Charismatic leadership is one of the most efficient approaches organisations use while going through turbulent times. Why do charismatic leadership and transformational processes go hand in hand?
The simple answer is that a charismatic leader thinks out of the box, transparently communicates vision, inspires and empowers people around them by showing a personal example. And that is exactly what companies need during crisis periods.
Steve Jobs, among other charismatic leaders, built a company that disrupted the tech world. He showed that charismatic leadership is beneficial when it comes to building an ever-innovating business. Keep on reading to learn about the major features of charismatic leaders and the ways charismatic leadership will affect your management strategy in the following years.
What is charismatic leadership?
By definition, charismatic leadership implies a leader who relies on persuasiveness, communication skills, and charm. A charismatic leader plays a valuable role in enterprises that are experiencing a crisis or need innovations.
The common characteristics of charismatic leadership are translated through the actions of a charismatic leader whose unique set of skills comprises charisma — a central source of power of charismatic leaders. Many charismatic leaders share common personal features and skills such as the following.
A leader’s creativity is infectious
Charismatic leaders think out of the box and inspire their followers to do the same. The major task of a charismatic leader is to show teammates how to seek alternative approaches in tackling complicated tasks. At the same time, they inspire talented people with expertise to feel a personal contribution to the overall success of the company.
Transparent communication provokes dialogue
They communicate openly, in a professional manner, and without saying too much or too little. Charismatic leaders explain the roles and goals of each team member and foster a team atmosphere that allows people to express their opinions without fear of repercussion.
Empathy opens the doors to trust
An atmosphere of compassion and empathy creates a stable ground for transparent discussion about employees’ concerns and passions. A charismatic leader is also known for being a reliable confidant and a good listener because of their willingness to understand.
Confidence transforms a believer into a doer
Charismatic leaders radiate confidence through posture, manners, appearance, and speech. They willingly take up challenges such as large projects with strong reassurance that the team will accomplish them. And when the team faces hardships, the leader takes control, gives tasks, and explains the desirable outcomes.
Real relations are built in-and-outside the office
Charismatic leaders are well aware of negative or weak personal traits. They build trustful relations by communicating with their colleagues during and after working hours, they know what people around them live and breathe. This behaviour encourages better compassion and acceptance of their own mistakes as well as the ones made by colleagues.
Self-awareness improves communication
Charismatic leaders are self-aware and conscious of the way others react to and perceive them. Knowing how their teammates feel about them, charismatic leaders deeply understand their role within their teams and choose the communication approach that will bring the best results possible.
Maturity helps make tough decisions easy
In charismatic leadership, maturity, and expertise go hand-in-hand. Charismatic leaders take their position because they are mature enough to take it. Having enough experience, a leader can drive a team towards the desired goal and do it with respect to each team member.
Optimism transforms fear into an action plan
Overall optimism and a “can do” mindset in charismatic leadership helps reassure teammates that a problem, however big, can be tackled.
They strive to shift the focus of co-workers from a pile of errors and failures to the brighter side and, by doing this, boost the team’s morale.
Their optimism is the key that unlocks the best in people who are working in conditions of constant change or are going through a crisis.
Passion is the driving force of day-to-day work
Passion is the red thread that goes through every action and plan. In general, charismatic leaders show genuine optimism and interest in daily work.
They tend to demonstrate their passion through communication: charismatic leaders take time to explain every task so that it doesn’t look complicated or impossible to do.
Charismatic leadership is synonymous with servant leadership that reverses the hierarchical pyramid upside down. The role of a servant leader is to reach the company’s goals by providing a welcoming environment to both the employees and clients.
A good example of this approach is when a team leader comes up to a meeting and prepares the meeting room while colleagues are getting ready for a presentation.
In this situation, the leader takes care of little but necessary things because teammates are busy doing a more important job at the given moment.
How will charismatic leadership affect your management strategy?
Now that we understand the role of charismatic leaders and the way they interact with their team members, we can analyse the way they transform the management strategies within their companies.
Charismatic leaders are already altering the company management strategies by empowering people, cutting the bureaucracy, eliminating over-communication, and shifting the limelight from themselves to the people who do the job.
Charismatic leaders set strategy and teammates pick tactics
Within the system governed by a charismatic leader, each employee is viewed as a more experienced and qualified professional in a narrow field than their leader. Hence, the leader’s role is to explain the desired outcomes to their subordinates in such a way that it seems to be a doable and accessible goal.
To put it short, leaders focus on the strategy and allow teammates to pick the best tactics to implement them.
It doesn’t necessarily mean that subordinates will be left by themselves. On the contrary, they’ll take part in regular sync-ups and success monitoring sessions.
Modern companies with charismatic leaders gravitate towards less or no micromanagement. People are given all the resources they might need to reach the goal without being checked upon every minute.
Following the lead, many small and middle-sized companies have transformed the notorious over-communication into asynchronous communication conducted through messengers and video call platforms.
Charismatic leaders would rather open a success tracking tool such as Jira, Notion, Trello, or organise a short team sync-up than write lengthy letters or ping each teammate every five minutes.
Approachability in communication becomes the key to success
Charismatic leaders organise teamwork bearing in mind how precious the working time of each teammate is but also leaving space for spontaneity.
In real life, a charismatic leader is all ears about the new opportunities. The times when your manager replied with a one-liner after ignoring you for a week are gone.
Modern charismatic leaders are approachable 24/7 via email, Skype, Zoom, Slack, or in person. For instance, when working with a team of remote software developers, team leaders would encourage teammates to ask questions and discuss issues the moment they arise. By doing so, they use time more efficiently.
Lean hierarchy opens the window of opportunities
Hierarchy might be a good thing for large companies in a stable phase of development but is unsuitable for companies that undergo a transformation or any kind of crisis.
Robust hierarchy makes it quite complicated for managers to identify opportunities and, most importantly, implement innovative approaches. In large companies, one small idea that can bring about positive changes is communicated and approved on many levels and is therefore time-consuming.
In contrast, it’s quite easy to manoeuvre in companies with small or zero hierarchy. Good ideas can be attested and put into action fast. The team leader knows the priorities and goals of the team and can allocate resources accordingly. In addition, a charismatic leader doesn’t have to explain the importance of the decision to people up the hierarchical ladder.
Historically, charismatic leadership has always been preferred in countries where hierarchy was never a big thing. For instance, in Sweden, Denmark, Iceland, and the Netherlands, people are more inclined to act autonomously and work for companies with lean structures.
By no coincidence, these are also strong tech nations with multiple tech companies that create disruptive technologies. Their ability to communicate issues and tackle them locally as well as an opportunistic mindset has put them at the forefront of the tech revolution.
Charismatic leaders are the agents of change that act through the empowerment of employees. By popularising charismatic leadership, they transform the way companies manage their employees.
What we see now is that numerous companies are changing their management strategy. The new approach to managing people is manifested through lean hierarchy, asynchronous communication, agility, and empowerment of employees.
The personal traits of charismatic leaders make them the most-wanted employees in businesses where hierarchy is either lean or nonexistent.
This is a common case in countries where hierarchy isn’t favoured and people are more inclined to act autonomously and work for companies with lean structures.
What draws the line between dictator leadership and charismatic leadership is that charismatic leaders need to facilitate a synchronised work within a team by doing things right the way they’d expect from the others.
Charismatic leaders not only strive to communicate the importance of working in unity. They also encourage their teammates by letting them understand their goals and passion to receive high-quality results.
In the nearest future, changes in management strategies caused by the adoption of charismatic leadership will cause an even larger necessity to automate time-consuming tasks, get rid of robust hierarchies, and encourage open communication within teams and beyond them.
About the Author
Kateryna Kachkovska is an avid writer, interviewer, and content marketer working for Daxx, an IT outstaffing company based in Ukraine. She’s a marketing enthusiast with more than 5 years of experience in content marketing and content promotion.