Organisational layers

he term has become synonymous with leadership in less than 20 years, when in fact it is a personality factor which has the power to inspire people. Thus the distinction is dying away and with it the fact that leaders do have personalities other than being charismatic. These leaders motivate people by raising subordinates’ consciousness. Very often, they have a vision of the future and have a great emotional impact on subordinates (Arnold et al, 1998).

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A typical charismatic leader earns followers’ trust by being open to incur personal risk, creates an air of change and articulates an idealised vision of a future. The differentiating factor to other leadership styles is that their influence stems from personal power as opposed to position power (Daft, 2002: 145). Therefore Slater (2001) explains why the leader’s own personality is the most important tool for a leader (Bennis et al, 2001:111).

Bennis ; Nanus (1997) guess that charisma is resultant of effective leadership (Bennis ; Nanus 1997: 208) and those leaders are not necessarily charismatic prior to performing a leadership role. Which seems logical as not all people who are charismatic, are leaders or in leadership positions. Potential leaders or leaders hoping to become great should not be dismayed as despite the fact that charisma can not be learnt, there are particular aspects which can be and used (Daft, 2002:144). Generally those who love what they do exhibit elements of charisma (Daft 2000:522). However incomplete charisma, from learning, is at greater risk of fading or being practised inconsistently. This can result in a loss of faith in the leader and dishearten followers.

According to Conger ; Kanungo (1987,1992) it is suggested that charisma is attributed by followers to a leader. This based on three of the leader’s behavioural and cognitive patterns. Hence leaders need to convince their potential followers in order to gain their awe, enthusiasm and direction (Klimoski & Zaccaro, 2001:195-196). House (1977) states that leadership of a charismatic nature results in organisational change through articulating a vision for its future and creating strong emotional relationships with followers.

This allows implicit trust to grow in organisational members and loyalty in acceptance of change. Motivation and efficacy also increases in an attempt to reach goals according to Eden (1984, 1990) (Klimoski & Zaccaro, 2001:193-194).However the slight danger is in the leader’s response and dealing of dire circumstances, which can affect their ability to maintain their charisma to the level in which followers have become accustomed to. As should it adversely affect the leader, it may eventually bear a detrimental effect to organisational performance as the power lies within the charisma.

However the implications of using charisma can have negative effects on followers and the surrounding environment if used for self-serving purposes. It can lead to manipulation, exploitation and be potentially dangerous (Daft, 2002:146). Hence evidently leadership exists throughout the organisations hierarchy, but differs qualitatively throughout the lower, middle and top of the organisational layers, according to Katz and Kahn (1978) and stratified systems theory (Jacobs ; Jacques, 1987, 1991). (Zaccaro ; Klimoski, 2001: 12,440-441) Thus leadership in the lower levels are apparently focus on internal matters and upper-levels have an external focus, for example task accomplishment and visionary activities respectively.

A different perspective is that of Ellet (2002) who explains, using CEO of Soutwest Airlines Herb Kelleher, leadership starts at the top of an organisation but with tens of thousands of employees and operations good leadership needs to be exercised every day by everyone. (Ellet, 2002: 10, 12) Therefore he partially agrees and disagrees with the statement. A survey of 15 global companies found 80-90 percent of leadership is accountable to Emotional Intelligence (EI) and thus Dr Daniel Goleman reasoned that the most important factor is EI, not IQ, for entry-level to executive positions. Hence leadership (and EI) is important at all levels of a hierarchy. (Swain ; Tyrell, 2000:86-94) An idea of Myers that organisations would function optimally if each employee was treated as a manager, became extrapolated to, leadership development should take place at every level of an organisation. It became so as management is intertwined with leadership (Appendix 3). (Smallwood et al, 2000:22-27) This supports Dr Goleman’s conclusion.

As it has been established that leadership does occur at levels other than the top of the organisational hierarchy, logic can help extends this further. As if leadership occurring at all levels of the hierarchy is proportional to the size of the organisation then it can be deduced that the larger an organisation is, the larger the number of leadership roles exist. These are the words spoken by Adair (1998) in explaining leadership (Kennedy, 1991: 2).

Direction in the business context is to lead an organisation to the state they wish to be in. According to Bennis and Nanus (1985) a mental image is required of a possible and desirable future state of the organisation, to direct and be creative (Zaccaro & Kilmoski, 2001:184). A successful vision can result in a differential advantage for an organisation, if clearly articulated, implemented and is shared by others as well as allowing them to add their share of creativity. However an attempt to control and direct the input of others can reduce the vision qualitatively (Bennis et al, 2001:1 115).

The autocratic leaders is known to direct his followers as well as control them. When this is practised with an ulterior motive, they said to be manipulative. Manipulation of followers’ mind-set skilfully, in a negative or self-serving context is popular amongst cult leaders and rhetoricians to name but a few. They exacerbate the followers’ uncertainties through identifying the followers’ scapegoat as well as enemies on whom they can blame their angst. Becker states they provide the untruth they need as they seek to accept the terrible real world (Bennis et al, 2000: 128-129).

Overall it is unnecessary to manipulate and control people, as it is also known to destroy their commitment (Bennis et al, 2001: 115). Also leaders are now advised to pull as opposed to push their employees; inspire instead of ordering; support employees to their initiatives and have experience rather than impose their own and denying them of their experiences or actions (, accessed 10/10/02).