In the context of leadership, charisma has been a subject of controversy. There has been an argument as to whether charisma is born, taught or influenced by circumstances or situations. Many people who happened to have been effective leaders in the past, such as Martin Luther King Junior, have been labelled as charismatic. In order to clear the controversies surrounding the issue of charisma in the context of leadership, it might be very important to study the traits possessed by such leaders who have been labelled charismatic. Studies of charismatic leaders have shown that one of the most outstanding trait is that they are good communicators. Such leaders are not only verbally eloquent but also possess the ability to communicate to their followers in an emotional level. Effective communication skills require time. They are not things that are acquired overnight. It also takes the presence of a social problem to have one person leading others. If there was no social problem such as challenging of status quo of social ills in the society, people like Martin Luther King Junior and Mahatma Gandhi might not have been known. I believe that, charisma is a product of both teaching and situational demands.
Brans, Menges, and Kilduff (1-16) studied charisma and gender in social networks. In their article, they pointed out that a range of leadership outcomes is influenced by how charismatic a leader is. (Brands, Raina, Jochen, Menges, and Kilduff). To them, the attributes associated with charisma not only depend on the gender of the leader but also the perception of the social network. For example, their studies revealed that in a typical social network where the social network is centered on one or a few people, women leaders are viewed as less charismatic in comparison to their male counterparts. However, when the perception is that there is cohesion in a social network, women leaders are labelled charismatic more than their male counterparts. Their study gives some information regarding charisma. However, it might not be reliable since it was conducted only in USA. The study also involves only employed people who are rather stable in income. Charismatic leadership has thrived in circumstances where there has been social injustice. The perceptions of males and females in terms of leadership vary globally depending on gender. The results of the study cannot be reliably applied in a situation where men are viewed as the only gender that can offer leadership. The sample used (n=198) might be too small to offer any meaningful generalization of a large population.
Other than Martin Luther King Junior, who are three other leaders who have been labelled as charismatic? Do you think the nature of social network cohesion have any effect on the perception of a leader? Identify one female charismatic leader and briefly describe the context in which she offered leadership.
Brands, Raina A., Jochen I. Menges, and Martin Kilduff. "The Leader-in-Social-Network Schema: Perceptions of Network Structure Affect Gendered Attributions of Charisma." Organization Science (2015). Link http://pubsonline.informs.org/doi/pdf/10.1287/orsc.2015.0965