It is important to understand the difference between the forms of leadership: charismatic and transformational. While charismatic one is focused on the persona of the leader and their approach to tasks and goals, transformational leadership gravitates around the team’s perception of the workload and the ways to improve collectively. Thus, the core difference between these concepts is their main areas of focus.
Charismatic vs. Transformational Leadership Forms
One of the significant aspects of charismatic leadership is the list of attributions of charisma. The list includes such traits as emotional appeal, confidence, optimism, well-presented exceptional skills, and the ability to make self-sacrifices (Yukl 224-225). This set of leader’s qualities allows the team to place a deeper and sincere trust in the leading person, which positively affects working dynamics in general.
Charismatic leadership has its evident benefits, such as better communication within the team, increased appeal to the emotional needs, and assured support. Hence, leader’s social connection with the team and the ability to create a socially healthy environment enables the workers to feel more motivated to accomplish tasks and seek self-improvement (Yukl 228). However, there is a certain cost as well: certain leaders who might go after the charismatic leadership might become negative charismatics. Essentially this means that such person is selfishly self-oriented and centers the value around themselves rather than the ideals, which results in the worsening of organization’s overall productivity. Hence, sometimes the most efficient way to differentiate between a positive and a negative charisma is to judge the outcomes of the teamwork.
Different authors regard charismatic leadership in their own ways, which adds more versatility to this concept. For example, according to Weber, the main way to define such a form of leadership as charismatic one is to focus on the followers (Yukl 224). This way, the team of a charismatic leader will perceive them as someone who possesses exceptional qualities and who is “endowed” (Yukl 224). This way, the attention is centered around internal environment, as the main importance is placed on the inner social dynamics and impressions, which provoke the sense of trust and reliability.
At the same time, such authors as Beyer and Conger believe that there is more to this dynamics, specifically in terms of the importance of the leader’s initial influence on their followers (Yukl 224). It signifies the focus on the external environment, which means that the overall productivity of the teamwork is valued above the internal dynamics. Thus, various authors place the focus on the charismatic leadership dynamics on different things, but often their views incorporate each other’s theories and work well together in terms of creating a versatile image of this type of leadership.
Since many authors place the focus on various aspects of leadership, evidently it is dependent on many factors. As discussed previously, it can include the leader’s appeal, their external or internal focus, influence on the followers, and the team’s perception and trust in the leader as well. Additionally, Galvin and co-authors studied that followers’ trust in leader might bring them to defend the leader’s controversial decisions (Yukl 229). Thus, it is fair to say that all of these factors are significant because together they create the concept of charismatic leadership.
Therefore, there comes an element which is called a leadership perspective, which defines how the leader justifies the approach that they are taking. Leadership perspective is also closely associated with the leader’s vision, as the way they act and lead the team builds from their view on the improvement strategies. This way, the leadership perspective is evident through the leader’s actions and strategy related to the boost of organization’s productivity.
Finally, sometimes authors prefer to refer to the concept of a leadership perspective as “approach” or “orientation” (Yulk 244). This is justified by the fact that a perspective consists of the leader’s overall perception of the tasks, certain orientation in terms of the achievements, and specific approaches in order to increase the efficiency. Hence, by referring to this concept specifically by certain aspects of it, the authors narrow the area of focus and prioritize certain elements of the leader’s work.
Yukl, G. A. (1981). Leadership in organizations. Prentice-Hall.