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Learning Charisma

by John Antonakis, Marika Fenley, and Sue Liechti

To persuade others, you must use powerful and reasoned rhetoric, establish personal and moral credibility, and then rouse followersí emotions and passions. If a leader can do those three things well, he or she can then tap into the hopes and ideals of followers, give them a sense of purpose, and inspire them to achieve great things.

Several large-scale studies have shown that charisma can be an invaluable asset in any work contextósmall or large, public or private, Western or Asian. Politicians know that itís important. Yet many business managers donít use charisma, perhaps because they donít know how to or because they believe itís not as easy to master as transactional (carrot-and-stick) or instrumental (task-based) leadership. Letís be clear: Leaders need technical expertise to win the trust of followers, manage operations, and set strategy; they also benefit from the ability to punish and reward. But the most effective leaders layer charismatic leadership on top of transactional and instrumental leadership to achieve their goals.

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Posted on January 3, 2017