Charisma in Leadership LO17519

Ed Brenegar (
Tue, 24 Mar 1998 08:48:23 -0000

Replying to LO17508 --


I think the issue of the abuse of charisma in leadership comes back to the

Two examples: Two non-profit boards, both led by strong, effective
executive directors, both boards filled with personal friends of the
executive, in the one instance, the executive recognized that the future
viability of the agency required changing the board from her support group
to a diverse group of community trustees, the other, little interest in
changing the status quo, and therefore inhibiting the growth and
effectiveness of the agency.

In the former, the executive did not see the agency and her identity as
identical, in fact through her initiative with a new board, she elevated
the agency's performance, and worked herself out of a job, so that her
trusted associate could step in and lead. In the other, the agency and
the executive are one and the same. The question then becomes, does the
executive work for the board, or the board for the executive. In the
former open dialogue is characteristice, and the latter, lots of
discussion with little progress.

That is why I see the issue of charisma as an issue of leadership
character. It is weakness of character when the leader demands that
personal loyalty to him or her is equivalent to loyalty to the
organization. Charisma is fine as long as it is directed toward service
to the organization and others, not to oneself.

Yes, this is a good thread.

Ed Brenegar
Leadership Resources


"Ed Brenegar" <>

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