Influencing for the wrong reasons - Deepstash

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3 Dangers of Charismatic Leadership

Influencing for the wrong reasons

If you feel like you're influencing others for the wrong reasons, ask:

  • How am I drawing attention to myself, and away from others?
  • What is the organization missing while it’s focusing on me?
  • If my company relies on me too much, what happens if I need a break, or become ill, or want to do something different?
  • What do I do when I don’t know what to do and have not built up others to contribute?
  • What do I do when all my old tricks of charisma or being “smart” don’t suit some future challenge?
  • What happens if my moral compass becomes shaky, or if I did not develop one before becoming the charismatic leader everyone adores?
  • If I have created this reliance on me, who will help me recognize this and change?

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Humble Leaders

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Charismatic Leaders

Charismatic professionals execute a certain magnetism and presence that automatically lead others to endorse them as leaders.

They have high levels of energy, unconventional behaviour and seem to be doing heroic deeds. We seem to be hardwired to seek and endorse over-glorified 'Superhero' like leaders.

Narcissist Leaders

Charismatic leaders can also be narcissists in some cases, having self-serving and grandiose intentions, taking advantage of their followers and abusing their power.

Even though they are generally perceived as arrogant, their bold vision and fearless attitude make them radiate an image of effective leaders, making them a high-risk, high-reward proposition.

Charismatic Leadership Style

Max Weber defined charisma as “[a] certain quality of an individual personality, by virtue of which he is set apart from ordinary men and treated as endowed with supernatural, superhuman, or at ...

History of charismatic leadership
  • In medieval times, leadership was mostly based on tradition. Most people never met their leaders and leadership was legitimized by the divine right of kings - charisma was not needed.
  • The 19th and the 20th century were full of charismatic leaders. Technological (newspaper, radio, and TV) allowed leaders to transport their charisma over long distances.
  • Our current globalized world and access to social media have led to another rise in charismatic leaders. On Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter, many people support leaders solely based on their charisma.
Dangers of charismatic leadership

Most of the dangers of the charismatic movement relate to this power.

  • Charismatic leaders lose support more quickly than other types of leaders.
  • They have to clearly be the best person for the job at hand – always and in any situation. This is why they often engage in a cult of personality and become resistant to criticism.
  • Things that charismatic leaders do to maintain their power are precisely the things that diminish it when their business, country, or other undertaking encounters problems.
  • When charismatic leaders use their position to motivate their followers to do things they would not normally do, the followers often feel betrayed once they suspect that they might not get the expected payoff. 
  • They often eventually take the praise of their followers too seriously and show narcissistic traits. They consider criticism as disobedience and expect total loyalty. 
Qualities of Charismatic Leader
  • They are skilled at articulating a compelling vision that inspires followers.
  • They read the environment and sense the needs of followers to tailor a message that will hav...
From positive to negative

5 phases that take place as a leader’s charisma shifts from a positive to a negative quality:

  • The first phase is characterized by the subtle sense on the part of followers that the leader does not want to be questioned.
  • The second stage: sensing the leader's diminished appetite for being questioned or challenged, followers begin to self-censor, asking fewer questions and no longer playing devil's advocate.
  • The third stage: a negative cycle in which compliments and agreement cause leaders to become overconfident. Leaders in this stage create their own sense of reality and become resistant to evidence that they may be incorrect.
  • The fourth stage: Since the leader's views and actions are the only ones that matter, followers reduce their willingness to be proactive. They wait for directions and become passive. Decision making slows down.
  • The fifth stage is characterized by people continuing to follow and ostensibly do only what is necessary but with a deep diminishment in enthusiasm and spirit.