What is the Secret of Charismatic Leadership?

Washington, Jul 17 (IANS): The secret of charismatic leadership may lie in what seemingly looks like magical thinking, a process requiring hours of effort and polishing.

Researchers at Columbia Business School (CBS) wanted to explore why some managers are hailed as charismatic, visionary leaders, reports the Journal of Management.

A well-known example is Steve Jobs. His mystique as a charismatic visionary has been earned in part by his spellbinding presentations of Apple products, according to a CBS statement.

Would audiences be as wowed by his informal, spontaneous pitches if they observed the 10 hours of practice Jobs commits to every 10 minute pitch? Would knowing his method make him seem less magical?

Research conducted by professors Michael Morris, Chavkin-Chang and Maia Young from the CBS and others suggest that charisma is sometimes an illusion.

While managers can establish a reputation as a transformational, charismatic leader in a number of valid ways, they can also gain the mystique by veiling how they accomplish what they do, like a stage magician.

"Winning in business and political endeavours comes not only from performing well, but also from managing the interpretations that others make of your performance," said Morris.

Hence, the research findings suggest that firms should probe more deeply when recruiting executives on the basis of charisma.


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