Charisma in leaders is often an illusion

The charisma that people might associate with their bosses is often an illusion. This is the finding of new research published in the Journal of Management, which showed that individuals often attribute such qualities to leaders as a consequence of 'magical thinking'.

Investigators from Columbia Business School, the University of California Los Angeles and California State University found that bosses often veil the ways in which they accomplish what they do - similar to a stage magician.

Professor Michael Morris, who leads Columbia Business School's Programme on Social Intelligence - which aims to improve a student's self-awareness and decision-making - said: "Winning in business and political endeavours comes not only from performing well, but also from managing the interpretations that others make of your performance."

The authors stated the findings suggest firms recruiting executives should consider more than a person's charisma, as relying solely on this could mean a limit is placed on the transfer of skills from a manager to those beneath him or her.

Dr Jo Beale, Chartered Psychologist, commented: "Prominent researchers in this field argue that leaders also need to demonstrate authenticity. Revealing a weakness or some vulnerability shows your followers that you are genuine and approachable."