Ronald Raegan’s Charismatic Leadership Style

Ronald Raegan’s Charismatic Leadership Style


Columbia Southern University

Ronald Raegan was an American politician who served as the 40th President of the United States. Before becoming president, he was an actor, trade union leader, and governor of California. Ronald Raegan was a charismatic leader and an excellent communicator.

Charisma is defined as an individual’s quality or power to influence or inspire others. According to Robert House’s charismatic leadership theory, followers attribute heroic or extraordinary leadership abilities when they observe certain behaviors (Gary Yukl 1993). Leaders with charisma display certain characteristics and behaviors such as having a vision, sensitivity to followers needs, and unconventional behavior.

Ronald Raegan was a persuasive speaker and used wittiness and humor to engage the American population and gain their respect and trust. He appealed to a sense of understanding through his use of symbolism and metaphors that went beyond actual words and was considered an expert at using sentimental images to communicate novel ideas. (Bell, 2013). He was a visionary leader and was able to clearly convey his vision for the United States with passion and vigor to the American people. His vision was conservative and promoted individual freedom, low taxes, smaller government, strong national defense, and as strong economy.

He was also able to capture the admiration and trust of American citizens because he displayed courage and conviction and was willing to take personal risks, including his own political career in order to pursue what he believed to be right and true. And best for the nation. The American people believed his ideas were genuine and admired him for his honesty.

President Raegan managing his administration by delegating tasks to his staff. He believed he didn’t have to be involved in the day-to-day tasks as long as his vision and policy was being implemented. He was known to have established strong teams and did not like to micromanage activities. He allowed them to operate with autonomy.

The charismatic leadership theory can be used to understand how leaders influences followers. Charismatic leadership as a theory has a mutual quality. Charismatic leaders must be perceived as charismatic and must express themselves with expertise, vision, and be sensitive to followers. Ronald Reagan is an excellent example of charismatic leadership. He brought effective communication, vision, integrity, humor, and delegation when there were social, economic, and foreign policy crises facing the nation.


Yukl, Gary (1993) A retrospective on Robert House’s “1976 theory of charismatic leadership” and recent revisions. Science Direct, Retrieved from

Bell, R. Mark (2013). Charismatic Leadership Case Study with Ronald Raegan as Exemplar. Emerging Leadership Journeys, Vol.65 Iss. 1, pp. 83- 91. Retrieved from

Fragouli, Evangella (July 2018). The dark-side of charisma and charismatic leadership. Business & Management Review (Conference Proceedings), Vol. 9 Issue 4, p298-307