HOW MUCH Charisma is Best for Leaders?

Charismatic Leadership
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Chloe Xu
Director, Australia

HOW MUCH Charisma is Best for Leaders?

🔥NEW Charismatic leaders can motivate others to perform better. Therefore, charismatic leadership is sought-after in the workplace. Does this mean the more charisma a leader has, the more effective he or she will be? A study conducted by Vergauwe, Wille, Hofmans, Kaiser and De Fruyt (2018) reveals that there is a curvilinear relationship (Editor: ~consisting of a curved line; inverted U-shaped, first up then down) between a leader's charismatic personalities and level of effectiveness, indicating that moderate levels are better than low or high levels of charisma.

A charismatic leader is quite often viewed by others asself-confident,captivating,risk-tolerant,persuasive, andcreative. Any of these characters can easily turn into annoying behaviours and cause harm to a leader's performance. Furthermore, Vergauwe et al. research shows that highly charismatic leaders are more forceful than enabling, and more strategic than operational, in terms of leadership style. After charisma reaching a certain optimal level (around 60% or so), increased charismatic personalities can reduce leadership effectiveness in 2 ways:
- The enabling costs may overweight the forceful benefits.
- The operational costs may overweight the strategic benefits.

Interestingly, the study also provides an answer: "adjustment". Suchadjustmentrefers to being calm, self-critical and tense. A high level of adjustment can offset the negative effects associated with high charisma levels. For charismatic leaders, they can consider taking 360-degree evaluations, training and coaching, and development programs to enhance self-regulation and stay effective in leadership. For organisations, the best candidate for a leadership position might be the one that has a moderate level of charisma and scores high on adjustment level.

Source: Vergauwe, J., Wille, B., Hofmans, J., Kaiser, R.B., & De Fruyt, F. (2018), "The Double-Edged Sword of Leader Charisma: Understanding the Curvilinear Relationship Between Charismatic Personality and Leader Effectiveness", Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 2018, Vol. 114, No. 1, 110130


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