Benefits and drawbacks of charismatic leadership | Sunday Observer

Benefits and drawbacks of charismatic leadership

15 May, 2022

To achieve success and sustain a great corporate culture, executives employ a variety of leadership styles. Things are going to change in our fast-paced business environment, and leadership skills are no exception. With their extremely impactful personalities, good leaders play a critical role in inspiring an organisation’s success and encouraging individuals.

The charismatic leadership style is one of the many different forms of leadership. It is aimed at inspiring individuals and persuading them to do their best work. It aids employees in improving their communication skills, increasing productivity, increasing performance, and fostering opportunities for team bonding. They make others around them feel optimistic, safe, and secure in whatever tasks they are undertaking. 

Communication skills

Charismatic management or leadership is a type of professional management approach based on excellent communication skills, persuasiveness, and perhaps even a little charm to assist them to get the most out of everyone who works with them. They tend to be passionate, have charisma, and have strong convictions with a deep connection to the work that they’re doing — which, in turn, inspires the same conviction in others.

Because of charismatic leaders’ intense commitment to their work, they tend to evoke strong emotions from their followers and teams. This encourages devotion, action, and strong problem-solving skills.

Leaders rely on and follow various types of leadership principles, yet most successful leaders adopt situational leadership methods depending on circumstances. However, although some analysts say that charisma is a trap, some leaders take the concept to the next level. They use their personal charm and appeal to connect with their subordinates. This leadership behaviour can provide enhanced motivation and encouragement to the employees.

Clear vision

Charismatic leaders have a clear vision of their initiatives. They use their open-ended approach to challenge the traditional status quo. The charismatic approach is largely similar and adaptable to situational leadership. Nevertheless, the scope of charismatic leadership is more exploratory and flexible than other leadership approaches.

By nature, most charismatic leaders are extremely refined communicators. They do not need outsiders to motivate their subordinates. Helping employees in their difficult times, both on and off the job, to stay grounded is their motto. Those who apply this theory ensure that they are good at getting through to the personal difficulties of subordinates and pulling them out of problems by communicating properly.

They communicate with precise, clear, relevant, and understandable language depending on the functional levels of employees. For example, the communication of charismatic leaders with junior-level employees differs from the content and substance when they communicate with senior managers.  

Charismatic leaders always display maturity and character in difficult situations. They usually have strong and powerful personalities. They are not afraid to take challenges head-on and lead their subordinates through such situations successfully. They do not make decisions at face value but explore deeply before leading the employees in any situation that they come across. Charismatic leaders are known to learn from others, consult subordinates on work-related issues, and work on mutual agreements most of the time.

In the leadership topic, humility is not cited as much as some other character qualities. Instead, many people have heard stories about self-centered and arrogant leaders who drive valuable employees to either underperform or leave their employment.


Charismatic leaders who possess a sense of humility are humble and more approachable. They not only forgive mistakes but also share the views of the subordinates and value them.

Hence, sometimes a dose of humility is needed for the employees to build up trust.

In business, leaders cannot exist without substance for a long period of time. Glamourous appearance and behaviour can capture others’ attention. Yet, gradually, subordinates will realise the shallowness of the leader if he or she does not have a solid and tangible presence. Therefore, a charismatic leader always walks the walk and talks the talk. While the charm gets the attention, the substance of the leader closes the deal.

The leadership of any style requires a confident disposition. However, charismatic leaders, because of their easy-going and pleasant approach, need to display extra levels of confidence. They are always original without pretense. They convey their confidence to their subordinates by encouraging them in their respective tasks.

Charismatic leaders display confidence through positive body language. These leaders have an endearing swagger and are authentic by all means. Such leaders inspire people to be themselves and act as role models for employees to look up to. They are allowing people to perform at their very best level with their welcoming body language.

For all the benefits charismatic leadership imparts, it also has a flip side as well. Of course, the benefits of charismatic leadership have a downside. With all of the advantages it provides, it can also have drawbacks that can derail a company or cause internal strife. Charismatic leaders with a shaky base may put their own interests ahead of the organisational benefits.


Outsiders may misunderstand or perceive that this approach is deceptive even when it is genuine. Even some employees, particularly newcomers, may suspect the extra pleasantness is a ruse. Charismatic team leaders may give an impression that they are irreplaceable due to the popularity they carry with them among workers. In such circumstances, the companies may run into difficulties if they need to replace them for a variety of justifiable reasons. 

Some leaders who practice a charismatic style are known to believe that they are invincible, which may lead to arbitrary commitments and actions. With the backup they can draw from the workers due to their popularity, they may tend to make decisions that are harmful to the overall functioning of the organisation. Sometimes, the leadership can be used for selfish ambitions. As mentioned earlier, management can come across snags in taking counteraction against such managers. 

Because of the large amount of power charismatic leaders carry with them and being admired by their subordinates, they may tend to ignore others’ opinions, particularly those of the management of the organisation. They might attempt to make decisions and carry them out regardless of the consequences.  

Another possible disadvantage of this style is that it can change the value system of the followers. The subordinates who follow the leader because of his charisma can change their opinions over time and change their approach towards such leaders. This can happen in a situation where the leader’s actions towards the workers are not genuine.

Forceful opinions

British-American author and inspirational speaker Simon Sinek points out that leadership is a choice, not a rank. People do not follow someone because of the authority or power they hold. Charismatic leaders are those who make their own choice to take care of the people whom they lead. Those who are around such leaders willingly follow them with the utmost trust.

Finally, a charismatic leader may have forceful opinions, but they are sensitive to the emotions, ambitions, and personal viewpoints of others.

They recognise that the responsibility of the leader is to adjust the approach to each person instead of forcing subordinates to follow through blindly.