The Disadvantages of Charismatic Leadership
Charismatic leaders can weave a spell around workers in ways other leadership styles fail to do. They lead by virtue of their charm and the emotional connections they make with others. Despite their general success in improving the workplace, keeping employees motivated and improving profits, there are some disadvantages of this type of management.
Charismatic leadership resembles performance art in many respects. The manager is, in a sense, "acting" as he shares his vision with his employees who often become enamored with the show. While this is clearly an effective way of inspiring workers, it can be dangerous when the leader is disingenuous. Unfortunately, there are charismatic leaders who motivated to serve themselves first and are not above sacrificing the needs of their employees and companies in order to get what they desire.
Company personnel can develop an unhealthy dependence on their charismatic leader. Due to his extraordinary image, many people are susceptible to viewing this person as a savior of the company and its workers. Once this image is shattered due to the leader faltering in some area -- for instance, losing his temper with an employee -- a withdrawal period can occur. Followers suffer emotionally due to the realization that their leader is fallible, and their work is likely to suffer.
The creation of illusion is often part of a charismatic leader's magic. Even sincere managers of this type can create falsities. They can lead their employees to believe that they as a team are infallible and uniquely qualified to succeed in their business. This illusion is subject to fall apart should the leader or even another employee decide to leave the company or a project fail to produce desired results. The charismatic leader, therefore, must remain grounded in reality in order for his management to succeed.
The charismatic leader of a business can get carried away with herself. Her ego often inflates due to the adoring attention of the employees who follow her devotedly. The result of her high belief in herself can be the false impression that she can do no wrong. This can cause this type of leader to make decisions based on her whims rather than careful study. She will not bother to gain expert opinions due to her belief that her own knowledge is sufficient.