as a way to improve him and others and not to secure his seat
In short: someone that is getting scarce today. But doing the above turning business around is not ever an impossible thing.
Dave Maskin 2nd
(Professional trade show booth traffic builder and party entertainer. Corporate and private sector events)
Those who have the power of being able to effectively communicate to a wide audience…
Ian Berry CSP FAIM 1st
(I work with leaders to conceive and achieve highly successful change initiatives)
The word charisma comes from an old Greek word meaning gift. For leaders are people truly bringing their gifts or talents to everything they do. Charismatic has unfortunately come to mean flashy. We dont need anymore flashy leaders
Dr. Laura Umfer 2nd
(Licensed Clinical Psychologist/Weight Liberator)
Hitler. Hey many psychopaths are charismatic. That’s how they get people to drink the kool aid.
(Interested in Industrial Automation)
I think the only characteristic of a charismatic leader is that his followers think he / she is God – infallible , omnipotent.
A lot of fake Godmen / cult leaders are charismatic.
I think real leaders are very rarely interested in being charismatic ; they do not want blind followers.
Pravahan Mohanty 2nd
(Retailer | Marketer | Branding & Communications Specialist | Consumer Anthropologist | Keen Observer)
Had the good fortune of meeting and interacting with one such leader. Charismatic and exuding plenty of chutzpah all the time.
To answer your question, one must note that the being, ‘Man / Woman’, has taken quite a beating over the last decade with war, strife, unemployment, devaluation and then the turmoil that our own elected officials throw at us. Reactions to modern day traumas are going to have an impact on everyone, eventually.
Strength, perseverance, mental health and support are attributes that we have to look in and look out for – both within ourselves and in our leaders (be it in professional life or public / civil society).
I wouldn’t call it an attribute, but if you see someone not feeling well and it impacts your work, take a moment and be a human being to them. It might be all that they need. And that’s probably the simplest way to describe a charismatic leader. One who steadfastly believes in himself / herself and one who believes in the collective effort (and capability) of his / her team and is willing to take ‘risks’ and empower his / her team with freedom and responsibilities.
Tony Goddard 2nd
In my work I have met a lot of charismatic leaders. Intersetingly they were all different personalities with different skills. Whichever combination they had it always created a work force that was motivated and committed to achieving the key goals
Mary Gregory 2nd
(Board and Executive Coach at Penna)
Interesting question, I’d suggest having a big ego can make someone charismatic and this will be attractive to people with less esteem. This does not necessarily make for great leadership as part of being a great leader is to empower leadership in others as opposed to create “blind” followers.
David Gomme 1st
(Empowering Emerging Leaders and High-Performance Teams to Transform, Create and Innovate)
A charismatic leader is a person who is connected to a constructive purpose greater than his personal needs – in conscious desire to serve it – and the energies and powers that live in that purpose are radiating through his/her life and actions.
And where the deeper the spiritual quest, the greater the influence.
Clarification added 11 months ago:
PS Many mistake the energies of insanity for charisma…
Minka Fudulova 1st
(Finance Business Partner)
A charismatic person is the one who has the gift to attract others and inspire devotion in the matter concerned. This is however not enough such people to be called “leaders” in the terms we understand leadership today (living high values, being empathic in addition to being effective, enabling others to grow and put own ego aside, serving a high purpose).
In other words we can have leaders who are not charismatic, but they can win people with the time and leave a legacy behind, as well as charismatic people who are manipulative and work for their own interests – all depends on the values of the person. The history knows also charismatic but psychologically ill people, being far from leading – like Hitler in Germany or Stalin in the former Soviet Union.
If a leader possesses the talent of charisma, then great things can happen very fast. Nevertheless – first is the leadership and then charisma.
Jim Cathcart 1st
(Presentation Strategy Coach, Bestselling Author, HallofFame Motivational Speaker, Cathcart.com CEO, Singer/Songwriter)
Peter Urey 2nd
Luis – a person who helps others to face and overcome their fears.
(Professional Writer, Coach)
A charismatic leader is someone who can lead because of their charm. People look at them and find something they can relate to that brings them into that leader’s sphere. They are someone who can solve real problems, operate in all types of situations, they are kind to everyone and they make everyone they come across feel like they are being heard.
Cristina Falcão 1st
(Technical Translations – Pharmaceutical Consultant – Lawyer -Chief Science Officer- I Do It- Creative Problem Solver)
There were so many the times I said a Leader has charisma, which is one of the traits of any leader. It is a person with a vision that can be shared and immediately understood by all, a person that sweeps people away because they believe that leader and his/her vision, ethics will leads them to a better place or will change the way things are, even when that seem impossible. Remember Ghandi? He had charisma (charisma is not necessarily a loud quality) and did what seemed to be impossible.
There are some in history, please not a company “leader”, whatever that is.
Carmo Botelho 1st
(RENWICK International Recruitment)
Dr Laura Umfer said it all.
With some luck not all are as mad as H….. and with some more luck some end up in Boardrooms, but unfortunately, if they stay long enough,disasters happen.
Jorge Ledda 2nd
(Regional Sales Manager /Animal Nutritionist)
A charismatic Leader is some who could lead is people in achieving goals and getting the majority supports without a doubt.
Anthony Etherton 1st
(Director Courageous Communication Partnership)
Charisma is a dynamic created by the way others see us. It’s an emotional state that exists in the other about another.
A charismatic state is however possible to consciously create, by the frequent practising of embodying the behaviour of high positive energy both physically, emotionally and spiritually…. however, that’s easier said than done.
IE How many low energy negative people do you know who have charisma?
Janice Riley 1st
(Director of Business Development at Owen Software)
As duly noted below, being a charismatic leader can be good or bad. What we desperately need more of is the good charismatic leader. The person who is a servant leader, who has the power to motivate others and fully engage them in a common purpose, who enables people to achieve their full potential and unites them on a single front. It’s the man you’d follow into battle, never counting loss because the faith he has in your purpose exceeds anything else.
Wallace Jackson 1st
(Multimedia Producer, i3D Programmer, Acrobat 3D PDF, Android App, Virtual World & iTV Design, Kindle, Nook & Sony eBooks)
John Bowen 1st
(Celebrating over 25 years of having fun while making things happen. at ThatConsultantBloke.com)
My first would be the right results, because leadership is around uniting, inspiring and focusing people on outcomes. There are many charismatic people who cannot deliver results, or deliver the wrong results.
Beyond that there is the ability to make people believe; to believe in the goal(s), to believe in themselves and each other, but there are a variety of ways in which people can do this. Some are exuberent, even flamboyant, others have a measured calm.
In my experience, all have the ability to connect with people of all types; they have what was once called the common touch, and this enables them to communicate.
And they are not all perfect. Many are flawed in some way, just as genius is often described as close to madness, but this does not impair their ability to lead.
A few thoughts – I hope that they help.
[Helping startups serve smart customers (today, every firm needs to act like a startup)]
You can’t define charisma. That’s what makes it special. Show me a definition, and I’ll show you exceptions. Think of actors who have charisma, even though they never speak their own words in a part…
Subodhkumar Phadke 2nd
(Web Business Associates at MAPYN)
Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose
Vasudev Balwant Phadke
Lal Bahadur Shastri
Dr. A P J Abdul Kalam
Late Dhirubhai Ambani
Rajanikant alias Shivaji Gaikwad
All from India.
Mohammad Hijazi, MBA 1st
(Pharmaceutical Top Talent)
A charismatic leader is someone who influences others towards a common objective by simply being himself
Guy Battaglia 2nd
(IT/Business Search & Recruitment)
Sounds a bit one sided with ‘male’ v ‘female’…
Charisma is a unique quality that transcends sex and implies a set of values, taste and persona that is up lifting.
Charisma can exist at either end of the fish…but the fish still smells from the head down.
Cheryl Roshak 2nd
(Founder and Principal of CatapultMe and Cheryl Roshak Associates. Transforming Lives for Positive Change)
Few people have true charisma, that special magnetic charm or appeal, the personal magic that draws people to them. You either have it or you don’t. It’s a gift, a curse, or an illness! 🙂 Many sociopaths have it. Used wisely the person can create great things, like Ghandi. Used unwisely as Hitler did he caused the Holocaust.
David Pearlstein 2nd
(IT Operations Manager at Opera Solutions)
A Charismatic Leader is someone you want to follow instead of someone you HAVE TO follow.
Christine Hueber 1st
(Did you know I have a FREE Report for you? Get “Top 10 Linked Profile Success Secrets” now at: http://goo.gl/4bohq)
They inspire others to implement their vision, Luis.
(Retired Aerospace Contracts Manager, MicroMentor Volunteer and Founder “Smalltofeds”)
The world is crying for great leaders. They are out there, but I believe they are hesitant to step forward, from the US to Egypt and beyond. It is worth examining why and what has happened to some recent great leaders.
The modern era chews up great leaders, transforms them and spits them out as talking heads on the TV shows. Some potentially great leaders recognize that, hence their hesitancy to lead.
I watched for over 35 years in aerospace as the massive machine of government ground up men of integrity who had a true sense of leadership, purpose and service.
Unknown to the average American is the swinging door of military personnel who enter the defense industrial complex and then move on into government civil positions, lobbying activities or enterprises tapping their former service background for gain. The potential for waste, fraud and abuse is tremendous. Our current Secretary of Defense is a former board member of one of the largest defense companies in the world.
Oversight organizations such as POGO have highlighted many cases of abuse where former military personnel have been involved. The POGO data base at the first link below has public record details regarding these type of occurrences. The Boeing Corporation/Darlene Drunion Case is a recent example.
Colin Powell fared poorly in a government role because real integrity fares poorly in the big machine and he made the mistake of trusting the NSA and the CIA, as well as Lockheed Martin, SAIC and CSC on Iraq war policy.
Dwight David Eisenhower was one of the last, great, ex-military president who led well in government. He warned us at the second link below about the big machine gathering power as he left office. Harry Truman could not have made the type of hard decisions and “Buck Stops Here” operations in this day in age. The machine would have crippled him.
Jimmy Carter had integrity but did not fare well because the huge gears were grinding away by then.
General Schwarzkopf demonstrated true leadership potential in the first Gulf War but very prudently moved away from the government he served as a military officer when he retired. He was a Vietnam vet who knew the machine too well..
I worked through 7 Administrations and all I saw was the machine getting bigger, grinding up leadership principles, young soldiers, creating new enemies and spewing foreign interventions and profits for large corporations.
Our hope for the future is that this monster will collapse due to lack of money to run it.
Palak Timbadiya 2nd
A Charismatic leader has a magnetic personality.He typically has many fans and followers who believe in whatever he would say and ask to do.
Jesse Domingo 2nd
(Strategist | Adviser)
One with a “sweeping” personality that could get others listening and his people inspired and engaged.
Hope you do well, Luis.
This is @TheGreatLight.
Steve DiMichele 2nd
(Business Analyst at Sterling Jewelers)
President Obama is very charismatic.
Liviu Caliman 1st
(Culture creative innerpreneur pursuing a MPhil in International Peace Studies, preparing some Peace)
As I consider leadership to be a verb rather than a noun, I see three aspects of a charismatic leader:
First, it makes others see and believe in hope and possibility. It helps create a compelling vision for the future that answers their needs and fulfills their dreams.
Second, it brings people together and inspires them to get engaged in creating (i.e. working towards) the desired future.
Third, it reminds, guides, and keeps them inspired and involved along the way, even when the going gets tough. Especially when the going gets tough.
Nice question, Luis. Thank you!
(Associate at Management Science Group – LSE)
Your forum is closed. Here my take on your question about what makes a charismatic leader?
A simple question with a complex answer: Leadership is a group function. If the leader is not legitimated by the group, he/she will not have the power to be leading. Having a leader brings about various economic but also social benefits to the group. It enables their survival and performance through improved coordination, while helping to hold the group together. As we are human, social groups also organize through clans and rituals. These are the subtle, yet notable differences across cultures in our ways of relating to each other and in making a leader.
However, there are also many other ways of organizing. Ants and bees for example display a more dispersed or dissipative algorithm of cooperative interaction. The rules (of leadership, power and organizing) are implicit in their actions and organizing structures, if not inherent and reinforced by genetic codes (with some variability of course). We have seen evidence of this collective leadership (or the lack of clear leadership) in the recent UK riots.
A charismatic leader is generally one that is inspiring, gives people hope, provides reasons (or Teutonic notions) of why we should all go towards the same goal/direction. And, it is also a person that can keep the group together, therefore providing and enhancing their group identity while reinforcing individuals to be a motivated and loyal member, as well as advocate of that group. Acharismatic leader reminds us and helps us learn why we do and should belong to the group we identify with (and contribute to).
Considering leadership as a group function, the leader’s role is to provide a directive mechanism for group identity and action, whereas the group regulates that leadership (and itself). Hence, while the leadership role is traditionally directing, the group is involved in regulating action. Of course the boundaries can not be drawn that clearly, such concepts are never perfect, and the leader is always part of the group; not isolated form it.
More importantly, social media has changed the traditional group-leader function as well as the dynamics of how leadership is re-negotiated (see the Egyptian Spring for example). Thus, in a knowledge society, leadership becomes more dynamic and difficult to understand, manage and negotiate. Consequently, few leaders are probably more than ever on a ‘hot seat’ in terms of being legitimated by the group. Politicians and business leaders seem more out of touch than ever, because of this dispersed leadership caused by social media. And; many leaders have also misused their power – no matter how charismatic they are.
Evidently, being charismatic in a world of Twitter and other means of fast and global information dissemination is not enough. People detect the flaws of leaders and the clans they are serving quicker than ever. The more educated a society, the more intelligent and well-balanced the style of leadership has to be. And, while some leaders may be charismatic, they may not be able to serve certain group functions well enough in order to hold the group together (therefore having their leadership status and power refused).
Consequently, to be convincingly charismatic leaders also need to be credible and transparent about how their power manifests itself and for what purpose. The degree to which this is required is the (culturally) specific variant saturating the groups need to reinstate their identity and, social practice in belonging to each other.
Taken together, there is probably no complete answer in what makes a charismatic leader, ascharismatic is ultimately associated with ‘good leadership’. Such concepts are rules of thump for us to relate to. The practice of situated leadership can look very different.
No doubt, charisma and trust are vital ingredients of a strong leader that can both, provide direction and hold the group together, while providing a sense of purpose and identity. However, as history has shown, group behaviour and decision making may very well suffer from irrational flaws (see free-rider effects, prejudice against others or the tragedy of the commons for example). Hence, despite enabling the groups efficiency and identify by being charismatic, a good leader needs to synchronise and balance power with responsibility, vision, ethics and credibility.