One of the confusing aspects of talking about charisma is that not all charisma is the same. Socialized charismatic leaders genuinely care about their followers and empower them to fulfill their vision. They are passionate and visionary. But charisma is not sufficient. They need to have other skills, knowledge, and intelligence to be effective. They can also be humble.
“Don’t confuse humble with weak.” was the advice I heard from a Boston advertising executive. He was talking about how he saw East Coast executives suffering defeat when they dealt with Midwest companies.
Personalized charismatic leaders are exploitative towards followers and resort to authoritative means for carrying out their vision. Personalized charismatics tend to be narcissistic, but personalized charisma and narcissism are not identical. They are also passionate and visionary. Their focus is on their personal benefit and not the benefit of the organization.
When interviewing charismatic leaders, it is difficult to assess which type of charisma they possess. Many CEO’s with great apparent promise have gone down in flames because of personalized charisma.