Q1. Discuss the theoretical and empirical support for the transformational and charismatic leadership models.
Regarding theoretical support, the concept of transformational leadership was first introduced by James V. Downton and later expanded upon by James MacGregor Burns in 1978 (Burns, 2010 [1978 reprint]). Transformational leadership comprises four components: idealised influence, inspirational motivation, intellectual stimulation, and individualised consideration (Bass & Riggio, 2006). Leaders who embody this style guide and empower their followers, fostering creativity and innovation while promoting higher levels of commitment and performance.
Alternatively, charismatic leadership was first introduced by Max Weber in the early 20th century (Weber, 2012 [1947 reprint]). Charismatic leaders are known for their exceptional personal qualities, such as charm, passion, and persuasive abilities, which inspire loyalty and devotion from their followers. These leaders often have a strong vision for the future and the ability to communicate this vision effectively (Conger, 1999).
Empirical support for both transformational and charismatic leadership models can be found in numerous studies. For instance, research on transformational leadership has shown its positive impact on employee performance, satisfaction, and commitment (Judge & Piccolo, 2004). A meta-analysis conducted by Lowe, Kroeck, and Sivasubramaniam (1996) found that transformational leadership was positively correlated with employee satisfaction, motivation, and performance.
Similarly, empirical studies on charismatic leadership have demonstrated its effectiveness in various contexts. Conger and Kanungo (1987) found that charismatic leadership positively influenced follower performance and motivation. In line with this, a study by Shamir, House, and Arthur (1993) showed that charismatic leadership increased follower self-esteem and performance.
- Burns, J.M. (2010 [1978 reprint]). Leadership. Harper Perennial.
Conger, J.A. (1999). Charismatic and transformational leadership in organisations: An insider's perspective on these developing streams of research. The Leadership Quarterly, 10(2), 145. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1048-9843(99)00012-0
- Conger, J.A., & Kanungo, R.N. (1987). Toward a behavioural theory of charismatic leadership in organisational settings. The Academy of Management Review, 12(4), 637-647. https://doi.org/10.2307/258069
- Judge, T.A., & Piccolo, R.F. (2004). Transformational and transactional leadership: A meta-analytic test of their relative validity. Journal of Applied Psychology, 89(5), 755-768. https://doi.org/10.1037/0021-9010.89.5.755
- Lowe, K.B., Kroeck, K.G., & Sivasubramaniam, N. (1996). Effectiveness correlates of transformational and transactional leadership: A meta-analytic review of the MLQ literature. The Leadership Quarterly, 7(3), 385-425. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1048-9843(96)90027-2
- Shamir, B., House, R.J., & Arthur, M.B. (1993). The motivational effects of charismatic leadership: A self-concept based theory. Organisation Science, 4(4), 577-594. https://doi.org/10.1287/orsc.4.4.577
- Weber, M. (2012 [1947 reprint]). In T. Parsons (Ed.). The Theory of Social and Economic Organisation. Martino Fine Books.
Q2. What can organisations do to make their leaders more charismatic?
Organisations can foster charismatic leadership qualities in their leaders by adopting a multifaceted approach that includes targeted training, mentorship, and promoting a supportive organisational culture (Antonakis et al., 2011). One strategy is to provide comprehensive training and development programmes, which offer customised workshops and sessions that concentrate on honing communication skills, emotional intelligence, and personal presence (Gardner et al., 2005).
Another essential aspect of developing charisma is the support leaders receive through coaching and mentoring (Day, 2001). It is crucial to pair them with accomplished, charismatic mentors who can impart valuable insights, offer guidance, and help cultivate their charisma (Bono et al., 2007).
In addition to mentoring, organisations should emphasise the power of storytelling and inspire leaders to share their journeys, experiences, and values with their team members (Denning, 2004). By connecting emotionally through storytelling, leaders can become more relatable and inspirational figures to their teams. This can cultivate a culture of openness and constructive feedback within the organisation (Edmondson, 1999). Establishing an environment that values feedback and promotes open dialogue helps leaders become more aware of their strengths and weaknesses, allowing them to focus on enhancing their charisma (Ashford & DeRue, 2012).
Lastly, encouraging role modelling is vital for aspiring charismatic leaders (Brown et al., 2005). Identifying charismatic leaders within the organisation or the broader industry who can serve as role models and sources of inspiration can make a significant difference.
- Antonakis, J., Fenley, M., & Liechti, S. (2011). Can charisma be taught? Tests of two interventions. Academy of Management Learning & Education, 10(3), 374-396. https://doi.org/10.5465/amle.2010.0012
- Ashford, S.J., & DeRue, D.S. (2012). Developing as a leader: The power of mindful engagement. Organisational Dynamics, 41(2), 146-154. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.orgdyn.2012.01.008
- Bono, J.E., Foldes, H.J., Vinson, G., & Muros, J.P. (2007). Workplace emotions: The role of supervision and leadership. Journal of Applied Psychology, 92(5), 1357-1367. https://doi.org/10.1037/0021-9010.92.5.1357
- Brown, M. E., Treviño, L. K., & Harrison, D. A. (2005). Ethical leadership: A social learning perspective for construct development and testing. Organisational Behaviour and Human Decision Processes, 97(2), 117-134. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.obhdp.2005.03.002
- Day, D.V. (2000). Leadership development: A review in context. The Leadership Quarterly, 11(4), 581-613. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1048-9843(00)00061-8
- Denning, S. (2004). Telling tales. Harvard Business Review, 82(5), 122-152.
- Edmondson, A. (1999). Psychological safety and learning behaviour in work teams. Administrative Science Quarterly, 44(2), 350-383. https://doi.org/10.2307/2666999
- Gardner, W.L., Avolio, B.J., Luthans, F., May, D.R., & Walumbwa, F. (2005). Can you see the real me? The Leadership Quarterly, 16(3), 343-372. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.leaqua.2005.03.003