Leadership - Charismatic Individuals or Contingent Characteristics

2691 Words Apr 11th, 2013 11 Pages
Leadership - Charismatic Individuals or Contingent Characteristics?
A brief analysis of charismatic and situational leaders, leadership and styles.
Linesh Palayadan, Cass Business School, City university London, UK.

“Men make history and not the other way around. In periods where there is no leadership, society stands still. Progress occurs when courageous, skilful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better” - Harry S. Truman

It goes without saying that human beings couldn’t have achieved what they have achieved if they had not worked in groups. Teamwork is probably one of the most important “inventions” of mankind which does not get explicitly mentioned when one refers about the tools and evolution of human
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The final stage is the actual implementation of the vision, motivating the followers in the process. At this stage they also stage demonstrations which projects their image, courage, dedication to the cause, sacrifice etc. (C Jacobsen, R J. House 2001). Charismatic leaders are often value driven, visionaries and have a trail of success stories which motivates the followers. The primary risk of this style of leadership is that it may not be effective in all the contexts and such leaders can fade into oblivion as soon as the context changes. Perhaps the most striking example of Charismatic leadership is that of Sir Winston Churchill who proved to be a very effective war time leader and prime minister but was voted out when elections were held after Page 1

the war because people did not consider him as somebody who could effectively handle post-war reforms (Roy Jenkins, 2003). One of the strongly criticized and censured leaders of all times is Adolf Hitler who because of his war crimes and atrocities, went down in history as a bad leader. How did he rise from his humble beginnings to the all-powerful leader of a country which had the potential to be the most powerful country in the world if had won in the Second World War? The art of leadership... consists of consolidating the attention of the people against a single adversary and taking care that nothing will split up that attention.
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