!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-strict.dtd"> Streamline Training & Documentation: Effective Charismatic Leadership

Friday, August 25, 2006

Effective Charismatic Leadership

Project GLOBE has been discussed in several previous posts. Among the key results of this intensive investigation of the relationship between culture and effective leadership is that "charismatic/value-based leadership" is viewed as effective in all of the 62 societies studied.

This result can seem surprising to anyone who is aware of business leaders widely viewed as "charismatic" who have managed to get away with malfeasance that inflicted serious damage on their companies, employees, and stockholders.

Thus, it is important to understand what characteristics the Project GLOBE researchers associate with the leadership style they call "charismatic/value-based." These characteristics are:
  • Charismatic/Visionary

  • Charismatic/Inspirational

  • Charismatic/Self-Sacrificing

  • Integrity

  • Decisive

  • Performance-oriented
Project GLOBE distills these six characteristics into a definition: Charismatic/value-based leadership is a style of leadership that taps the ability to inspire, motivate, and communicate high performance expectations on the basis of firmly held values.

It is also important to recognize the shortcomings that can accompany charismatic leadership. These include:1
  • Employees so much in awe of the leader that they hesitate to make suggestions.

  • Employees stifling criticism lest they find themselves on the leader's enemies list.

  • Employees assuming that the leader is infallible.

  • The leader's confidence and optimism blinding him/her to risks in need of management.

  • Organizational learning forestalled because problems are denied.

  • A portion of employees who are turned off by impulsive, nontraditional behavior of the leader.

  • Neglect of succession planning.
Once one has a clear understanding of the meaning of "charismatic/value-based leadership," and so long as one is aware of potential shortcomings of this leadership style, the finding that charismatic/value-based leaders are viewed as effective across all the cultures GLOBE studied becomes quite plausible.

1 This list of shortcomings is based on the work of Gary Yukl. See Leadership In Organizations, 5th ed. (Prentice Hall, 2002).