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Transformative Versus Charismatic Leadership

Leadership consists of creating an environment whereby people feel driven towards the leader’s choice of the course of action(Caldwell et al., 2012). This means that the leader must be able to influence the followers towards the course of action and this requirement dictates the choice of leadership style. Two of the emerging leadership styles in many organization today are transformative and charismatic leadership. Most leaders are therefore faced with a dilemma on which of these two styles is best to use in an organization. This paper explores the two leadership styles and compares the benefits of being a transformative leader rather than a charismatic leader.

A transformative leader is one who uses the leadership position to influence positive change on his or her followers(Shields, 2010). The transformative leader has a vision for the organization and uses the leadership platform to influence the acquisition of a specific course of action and the required change of status. They are, therefore, change-agents and uses their influence to facilitate the change. One disadvantage of transformative leaders is that their influence is rather continuous and they do not appear to be satisfied by any situation. Since they believe that nothing is good enough, they are likely to cause interpersonal conflicts within the organization(Saunders, 2009).

Charismatic leaders, on the other hand, are leaders who appear to have a supernatural gift to influence others. They also have attractive powers such as behaviors and processes management, and this makes people attracted to them(Shamir, House, & Arthur, 1993). However, charismatic leaders may not always lead people positively(Levay, 2010). They are likely to have powers and exert influence that is negative to the desired course of action of an organization(Fiol, Harris, & House, 1999).

Since transformative leaders are change agents and influence people towards positive change, they are better placed to drive an organizational mission towards accomplishment as compared to charismatic leaders who may use their charisma to lead people against an organization.

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