Charismatic leadership is a potent form of leadership because it can motivate supporters to do things they would not normally do. Most of the dangers of the charismatic movement relate to this power.
It is difficult for charismatic leaders to maintain their leadership. When some or all of their people question their superior leadership qualifications, they lose support more quickly than other types of leaders.
Charismatic leaders have to clearly be the best person for the job at hand – always and in any situation. This is why they often engage in a cult of personality, micro manage, and become resistant to criticism. To maintain their superior image, they have to make all important decisions, they have to come up with all ideas, and they have to be involved in every part of the operation. They are reluctant to delegate, unable to share the spotlight, and slow to praise – all of which are signs of bad leaders.
Paradoxically, the things that charismatic leaders do to maintain their power are precisely the things that diminish it when their business, country, or other undertaking encounters problems. These problems are attributed to the leader, and since their leadership is based on the assumption that they will never encounter problems, their supporters begin to distance themselves.
These situations often trigger strong emotions.
When charismatic leaders use their position to motivate their followers to do things they would not normally do, the followers often feel betrayed once they suspect that they might not get the expected payoff. They react with opposition, anger, and hate, depending on their investment in the leader. For businesses, bloggers, and social media personalities, these developments can easily lead to the end of their movement.
Additionally, charismatic leaders often eventually take the praise of their followers too seriously and show narcissistic traits.
They consider criticism as disobedience and expect total loyalty. Instead of choosing the best person for a job, they pick the most loyal; which, in turn, hurts them and their goals.
In this way, charismatic leadership has a strong tendency to backfire.
This tendency is reduced when a leader has a small following. With teachers, for example, a charismatic leadership style is less dangerous than for a writer or a musician. For artists with a charismatic leadership style (boy bands, for example), a quick rise usually precedes a quick fall.