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Power can be exerted by the use of force or violence. Authority, by contrast, depends on the acceptance by subordinates of the right of those above them to give them orders or directives. Charismatic authority is often the most lasting of regimes because the leader is seen as infallible and any action against him will be seen as a crime against the state. Charismatic leaders eventually develop a cult of personality often not by their own doing. Leadership is the power to diffuse a positive energy and a sense of greatness.

The Charismatic Leader | Brandau Power Institute

As such, it rests almost entirely on the leader. The absence of that leader for any reason can lead to the authority's power dissolving. However, due to its idiosyncratic nature and lack of formal organization , charismatic authority depends much more strongly on the perceived legitimacy of the authority than Weber's other forms of authority. For instance, a charismatic leader in a religious context might require an unchallenged belief that the leader has been touched by God , in the sense of a prophet. In contrast to the current popular use of the term charismatic leader , Weber saw charismatic authority not so much as character traits of the charismatic leader but as a relationship between the leader and his followers.

His charisma risks disappearing if he is "abandoned by God" or if "his government doesn't provide any prosperity to those whom he dominates". Charismatic authority almost always endangers the boundaries set by traditional coercive or rational legal authority. It tends to challenge this authority, and is thus often seen as revolutionary.

Charismatic leadership, manipulation and the complexity of organizational life

Hereby the challenge that it presents to society will subside. The way in which this happens is called routinization. A religion which evolves its own priesthood and establishes a set of laws and rules is likely to lose its charismatic character and move towards another type of authority.

For example, Muhammad , who had charismatic authority as "The Prophet" among his followers, was succeeded by the traditional authority and structure of Islam , a clear example of routinization. In politics, charismatic rule is often found in various authoritarian states , autocracies , dictatorships and theocracies. To help to maintain their charismatic authority, such regimes will often establish a vast personality cult. When the leader of such a state dies or leaves office, and a new charismatic leader does not appear, such a regime is likely to fall shortly thereafter, unless it has become fully routinized.

Because the authority is concentrated in one leader, the death of the charismatic leader would constitute the destruction of the government unless prior arrangements were made. A society that faces the end of their charismatic leader can choose to move to another format of leadership or to have a transference of charismatic authority to another leader by means of succession. According to Max Weber, the methods of succession are: search, revelation, designation by original leader, designation by qualified staff, hereditary charisma, and office charisma.

In ancient times, oracles were believed to have special access to "divine judgment" and thus their technique in selection was perceived to be legitimate.

Charismatic leadership defined

Their choice was imbued with the charismatic authority that came with the oracle's endorsement. In this form, the original holder of charismatic authority is perceived to have passed their authority to another. Insofar as people believed in this claim, Stalin gained Lenin's charismatic authority. T his process should not be interpreted as 'election' or 'nomination' It is not determined by merely a majority vote Unanimity is often required.

The cardinals taking part in the papal conclave are viewed to be charismatically qualified by their Roman Catholic congregations and thus their choice is imbued with charismatic authority. Charisma can be perceived as "a quality transmitted by heredity". This method of succession is present in Kim il Sung 's charisma being passed on to his son, Kim Jong Il.

This type of succession is a difficult undertaking and often results in a movement toward traditionalization and legalization in authority. It involves a dissociation of charisma from a particular individual, making it an objective, transferable entity.

In this way, priests inherit priestly charisma and are subsequently perceived by their congregations as having the charismatic authority that comes with the priesthood. Weber's model of charismatic leadership giving way to institutionalization is endorsed by several academic sociologists.

Eileen Barker discusses the tendency for new religious movements to have founders or leaders who wield considerable charismatic authority and are believed to have special powers or knowledge. Martin Luther King dreamt of a society where everyone is equal, Gandhi wanted different religions to live in peace in India and Sir Winston Churchill wanted the British to stay resilient during the war. Every charismatic leader has a vision — they are able to look beyond the horizon and imagine a different way of doing things.

Being a visionary means being open to chance and understanding that constant improvement is required for progress. You need to embark on a road of self-improvement, where you are constantly looking to expand your skills and learning things beyond your comfort zone. In addition, you need to listen to other people and understand how their experiences have shaped them.

If you can combine your understanding of the world, with the experiences of others, you can visualise new solutions and approaches to solving things.

Visionary people are both dreamers and doers. You want to spend enough time thinking about the world and the problems you face. This video shows you how to develop your vision statement and inspire your subordinates. Charismatic people are good communicators. In order to get people on your side — to understand your vision and to believe in it — you have to be able to share the message loud and clear. There are two key aspects of articulation in terms of charismatic leadership. First, it simply means being a better communicator and being able to talk about complex issues to people in a way they understand.

In the business world, the key is to explain the why , the how , and the when. You need to explain the reason or the vision behind the action, clarify what is needed in order to get to the objective and ensure people know how fast this all should be accomplished. But the second aspect of articulation and communication relates to the understanding of your subordinates.

Charismatic leadership requires you to be able to read people and select the right motivations for inspiring them. Therefore, you need to be able to analyze your audience and select the right communication style for each occasion.

Charismatic Leadership

On it, Julian Treasure explains how to speak in a way that ensures people listen. In short, you need to be able to sense the mood and be able to adjust to it.

In addition, you must also show humility and compassion. When you listen to people, you need to convince them you are there to help and you understand what the person is saying. The charismatic leader who can show compassion towards subordinates is the leader that gets people on his or her side. Since you require subordinates to buy into your vision, you need to show respect and empathy towards them.

Just as you need to be a visionary, you must be willing to take risks as well. In order to accomplish great things, charismatic leadership requires you to put yourself on the line. Risk-taking means two things. First, as a leader, you are accountable for any problems that might arise. You understand that each challenge will bring about positive things, whether or not you accomplish what you set out to do. You understand the importance of analyzing tasks and the options ahead of you, but you are willing to take calculated risks if the situation calls for it.

Finally, charismatic leaders tend to be creative. In order to be more visionary, you naturally need a healthy dose of creativity. You must be able to think outside of the box in order to create meaningful change in the organization. You need to be able to speak with conviction — meaning that you need to use creative images, rhetoric and messaging in order to get others to buy into your vision. The model is a good guide for anyone looking to improve his or her charismatic leader characteristics.

First, you need to create a vision, which fits the current environment. If you are working in an organization, you want to understand where the company is heading and where it could be heading with a new vision. You must understand the different parts making the vision a reality, such as what type of employees do you need, what must the organization focus on and who might be able to help you out. Once you have formulated a vision and a framework for achieving the vision, you need to outline to others.


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But even after the vision is out in the open, you need to have the clarity to keep assessing your environment to ensure the vision is attainable. While you might not change the end objective, you might need to adjust the framework on how you get to the goal. You need to be able to articulate your vision to the subordinates and other stakeholders in a clear and concise manner. The above points on characteristics should give you tips on improving your communication skills.

Charismatic Leadership Guide: Definition, Qualities, Pros & Cons, Examples

But there are two other strategies you need to focus on: motive arousal and persuasive language. In order for subordinates to buy into your vision, you need to find what motivates them to perform the required tasks. Notice that in an organization, different people might find different motives appealing.

For example, the idea of more power might appeal to middle management who are driven and ambitious. On the other hand, employees with less motivation and ambition might find a vision of financial gain as motivating. Your language must be persuasive. Setting an example can act as a powerful motivator for subordinates.

Coercion is not an effective part of charismatic leadership. Instead, you should focus on building relationships that are based on trust.


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This can lead to the creation of a committed environment where subordinates are inspired to work hard towards the goals. This means you need to be accountable for the actions the organization takes, you must be willing to take risks and you need to showcase high levels of expertise.

The Dark Side of Charisma

These will help you create more trust, not only in your vision, but also on yourself as a leader. The final step is about achieving the vision you have set out using the chore tactics of charismatic leadership. This includes role-modeling and empowering your subordinates with motive arousal. Charismatic leadership provides the ideas and tools to lead people, but it also understands the differences in the situations.

Therefore, achieving the vision is the key, not following a rigid set of rules in order to get there.