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Leadership for Lean Manufacturing

What Charismatic Leaders Do

What Charismatic Leaders Do

We've all seen them. Those electrifying few who cast a spell, stay with us, and move us. They are the Charismatic Leaders. In all fields and situations they have a common behavior pattern. These people:

  • Challenge The Status Quo

  • Create A Compelling Vision

  • Establish Shared Values

  • Enable Others To Act

  • Model The Way

  • Encourage The Heart

Charismatic leaders do these things constantly in large and small ways. Cumulatively, these actions change attitudes, responses and methodologies within the organization. In the present context, charismatic refers to the Charismatic-Transformational Leader.

Challenge The Status Quo

Charismatic Leaders are visionaries. They want to transform, not merely maintain. They revive failing companies, develop new products and revolutionize processes.

In the film "Twelve O'clock High" General Savage (Gregory Peck) takes command and begins a series of reprimands, demotions and reassignments. He also stands down the unit and schedules practice missions. This is General Savage's way of questioning the process and challenging the status quo.

Create A Compelling Vision

Vision is all about what could be and should be. It is not about what is likely if the organization proceeds on the present course.

A compelling vision is simple, the details will fill in later as people operationalize it.  It paints a picture and appeals to emotion. It has poetry and power. It is in the present tense as though the future were today.

The Charismatic Leader envisions an uplifting future. He/she appeals to values, interests, hopes and dreams. Charismatic Leaders never lose an opportunity to repeat and share their vision. They bring it to life with metaphors, stories, symbols, slogans and examples.

Followers must buy into this vision. This means that the leader must listen, know the constituents and adapt the vision to constituent needs. This process is as much dialogue as monologue.

Establish Shared Values

Shared values build strong teams. Charismatic Leaders verbalize organizational and personal values that bind together the organization and the leader. They appeal to the nobler aspects of human nature.

A Great Vision Statement

S.S. United States

S.S. United States

Blue Riband Holder Since 1951

We shall build good ships here

At a profit when we can

At a loss if we must

But, always, good ships.

-Newport News Shipbuilding & Drydock Company

Enable Others To Act

Charismatic-Transformational Leaders give away power. They place the responsibility for decisions and management on their followers and teams. They rarely second-guess.

The Charismatic Leader reduces perceived risk by focusing on success rather than failure. He provides necessary support and resources.

Developing competence is an important part of enabling others to act. If the skills are unavailable, followers cannot act effectively. Training is an important part of Charismatic Leadership. Competency leads to pride and pride leads to superior performance.

Model The Way

General George S. PattonCharismatic Leaders demonstrate their vision through action. In the film "Patton" there is a wonderful example of this. Patton (George C. Scott) comes across a traffic jam. Climbing out of his jeep, Patton begins to break up the jam. As vehicles start to move, Patton turns the job back to a Military Policemen.

A Major General directing traffic is an enduring image from this film  It captures the essence of "Modeling The Way."

Encourage The Heart

Effective leaders do not assume that their followers know when they have done well. People need constant encouragement, rewards and praise. Much of this can be simple and intrinsic. A simple "Well done" goes a long way. Other rewards can take the form of public recognition.

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