Charismatic Leadership

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Charisma like leadership has many definitions, but again has a common thread that runs across each one. It is the ability in the individual to lead or influence others due to a special quality that has got nothing to do with the education or knowledge that a person holds. The Merriam Webster dictionary defines charisma as a personal magic of leadership arousing special popular loyalty or enthusiasm for a public figure (Charisma, 2009). The fact that a person can arouse loyalty is indicative of the influence a leader with charisma can have over his or her followers. On a more personal level, the definition provided by Dr. Tony Alessandra is provided here to see whether his definition resembles the one given above with regard to influence. Dr. Alessandra is a renowned author and motivational speaker. Charisma, according to him is the ability to positively influence others by connecting with them physically, emotionally, and intellectually (Alessandra). Here again, the aspect of influencing people, a necessary trait in leadership is obvious. In other words, a person who has charisma coupled with other leadership qualities can be labeled as a charismatic leader. The essential qualities of a leader will be given in later sections of this paper. Charismatic leadership is defined by Max Weber as resting on devotion to the exceptional sanctity, heroism, or exemplary character of an individual person, and of the normative patterns or order revealed or ordained by him (Charismatic Leadership (Weber). It is often said that such qualities are not seen in every individual but is limited to persons who are blessed with them or in some instances as even being divine intervention. One unique ability of such leaders is to turn complex or difficult concepts into simple and easily understood interpretations. Followers are able to connect to the concepts and ideas put forth by them. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi is a person attributed with charismatic leadership qualities.