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Compare and Contrast Transformational and Charismatic Leadership

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Compare and Contrast Transformational and Charismatic Leadership essay
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There is no one definition of leadership. Many persons have varying definitions and concepts of leadership that can be applied to different situations. Leadership involves a leader building a relationship with his or her followers and inspiring those followers to implement the vision outlined. Albert Murphy (1941) believed that leadership is sociological rather than a psychological occurrence.

Two styles of leadership that this paper seeks to examine are transformational and charismatic leadership. Transformational leadership and charismatic leadership styles can be similar, however, they have fundamental differences. The charismatic leader uses charm and attraction to create inspiration and loyalty from their followers. Some charismatic leaders are Malcolm X, John F Kennedy, and Donald Trump. The transformational leader aims for changes in individuals and social systems through a unified vision. The transformational leader is able to excite, arouse, and encourage followers to put extra effort into achieving group goals. They encourage their followers to be more innovative and creative. Abraham Lincoln was a transformational leader

Charismatic Leadership

Sociologist Max Weber (1947) used the term to describe a form of influence based not on tradition or formal authority but rather on follower perceptions that a leader is endowed with exceptional qualities According to Robert House (1976), in Charismatic Leadership Theory, followers make attributes of heroic or extraordinary leadership abilities when they observe certain behaviors. General characteristics of charismatic leaders are: they have a vision, they are willing to take personal risk, they are sensitive to followers’ needs, they exhibit extraordinary behaviors.

These descriptions imply that charismatic leadership is based on a person’s behavior, when observed by others, is defined as charismatic leadership. Transformational leadership, on the other hand, is a concept that can be taught to people to make them more effective leaders using concepts that have been found to contribute to leadership relationships.

Transformational Leadership

Transformational leadership is defined as a leadership approach that causes a change in individuals and social systems. In its purest form, it creates valuable and positive changes among followers with a vision of developing the followers into leaders. The transformational leader believes in their followers to succeed. They are able to excite, arouse, and inspire followers to put out extra effort to achieve group goals. Transformational leadership is built on top of transactional leadership—it produces levels of follower effort and performance that go beyond what would occur with a transactional approach alone. Transformational leaders connect the followers’ future aspirations with the organizational vision and persuade the followers to achieve the organizational goals to satisfy themselves.

Transformational leadership theories believe that people are motivated by the task that must be performed. The more structured an organization is, the greater the success. People are therefore motivated to maximize their potential within the organization which can be their primary need and they will place their individual interests second. Here, there is an emphasis on teamwork and collective action. Individuals exist within the context of the community, rather than competing in an individualistic framework.

Key Similarities

Transformational leaders, like Charismatic Leaders in a similar fashion, inspire followers to transcend their own self-interests for the good of the organization, though researchers believe transformational leadership is broader than charismatic leadership. They act as role models and inspire the followers. They challenge followers to take greater ownership of their work. Such leaders understand the followers’ strengths and weaknesses, so the leader can align them with tasks which will harness their optimal performance.
Specifically, transformational leaders pay attention to the well-being of their individual followers. They engage with them and communicate with them on personal issues which persuade followers to feel positive and partner in the organization’s success.

It is possible that personality sects may emerge from an organization in which there is cooperation and the leader is admired. Numerous examples exist ranging from Fidel Castro to Ronald Reagan, where excessive devotion to a person compromised critical conclusions as to the quality of leadership. To build consensus, unfortunately, mediocrity may result. The same is the case with charismatic on his part, Robert House (1977) referred to charismatic leaders as those who have charismatic effects on their followers to an unusually high degree. These followers perceive the leader’s beliefs as correct. and accept him or her without questions. They are affectionate towards. the leader and are emotionally involved in the group or organization’s mission

In the same breath, a transformational approach may not be as efficient as a more centralized and directive form of leadership. An extreme case of transformational leadership would be anarchy and if the members of an organization have assertive personalities and intelligence, it may take considerable time to arrive at decisions and perform the required tasks. In extreme cases, indecision may lead to the organization’s ruin, especially if there are many individuals that are more predisposed to being followers rather than decision-makers.


Charismatic Leadership: People believe charismatic leaders are born and not made. Charismatic leadership theory believes that leaders are born they cannot be made, whether the leader has an all necessary quality which makes him a perfect leader, furthermore it believes that charismatic leaders are the most successful and these leaders have more followers than any other leader who adopts a different leadership style. Charismatic leaders have a phenomenal and a natural charm which can attract the people; furthermore, this leadership style has a concern about the people and needs of people. The Charismatic leadership creates a positive and democratic working culture where every follower can raise his voice to address his grievances. The central idea of the charismatic theory is that it put the people first; therefore, the charismatic leader has more followers than any other leaders. A charismatic leader motivates the followers who have to make them feel the important aspect of the nation (Parolini, 2012).

Transformational Leadership: Transformation leaders are adaptive leaders and most are trained to become leaders. A transformational leader is a leader who always shows people the particular vision, mission and motivates the people about their path and mission. These leaders are eloquent and the passionate speakers who motivate people by showing them their mission. People follow these leaders because these leaders have an indomitable passion and spirit which is genuine and intrinsic. Transformational leaders do not ask people to follow them, but the intensity of positive passion and the honesty of these leaders motivate people to join the transformational leaders, subsequently, the message of these leaders has a long-lasting impact on listeners. The transformation leader believes in the empowerment of the people, subsequently, empowerment is a key to success (Parolini, 2012).


Charismatic Leadership: Charismatic leaders may not want to change anything in the organization were for the good or bad. Charismatic leaders their own personal vision and mandate, where the expectation is for everyone else to follow suit while being sensitive to follower’s needs.

Transformational Leadership: Transformational Leaders have a basic focus on transforming the organization and their followers. Transformational leadership is a relationship of mutual duplication and advancement that converts followers into leaders and may convert leaders into moral agents (Burns, 1978); the leader’s influence process allows tr1e followers the space to have the impact of the vision. The leader provides a learning environment and models being a learner

Benefit Sharing:

Charismatic Leadership: Charismatic leaders tend to work more towards their personal benefit and image building.

Transformational Leadership: Transformational leaders tend to work more for the betterment of the organization and their followers. The charismatic leader is responsible for articulating the vision and gaining agreement and commitment to it. On the other hand. the transformational leader is open to input and impact of U1e followers to the vision and this promotes power sharing.


Charismatic Leadership: Charismatic leaders are hard to replace. The charismatic leadership theory is a style of leadership in which followers make attributions of heroic or extraordinary leadership abilities when they observe certain behaviors.

Transformational Leadership: Transformational leaders will be replaced by the next in line commandment officer in the organization if they are trained well. Transformational leaders inspire followers to transcend their own self-interests for the good of the organization and are capable of having a profound and extraordinary effect on their followers. They pay attention to the concerns and needs of individual followers, promote intelligence, provide vision and a sense of mission, communicate high expectations, and can change follower’s awareness of issues by helping them to look at older issues in new ways.


Both leadership styles have been critiqued based on their negative effects

The downside of transformational leadership is the transformation itself. Certain times the organization or the people would not want to transform. At this juncture, the leader will get frustrated and may lose his vision. Transformational leadership theories are placed under stress with the enormity and urgency of tasks. A leader cannot wait for decisions based on consensus but needs to act, often immediately. If there are conflicts within the group, it is more difficult to reach a census on what needs to be accomplished. There may be persons who feel themselves to be more capable of achieving an apparent goal and are impatient in waiting for others to “catch up” or “get it”. For others, there may be peer pressure to conform and organizational members may simply retire, offering no comment; they do not want to be thought of as being quarrelsome and contentious and risking opprobrium from the group.

Notwithstanding, there are questions about how good charismatic leaders are; If they are the right leaders for an organization, group, or societies. The consequence of a charismatic leader’s impact on society is related to the ultimate motive and agenda of such a leader. They can have either immensely positive or negative effects on their follower or organizations because of their personal value system. For example, leaders of religious sects like Reverend Jim Jones of the Jonestown infamy and Chairman Mao of China, and Pol Pot of Cambodia were some of the very effective charismatic leaders who have left a legacy of death and destruction around the world through the selfish pursuit of their vision. It is also promoted that Donald Trump pushed divisive politics. On the organizational level, achievements of charismatic leaders have been deemed by critics as having “fashion over form” and be more of an illusion than substance. Finally, most leadership researchers are doubtful that that charisma can be accurately defined and measured.

In conclusion, some pundits argue that charisma is a part of Transformational leadership, while others believe charisma by itself is too broad and insufficient to account for the transformational process. Some may believe charismatic leaders may want followers to adopt the charismatic worldview and go no further while the transformational leader will attempt to implant the ability to question established views and those established by the leader. It a charismatic leadership style embodies an approach that reins itself on the leader’s charm and attraction which creates inspiration and devotion among the followers towards the leader whilst A transformational leadership approach that causes a change in individuals and social systems through a collective vision. Both leadership styles have its fair share of criticism as well as its benefits.

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