Like any other leadership style, Charismatic Leadership has its downfalls. In this article, we shall discuss a few problems with this leadership.
Disadvantages of Charismatic Leadership
1) Leader above All
One problem faced with this leadership style is that the leaders often divert focus away from the actual project. Too much effort is spent on building up a charming persona to be used as a tool, that the time spent could be better used somewhere else. For that same reason, Charismatic leaders can often be accused of narcissistic tendencies. They thread a fine line of having their character assassinated by others outside the group; thus endangering the actual project.
Furthermore, this mentality of ‘Leader above All’ is unsustainable. The moment the Charismatic Leader is removed from the picture, the fundamental basis of the group functioning is now absent. For this reason, the success of the group is limited by the leader’s tenure. Long term projects which may involve transfer of leadership suffer with this form of leadership.
2) The Leader is Never Wrong
Given their immense control over their group, Charismatic Leaders are often never challenged. Firstly, they sometimes personally believe they are never wrong. This means that any attack on their opinions is also an attack upon them as a person. This reduces incentive to correct a leader or offer contradictory values. Secondly, these leaders often leave a mentality in the minds of other workers which states that they are never wrong. This means that there is usually social pressure in disagreeing with these leaders.
This is potentially bad. Dictating the direction of a project may seem harmless, but it severely limits the potential of that project to grow. Creativity can still exist but only in a form that is aligned with the leader’s beliefs. More so, it can actually lead to common sense and matters of fact being forgone in the face of a Charismatic Leader. If the leader doesn’t feel like acknowledging a factual truth, no one can stop him/her, even if this ignorance is to the detriment of the project.
3) Fleeting Motivation
This type of leadership style showers attention upon individuals as a way of motivating them. This use of charisma is arguably good. However, one common problem faced with this technique is that it is temporary. The moment the leader moves on to the next individual, that short-lived feeling of being important disappears. Besides that, individuals may catch on to the idea that they aren’t being treated equally, mostly because everyone else is given the same credence by the leader. This ruins the motivational factor that comes with Charismatic Leadership This is ultimately subjective to the way the leader showers attention upon their workers and the workers themselves. However, the problem of temporary motivation is especially prevalent when using this leadership style.
How do we overcome the problems of Charismatic Leadership? For starters, don’t make it about yourself. By that very definition, however, the nature of the leadership style is no longer Charismatic. Charisma is absolutely important in being a leader, but it flourishes when combined with other leadership theories and styles. Adopting one singular leadership style may prove detrimental to you. Use Charismatic Leadership only when you feel the situation absolutely demands it, but don’t build on it too long.