Various organizations set different goals and objectives to become successful, and each of them has its strategy that they follow. In the same way, different styles of leadership may work for some organizations and may not work for others. In the current exploration, it was chosen to focus on charismatic leadership, which is a unique style that has peculiar characteristics that are not inherent to any other.
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Charismatic leaders have been shown to motivate followers to reach the established goals through eloquent communication, persuasion, and the power of personality. This means that those who lead charismatically should have specific skills of communication and persuasion to be effective in inspiring followers to lead by example. It is expected that a charismatic leader would speak to people on a deep emotional level to articulate a compelling vision of the organizational future.
Charismatic leaders evoke strong emotions from followers, with the latter being engaged in the process of reaching corporate goals by relying on the vision of followers. Besides, charismatic leaders are expected to have the unique ability to determine any inefficiency within the organization, with their visionary traits inherent to the transformational leadership style.
Essentially, charisma is a process that implies collaboration between the qualities of a charismatic leader, the group of people that are being led, the identification of followers with a leader, as well as the circumstances that encourage a leader to facilitate change. There are multiple real-life examples of leaders whose qualities are characteristic of charismatic leadership. In this exploration, the profile of Martin Luther King Jr. will be discussed.
The historical figure of MLK has roots in religious charismatic leadership because his father was a Baptist minister (Carson, 1987). When he started a career in civil rights activism, Luther King Jr. alluded to powerful speeches inherent to priests and ministers to inspire his followers to facilitate change. Besides, becoming the leader of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference allowed King to develop a robust platform to preach the message of non-violence and the peaceful revolt against systemic and institutionalized racism.
The power of Martin Luther King Jr.’s vision was associated with his ability to create a sense of urgency and passion among followers. The central vision of the leader was achieved through communication with the outside world. Thus, the “I have a dream” speech has become the key message of MLK’s work and an inspiration for billions around the world. In the speech, the leader invoked the chief values of justice and equality as drivers for the successful and prosperous development of society. For the followers of Martin Luther King Jr., his persona was the symbol of the civil rights movement because of his charisma and values that were communicated to the world.
In summary, charismatic leaders use their personality and vision of the world to inspire others to pursue that vision. The example of Martin Luther King Jr. shows that charismatic leadership lies in the establishment of connections between leaders and their followers. They have to share a similar vision for the developed goals to be reached. Having the charisma and leading with its help is a complex and multi-dimensional process because of the need to understand the psyche of the followers and create a vision that would be appealing to them.
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Carson, C. (1987). Martin Luther King, Jr: Charismatic leadership is a mass struggle. Journal of American History, 74(2), 448-454.