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Can too much charisma make a leader ineffective?

 


The Economist | April 13, 2018



The Economist article, “Can too much charisma make a leader ineffective?" quoted Russell Reynolds Associates Consultant Dean Stamoulis about some of the disadvantages to having highly charismatic leaders. The article is excerpted below.

Charisma is an alluring, almost magnetic quality that maximises a leader’s influence. The results from a series of studies recently published in the Journal of Personal and Social Psychology, however, reveal that too much charisma in a leader is actually a negative trait.

Three studies that included 800 business leaders in various managerial roles and 7,500 peers, superiors and subordinates, found that charisma was considered an advantage—but only up to a certain point. Highly-charismatic leaders were considered to be less effective, and this feeling was consistent among peers, superiors and subordinates.

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“Charisma by itself—being expressive, engaging in smiles and laughter as one interacts, and connecting with others’ feelings—is a very useful building block in effective people leadership,” says Dean T. Stamoulis, who leads executive search firm Russell Reynolds Associates’ Center for Leadership Insight.

In fact, Stamoulis says charisma is one of the best ways to motivate employees.

“On the other hand, narcissism—selfishness, a distorted and overly positive view of oneself, entitlement and a craving to be admired—leads ultimately to bad outcomes across time.”

In the long run, Stamoulis says that narcissistic leaders are likely to ruin companies.

“They are at their best as founders, entrepreneurs and starting or changing businesses, and this is because they can resonate with people who need direction during ambiguity or stressful contexts.”

To read the full article, click here.

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Can too much charisma make a leader ineffective?