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Leadership Lessons from West Point by Major Doug Crandall

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Chapter 13. DEVELOPING CHARISMA WITH CAUTION

Dena Braeger

Throughout my career in the Army, I sought out the most charismatic people to work with and for. I equated exceptional leadership with charisma and looked for charisma in my superior officers, peers, and subordinates in the Army. It felt good to be around these people. Charisma draws others in.

But history taught me lessons about the dangers of charismatic leaders who used their power to move people in immoral and hurtful ways. These were the toxic, charismatic leaders—the Hitlers, the Osama Bin Ladens, the Fidel Castros. Despite history's warning about the dark side of charisma, I still believed that charisma was a positive leadership quality. I had not thought much about the implications ...

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