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Charismatic Leadership A Controversial Style On January 22 2004 our class discussed what makes a leader a leader One of the topics discussed was that of the charismatic leader This style of leadership intrigued me more than the other styles because of the ethical issues that arose in my mind as we discussed what makes a leader charismatic In accordance to the article Transformational Leadership our class believes that the charismatic leader is dominant confident inspirational and most of all an effective communicator In an attempt to describe what a charismatic leader does the following were mentioned charismatic leaders are people who describe goals by painting word pictures and have an exceptional ability to win the devotion and support of followers They have no fear of presenting their ideas to anyone who may be able to help them and are reputed to possess excellent persuasion and negotiation skills Their followers want to identify with them and emulate them they develop intense feelings about them and above all they have unrelenting trust and confidence in them Managers are being told they need charisma to be a successful leader in visionary companies students are being taught the pathway to certain organizational success is through the use of charismatic leadership Buried in the literature however are at least three areas of controversy First is charismatic leadership always a good thing Do world class companies need charismatic leaders Assuming charisma is a good thing are we doomed by nature to either be charismatic or not Is there a way to learn to be charismatic Is charisma an ethical construct or does the use of charisma all too often result in manipulative behavior on the part of the leader and blind obedience on the part of the follower Is charismatic leadership always a good thing Taken literally history has proven the answer is no One need only recall the Hitlers and Mussolinis of the world to
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