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Thinkers 50 Leadership: Organizational Success through Leadership by Des Dearlove, Stuart Crainer

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CHAPTER5

Charisma and the Dark Side

Charisma is a Greek word meaning “gift.” In the New Testament, charisms were gifts bestowed by the Holy Spirit. These charismatic gifts included wisdom, knowledge, faith, or the ability to perform miracles or speak in tongues; they also included gifts that were intended to be used to organize and build the church.

Max Weber, the German sociologist, philosopher, and political economist, took up the notion of charisma as a source of authority and legitimacy. He used it to describe a situation in which authority is derived not from rules or position, but instead from a “devotion to the specific and exceptional sanctity, heroism, or exemplary character of an individual person, and of the normative patterns or order ...

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