A charismatic leader having a meeting with employees.

What is Charismatic Leadership?

Andrew Lipovsky
August 8, 2021

Great leaders are often remembered long after they leave office. For many, leadership offers a chance to create an impact that will hopefully, among other things, inspire future leaders. However, this is not given. It takes deliberate efforts, such as enrolling in the right leadership coaching programs or getting tailor-made executive coaching to refine leadership skills. Alternatively, the right mentoring and coaching offers vital lessons on sound leadership.

This entails, among others, advice on different leadership styles such as charismatic leadership, the subject of this article.

Defining Charismatic Leadership?

Charismatic leadership is defined as the ability to influence others through charm and presence. Charismatic leadership inspires devotion and boosts performance within an organization.

The history of the world has been shaped by charismatic leadership and the devotion they inspire in politics and business.

A quote by Seth Godin

For instance, Steve Jobs was not skilled in science or engineering; however, his charismatic leadership allowed him to bring together the best minds from various fields, leading them to create game-changing technology.

Another excellent example of such a leader is Jack Welch, the transformative former CEO of General Electric. Whereas many saw his approach as almost Darwinian, he rose from the lowly position of a junior chemical engineer at General Electric’s plastics division to become the company's CEO through confidence and charisma. During his two decades as the CEO of GE, he oversaw a remarkable transformation of the company which increased its market value from $14 billion to $410 billion. 

Charismatic leadership is precious at all levels of the organization. Charisma lets leaders connect with others on a deeper level. This is especially useful in times of crisis or significant change

Origins of Charismatic Leadership

The influential German Sociologist Max Weber in his essay "Three types of legitimate Rule," classified the source of authority into three categories: rational-legal authority, traditional authority, and charismatic authority. Leaders can deliver charismatic authority/leadership when they have extraordinary characteristics and visions that followers find inspirational.

Followers see Charismatic leaders as having exceptional powers, incredible insights, and other leadership behaviors.

How to Spot a Charismatic Leader

Every leader has different characteristics; however, you can spot a charismatic leader if they have the following traits:

  • Strong communication skills
  • An abundance of empathy and relatability
  • Confidence
  • Ability to motivate
  • Optimism
  • Natural charm 
A charismatic leader sitting and discussing a project with employees

Advantages and Disadvantages of Charismatic Leadership

Charisma, like every other human trait, has pros and cons. If used well, charismatic leadership can bring about more positivity within the organization and its people.

However, a poor application of the charismatic touch could lead to unintended consequences.

Here’s an outline of some of the pros and cons of charismatic leadership:


  • Charismatic leaders can inspire and motivate and inspire their subordinates.
  • Charisma can boost camaraderie and teamwork within the workforce.
  • Can improve communication within the organization.
  • Create the momentum towards positive change.


  • Charismatic leaders can sometimes become more focused on their personality than the well-being of their people.
  • They can be viewed as shallow and untrustworthy.
  •  Charismatic leaders can be self-serving and aloof.
A charismatic leader talking to employees

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How to Become a Charismatic Leader?

Here's how you can become a charismatic leader:

1.Be Vulnerable

Practicing vulnerability lets you overcome the main negative trait associated with charismatic leadership - inauthenticity.

Authenticity is crucial if you are to inspire and influence effectively. This may not always come naturally, but by enrolling in executive coaching and leadership coaching, you can learn how to show vulnerability and hence enhance authenticity.

Accepting coaching is a demonstration of strength rather than weakness. Demonstrating weakness will humanize your leadership and help you build better relationships with team members.

Your organization will inevitably face turbulence and challenges. When this happens, encourage your employees to share their concerns, doubts and exercise complete transparency. Employees are at most times aware of the issues, and they could be thinking of solutions.

Sweeping problems under the rug will harm your credibility and likely lead to a breakdown in relationships within your team. 

2.Work on your Communication Skills

A charismatic leader engages in several conversations every day, but the trick to effective communication is making sure that everyone feels heard and taken seriously.

Tuning out the other communicating party will have a detrimental effect on future relationships.

Despite what most people think, communication skills and other interpersonal skills are not attained through birth; you can pick up new skills through executive coaching and leadership coaching.

Such training helps you improve your verbal and non-verbal communication skills.

Verbal communication skills include assertiveness, constructive feedback, being respectful, and recognizing valid objections from the other communication party.

Non-verbal communication is more nuanced, but it often conveys more meaning than verbal communication.

Executive coaching and leadership coaching will refine your non-verbal communication skills. Elements of non-verbal communication include facial expressions, gestures, eye contact, and posture. 

3.Always be Transparent

In the pursuit of charisma, a leader might fall into the trap of making empty promises or sugar-coating the truth.

However, transparency is the key to long-term relationships with subordinates and peers.

Transparency humanizes a leader and inspires and motivates others to do the same.

Knowing this, a good leader will cultivate a culture of transparency, sincerity, and straightforwardness at all levels. It might take a long time, but employees will learn to share helpful information and feedback.

Leadership and executive coaching can also let you learn how to thread the thin line between transparency and oversharing.

The latter helps develop charismatic relationships within an organization, while the former could make colleagues and subordinates uncomfortable.

Oversharing reverses any progress made when building relationships within an organization and often undermines the leader in question.

Charismatic leadership is all about selective vulnerability. Open up and be transparent but know where the boundaries lie.

Coaching will help you become more transparent and thus more charismatic through the following ways:

Figuring out where the boundaries of transparency lie

Emotional control

Techniques to address feelings without becoming emotionally leaky

Overcoming challenges on the path to transparency

How to read the emotional state of a room

Inspiring, isn’t it ? Let’s go further and try one of the most comprehensive coaching experience with us.

Highrise Can Make Help You Become a More Charismatic Leader

Charisma in leadership opens more opportunities. You appear confident and able to inspire your team. If this is an area that you need improvement on, Highrise has a tailor-made solution. Give us a call today.