Leadership Charisma and Modern Organizations

In this blog-post I discuss about the modern leadership and provide my opinion what type of leaders are appreciated in modern organizations.

Leadership can be described as a behavior where a person, called as leader, directs some other person’s or people’s as behavior. Leadership pursues an outcome where one or more people can operate better and more efficient than without leadership guidance. Mary Parker Follett (1868–1933) defined leadership as “the art of getting things done through people”.  The principles of leadership have shifted within time, as there has been a significant increase in human intellectual development as well as the structure of organizations have become more complex which also has required different leadership. Before the industrial revolution and before base foundation of modern day organization, people acquired skills through apprenticeship and so they did not need people to teach them how to plan, organize and control. However, after modern pioneers like Adam Smith, Frederick Taylor and Elton Mayo, the structure and definition of modern day companies has changed. Along with this change, have the theories changed as well. Leaders traditionally were mainly interested in preserving legal status, quality of performance and motivating employees by providing basic intrinsic rewards. However, we are now living in a post-modern era where among the traditionally appreciated attributes, leaders are required to possess charismatic behavior in their leadership methods.

In modern days, charismatic leaders are actually appreciated more than qualified leaders. This might be due to the introduction of public stock markets, the necessity of charismatic and confident leaders is remarkable. Charismatic leaders are capable of providing confidence for stockholders, but also are capable to extract extraordinary performance levels from its staff.  An example of a charismatic leader, could be Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple whose charisma in product annunciation events was well-known throughout the world. Therefore, each time Apple had a new product annunciation, the company’s stock price always had a significant increase. Furthermore, Steve Jobs was known to be rather eccentrically strict with the employees but was also able to motivate people through his charisma in a way that they often exceeded their expectations. However, there are also certain factors which make charismatic leadership troubling. Majority of the academic literature appear to not yield any support for the positive linkage between charismatic leaders and organizational behavior. In fact, a Harvard Business Review article “The Curse of the Superstar” claims that this misguided view of charismatic leaders are all-powerful is the reason why modern business leaders tenure as CEO is shorter than before.

As my blog-debate proposes, there are many pros and cons for the usage of charismatic leaders. It is clear that the modern society needs them. However, it is important to acknowledge that an organization cannot only rely on charisma, they also need competence. The importance of competence is nowadays even more important than before, as companies grow in size and become more complex as they operate globally as well. Therefore, a leader equipped with a balance of several competence factors is a good leader in a modern day company.



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