Are charismatic leaders born or made?

( -- Are leaders successful because of their charisma? Or do they develop charisma by being good leaders?

That is the chicken-and-egg question addressed by Prasad Balkundi, assistant professor of organization and human resources in the University at Buffalo School of Management, in a recently published paper in The .

Balkundi and his co-authors studied how leaders interact with subordinates when they work with small groups and how the leader's interaction affects the group's performance.

Several prior studies have shown that the higher the charisma of the leader, the more productive the team. But the nature and factors that predict charisma remain unclear.

"Charismatic leaders are typically depicted as extraordinary individuals capable of inspiring their subordinates," Balkundi says. "However, our research shows that it is often the team members who attribute charisma to their leaders through their informal interactions with them."

The researchers found that team leaders can develop socially relevant aspects of their personalities through frequent interaction with their subordinates, such as the giving and receiving of advice. The leader's willingness to have with team members leads to positive experiences for the team, which, in turn, leads team members to see the leader as charismatic. This eventually increases team performance.

"While it is true there is a link between charismatic leaders and positive team performance, our research shows that the leader's may not be inherent, but rather a product of their social interactions," Balkundi says.

The practical implications of this research can be to encourage to have more interaction with subordinates in order to build up their "social capital" and be seen as charismatic individuals.

Balkundi conducted his research with Martin Kilduff, Diageo Professor of Management Studies, Judge Business School, Cambridge University, and David A. Harrison, Charles and Elizabeth Prothro Regents Chair, McCombs School of Business, University of Texas at Austin.

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Citation: Are charismatic leaders born or made? (2012, March 9) retrieved 22 July 2019 from
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Mar 09, 2012
"not ... inherent, but rather a product of their social interactions". So surround yourself with sychopants.

Since I remember Ronald Reagan as someone who spouted lots of factual errors, I found it incredible that so many found him charismatic. The same can be said about many, manyy others. And beware of charismatic cult leaders, or you will really get in trouble.
The way I see it, charisma is what you rely on when you run out of arguments.

Mar 09, 2012
Are charismatic leaders born or made?
The both. For example the Hitler was selected with circumstances, under different political situation he would remain a loser. Or he could become a a respected artist under another situation. After all, Stalin was born as a talented painter and poet too.

Mar 09, 2012
It's not about the truth when you get a bunch of people together. It's about making them feel as if they "belong".

That is what Presidential candidates, Hitler, Pastors, and other cult leaders have in common.

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