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5 characteristics of charismatic leaders that will motivate employees

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Chris Morrison
Written on the 2 August 2021

As a leader, it is important to inspire and motivate your employees, increase their employee engagement and drive performance. Adopting a charismatic style of leadership is one way to encourage your employees to stretch beyond their abilities and is often considered a powerful way to lead. Charismatic leaders are extremely influential and enjoy taking risks. They are able to effectively communicate, encourage and motivate employees into action and their strong belief in their mission influences their employees to feel the same way.  

A study conducted by the International Journal of Psychology found a strong link between charismatic leadership and an employee’s participation in the job, job satisfaction, success and retention. Politicians and activists are often considered charismatic leaders and their powerful personalities draw people in to their cause.  


So, what are the characteristics of charismatic leaders that you can draw on to capitalise on these inspiring and motivating abilities.  



Confidence is key when it comes to being a charismatic leader. You want inspire people to join your cause or motivate your team to reach the business’s goals. Confident and charismatic leaders have the ability to self-critique and improve how they behave and interact in the workplace. This leads to more positive interactions, more open communication and employees seeing you as authentic.  

5 quicks steps to boost your confidence:

  1. Don’t listen to self-limiting doubts
  2. Counter negative thoughts with positive ones
  3. Gain control by facing your fears
  4. Identify where you lack confidence and what can give you confidence
  5. Develop new skills and experience 


Effective communication 

Mastering effective communication leads to confidence and is seen as a charismatic trait. Leaders who are clear, articulate their message and ensure each statement has purpose, grab the attention of their team. They also share their vision and goals regularly and inspire the team to join in. Leaders who communicate effectively are aware of their body language, use eye contact and feel comfortable speaking in front of large groups.  

Check out our blog on effective communication to level-up this skill.  



Compassion is a quality seen in many leadership traits but is very strong in charismatic leaders. Charismatic leaders use compassion to understand their team and have a mindset that wants the best for those around them. Compassion also diminishes defensiveness and creates positive interactions, which ultimately unleashes each person’s potential. 

Here are 3 quick tips for compassion in the workplace:

  1. Active listening
  2. Cultivate empathy for others 
  3. Enrich your team’s lives through growth and development



Leaders always value innovation, which is why charismatic leaders focus on the future and their vision. They often have a dream and purpose that motivates and inspires those around them. As a leader, by demonstrating you’re striving to achieve and you are looking for ways to improve the future, it will inspire your team to take note and take action.  

We’ve listed 4 steps to level-up your visionary skills:

  1. Define your vision
  2. Create a sense of purpose
  3. Motivate your team
  4. Be flexible and adjust your goals when required



Charismatic leaders have a very people-centric focus. Their charisma, confidence and compassion are aimed at bringing about change that impact people on an organisational, political, spiritual or societal level. Their people-focus allows them to connect with their team and motivates them to achieve the goals and mission of the organisation in a powerful way.  

An American leadership expert, John Maxwell believes there are five qualities leaders possess who excel at building relationships with those around them. 

5 qualities of people-focused leaders

  1. Encourage others
  2. Appreciate others
  3. Forgive others 
  4. Listen to others
  5. Understand others


Charismatic leaders have a strong ability to motivate and inspire their employees, as well as steer them towards a common goal and vision for the future. They are people-focused and effectively communicate with confidence and compassion. They provide clear and articulate messages that encourage positive interactions and unleash their employees’ potential.  

The cultivation and development of these skills, as a leader, will help transform your employee’s participation in their job, increase job satisfaction and help them achieve success in the workplace. 

If you would like to discuss how you can develop your leadership skills, please contact us. We’d love to help unleash your potential.  

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Chris Morrison

Chris Morrison is the founder and Director of Meritos, an executive search and recruitment business working with purpose-driven organisations. If you're interested in connecting with Chris, you can find him on LinkedIn here. You can also reach him on 02 8000 7121 or via email at [email protected]
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Questions to ask to help you understand a candidate:

1. Describe your ideal working environment.

2. What do you enjoy about your current workplace?

3. How does a manager get the best out of you?

4. Describe the best team that you’ve ever worked in.

The reasons why I ask these questions:

1. Reason

2. Reason

3. Reason

4. Reason

Insights by Chris Morrison