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Too Much Charisma Can Make Leaders Look Less Effective

By Jasmine Vergauwe, Bart Wille, Joeri Hofmans, Robert B. Kaiser, and Filip de Fruyt

Conventional wisdom suggests that the most charismatic leaders are also the best leaders. Charismatic leaders have, for instance, the ability to inspire others toward higher levels of performance and to instill deep levels of commitment, trust, and satisfaction. As a result, they are generally perceived by their subordinates to be more effective, compared with less charismatic leaders.1

But our research shows that while having at least a moderate level of charisma is important, having too much may hinder a leader’s effectiveness. We conducted three studies, involving 800 business leaders globally and around ...

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