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Charismatic Leadership

Name -

Course – Diploma in Travel, Tourism &Hospitality Management

- (DTHD2 0807A)

Module – Principles of Business Management (II)

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1. Introduction to Leadership

2. Definitions of Leadership

2.1Trait Theory on Leadership

3. Definitions of Charismatic Leadership

The 7 key factors of Leadership

4. Aung San Suu Kyi, The Lady of Burma

4.1 Charismatic Leader of Aung San Suu Kyi

4.2 The Woman and Her Vision

4.3 The ability to Articulate Her Vision

4.4 Her Strong Convictions

4.5 Behaviour of Aung San Suu Kyi

4.6 Her Sensitivity towards the Environment

4. Conclusion

5. References
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1. Introduction to “Leadership”

Leadership can be defined as the will to do control events, the understanding to chart a course
and the power to get a job done, cooperatively using the skill and abilities of the other people.

Leaders are born and made. Clearly, some people have natural abilities, such as good
communications skills, compassion, and decisiveness.

However, effective leadership entails such a wide variety of behaviors and skills across an
extensive array of circumstances that no one person could possibly be born with all of the
qualities necessary to serve in that capacity for all situations.

Thus, effective leadership necessarily involves some degree of acquired learning—in most cases,
a very substantial degree.

Leadership is more about behavior, skills, and competencies than simple innate traits. Leadership
effectiveness is a lifetime pursuit necessarily dedicated to self-awareness and reflection, critical
thinking, and action. It is a multifaceted endeavor that touches everyone everywhere.

2. Definitions of Leadership

U.S. Air Force – Leadership is the part of influencing and directing people in such a way that
will win their obedience, confidence, respect and loyal cooperation in achieving common

James Mac Gregor Burns - Leadership is the realization of intended, real change that meets
people’s enduring needs.

Chester Bernard- Leadership is the ability of a superior to influence the behavior of a subordinate
or group and persuade them to follow a particular course of action.

Massie - Leadership occurs when one person induces others to work toward some predetermined

Harry S. Truman, 1884-1972, Thirty-third President of the United States -Leader is a man who
can persuade people to do what they don't want to do, or do what they're too lazy to do, and like

Marilyn Loden, Founder and president, Loden Associates, Management Review-The feminine
leadership style emphasizes cooperation over competition; intuition as well as rational thinking
in problem solving, team structures where power and influence are shared within the group
interpersonal competence; and participative decision making.

Lao Tse, Tao Te Ching - The superior leader gets things done with very little motion. He imparts
instruction not through many words but through a few deeds. He keeps informed about
everything but interferes hardly at all. He is a catalyst, and though things would not get done
well if he weren't there, when they succeed he takes no credit. And because he takes no credit,
credit never leaves him.

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2.1 Trait Theory on Leadership

Trait Leadership Theory is actually a range of theories which share the belief that all leaders
were born with, or at least display, certain key personal traits. Since certain traits are associated
with proficient leadership, if one could identify the people with the correct traits, one would be
able to identify good leaders. The theory that successful leaders have certain personality
characteristics or leadership traits that make it possible for them to be successful leaders in any
situation. This theory is also known as the ‘great man’ theory of leadership. There seems to be
little support for a universal set of personality traits common to all successful leaders.

Trait theory developed from Great Man Theory of Leadership, as researchers attempted to
identify universally applicable characteristics that distinguish leader from other people.

Assumptions of Trait Theory

• People are born with inherited traits.

• Some traits are particularly suited to leadership.
• People who make good leaders have the right (or sufficient) combinations of traits.
However, the ideas of leadership traits are inborn and unchangeable appears to be incorrect,
although many of our dispositions and tendencies are influenced by our personalities and the way
we are born.


3. Definitions of Charismatic Leadership

“Charismatic leaders are exceptionally self-confident, are strongly motivated to attain and
assert influence, and have strong convictions on the moral correctness of their beliefs." -
(House & Aditya 1997)

Charismatic leadership is leadership based on the leader's ability to communicate and behave in
ways that reach followers on a basic, emotional way, to inspire and motivate. Developing
"charisma" is difficult, if not impossible for many people, but luckily charismatic leadership is
not essential to be an effective leader. Many other characteristics are involved in leading
effectively, and there is significant evidence to indicate that it simply is not necessary to have this
elusive charisma to lead others well.

Relying on charisma to lead also can be problematic. For example, there have been many
charismatic leaders who lack other leadership characteristics and skills (e.g. integrity) and lead
their followers into situations that turn out horribly -- think political leaders such as Stalin, Hitler,
and even business leaders (Enron).
Finally, in organizations lead by charismatic leaders, there is a major problem regarding
succession. What happens when a leader who relies on charisma leaves? Often the organization
founders because the ability to lead rested with one person's charisma.

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3.1 The 7 key factors of Leadership

Leadership is the ability to influence others and get the changes you desire. Anytime you interact
with someone in order to influence them, you are attempting leadership. All of us have a
predominant leadership style we prefer using. Problems arise when we expect others to adjust to
that style. We may get what we want in the short run but alienate others over the long term. A
better approach is to be flexible enough to attract the support and cooperation of others.

1. Self-confidence- Self-confidence is an approach, which lets individuals have positive yet

reasonable viewpoints of themselves and their conditions.

2. Vision - Vision can motivate without providing direction.

Theodore Hesburgh, President of the University of Notre Dame defines the very success of
leadership us that you have to have a vision. It’s got to be a vision you articulate clearly and
forcefully on every occasion.

James Kouzes and Barry Posner defines there’s nothing more demoralizing than a leader who
can’t clearly articulate why we’re doing what we’re doing

3. Able to articulate the vision - Leaders have vision. They share a dream and direction
that other people want to share and follow. The leadership vision goes beyond your written
organizational mission statement and your vision statement. The vision of leadership permeates
the workplace and is manifested in the actions, beliefs, values and goals of your organization’s

4. Strong convictions (about the vision) - Charismatic leaders are perceived as being
strongly committed and willing to take on high personal risk and to incur high costs to achieve
their vision. "There's nothing more demoralizing than a leader who can't clearly articulate
why we're doing what we're doing." -- James Kouzes and Barry Posner

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5. Extraordinary Behaviour - It gathers followers through dint of personality and charm,

rather than any form of external power or authority. They pay a great deal of attention in
scanning and reading their environment, and are good at picking up the moods and concerns of
both individuals and larger audiences.

John H. Zenger and Joseph Folkman define extraordinary leaders consistently achieve results
that far exceed those of the good leaders.

James M. Kouzes, chairman of Tom Peters Company defines the extraordinary leader attacks
cherished but unsupportable assumptions, and does it persuasively, precisely, and professionally.

6. Image as a change agent - Charismatic Leaders were masters at influence and

inspiration. Such leaders rely heavily on referent power (their influence as role models) to
encourage others to sacrifice on behalf of the group.

7. Sensitive to the environment - Charismatic Leaders are able to make realistic

assessments of the environmental constraints and resources needed to bring the change.
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4. Aung San Suu Kyi, The Lady of Burma

Aung San Suu Kyi is the leader of the struggle for human rights and democracy in Burma. She
was born in Rangoon (Yangon), Burma, on June 19, 1945 as the daughter of Burma’s national
hero General Aung San, she was two years old when he was assassinated, just before Burma
gained the independence to which he had dedicated his life.
4.1 Charismatic Leader of Aung San Suu Kyi

Like Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela, Aung San Suu Kyi has become
an iconic figure. The Burmese people adore her, everywhere she goes, they bedeck her with
flowers – roses, jasmine, and chrysanthemums.

Before August 1988, she lived in the peaceful place at Oxford, England. She received a phone
call about her mother had suffered a severe stroke. It was only then when she returned to Burma
to take care of her dying mother and she found herself thrown into the middle of civil unrest and
political chaos. Given the choice between exile and life under strict military surveillance, she

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chose to remain in Burma. Her quiet power remains so great that it is unwise to speak her name
in Burma and she is referred to by all as “The Lady”. Aung San Su Kyi became public figure,
and a woman to be reckoned with, on the specific day at a specific day at a specific time in a
specific place. Even though she was not yet politicized in any radical sense, on the late morning
of 26th August 1988, she mounted a temporary rostrum in the grounds of gold-encrusted
Shwedagon pagoda that presides over Yangon and addressed a crowd variously estimated
between 300,000 and one million individuals. In 1991, Aung San Suu Kyi won the Nobel Peace
Prize. The eyes of the world suddenly became focused on this slight, Buddhist woman locked in
her home, forbidden from picking up her award. But her captors came under international gaze
as well, and killing her now would be too reckless to make a move for the current military

“The Lady who frightens the Generals” – Fergal Keane, The Sunday Times

4.2 The Woman and Her Vision

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Aung San Suu Kyi is one of a large majority of people in Burma struggling for democracy. Her
aim is to help the people attain democracy without further violence or loss of life. She strongly
believes that the army should keep away from politics to preserve its own integrity, as well as for
the good of the nation.

She was offered freedom by Burma military government if she would leave the country (Burma),
but she refused. She refused it for her country and Burmese people. She knows she can get her
freedom back if she goes back to foreign country where her family has. She sacrifices her life to
fulfil her vision.

She also admitted that a life in politics holds no attraction for her. She is doing politics not
because of her interest but because of her father’s name and her country.

Furthermore, Aung San Suu Kyi’s idea of freedom is in the mainstream of Burmese thought and
therefore easily understood and widely accepted by the people. From the outset of her
involvement in the nation’s peaceful struggle, she offered a fresh vision of a free Burma where
the people might enjoy self-rule and basis human and civil rights. The Burma military leaders
and their supporters abroad often say that political freedom is an alien idea with no roots in
Burma. But, as Aung San Suu Kyi has argued, the idea of freedom in Burma has its root in the
religion and the traditions of the people, even though it was not claimed in its own right before
the advent of colonial rule.


4.3 The ability to articulate Her Vision

The political opposition to military rule has been led since 1988 by Aung San Suu Kyi, daughter
of martyred national hero Aung San. Since her return to Burma in 1988, she has attracted a broad
political following that has at times crossed ethic, class, and even military lines. Her vision,
charisma, and leadership carried her party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), to and
overwhelming victory in the 1990 parliamentary elections, despite attempts by the military
regime to hamper party building and campaign activities.
Although Suu Kyi was not allowed to run for election in the May 27, 1990, election, her party,
the NLD, much to the astonishment and chagrin of the military, won 80 percent of the legislative


4.4 Her Strong Convictions

"We will prevail because our cause is right, because our cause is just. ...History is on our side.
Time is on our side." – Aung San Suu Kyi
Aung San Suu Kyi was put under house arrest in Yangon for six years, until she was released in
July 1995 as the first time of detention when she returned from overseas. After releasing from the
first detention, she kept on doing democracy movement as her strong conviction.

She was again put under house arrest in September 2000, when she tried to travel to the city of
Mandalay, one part of Burma in defiance of travel restrictions.

She was released unconditionally in May 2002, but just over a year later she was put in prison
after a clash between her supporters and a government-backed mob in Depae Yin.

After that she was put under house arrested again in September 2003. Her self-confidence
encourages her to lead Burmese people as her strong vision by sacrificing herself. Even she is
still arrested frequently by the military government of Burma, she never gives up her belief and
she is still doing politic with her self-confidence.


She said “when I was in house arrest, here my own, I would come down at night and walk
around and look up at my father’s photograph and feel very close to him. I would like to say to
him then: It’s you and me, father, against them”

The lastly she said to Burmese people is “Hope for the best, Prepare for the worst “It’s indicates
that she order her civilians not to give up and fall down our hope and self-confidence.

4.5 Behaviors of Aung San Suu Kyi

Aung San Suu Kyi is exactly her father’s daughter in many ways – superbly intelligent, honest,
fearless and tough. If ever given a chance to her, what sort of leader would she be?

Given her intellect and her emergence as a vigorous campaigner and an eloquent speaker, there is
no reason to doubt that as a leader of the elected parliament, that is free to govern the nation, she
probably would have no hesitation in accepting the responsibilities and challenges imposed by
leadership. Her power to inspire devotion and enthusiasm would be a major asset in getting
support for the difficult and unpopular choices she doubt would have been called upon to make.


The depth of her profound understanding and her loyalty to her people gain her an endless
support from the country. She knows how to inspire her people with her caring and honesty.

4.6 Her Sensitivity towards the Environment

Aung San Suu Kyi is one of a large majority of people in Burma struggling for democracy. She
stands for the public of Burma to get the human right and freedom by sacrificing her life and her
future. She is a charismatic and effective leader of National League for Democracy for her

She gave many speeches to public and in one of her speech she declared her strong desire as “We
may live in a society that does not grant freedom of expression but we can decide how much
value we wish to put on the duty to speak out for our rights. We may not be able to pursue our
beliefs without bringing down on us the full vengeance of a cruel state mechanism but we can
decide how much we are prepared to sacrifice for our beliefs. Those of us who decided to work
for democracy in Burma made our choice in the conviction that the danger of standing up for
basic human rights in a respective society was preferable to the safety of a quiescent life in
servitude”. According to this speech, people can know Aung San Suu Kyi’s desire clearly and
they want to follow her steps only by her speech. She does not have power like military
government but she can still influence on people.


5. Conclusion

In conclusion, as a leadership, even though she is still under house arrest, the Nobel Prize-
winning resistance leader is a symbol of hope in the struggle of democracy in Burma till this day.
And her extraordinary commitment to the people will always shown as a power, which is
powerless. Aung San Su Kyi, the woman known even to her enemies as “The Lady” continues to
struggle for the democracy in this tragic land, Burma.

6. References
• Suu Kyi (1995), edited by Michael Aris. Freedom from Fear and other writings. New
York: Penguin.
• Aung San Suu Kyi and Alan Clements, Letters from Burma. New York: Penguin

• Whitney Stewart. Fearless Voice of Burma, Twenty-First Century.

• Barbara Victor. Lady: Aung San Suu Kyi: Nobel Laureate and Burma’s Prisoner.
UK: Faber and Faber.

• Kanbawza Win. The Lady: Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.

• The Extraordinary Leader: Turning Good Managers into Great Leader. By John
H.Zenger, Joe Folkman and Joseph Folkman,

• Charismatic Leadership by Luis Vega, September 17, 2004

• Chris Winder, The Best ways to multiply the Extraordinary Leadership in your

• Carl Graeber, What is self-confidence?

• David S. Corderman, What is Leadership?