Oprah Winfrey: A Leadership Profile

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By any definition of the word, Oprah Winfrey is a leader, someone who has the influence and power to guide others. And when you look at the definition of charismatic – possessing an extraordinary ability to attract - there is no denying that Winfrey would transcend normal leadership to be categorized as a charismatic leader. Although she does lead groups of employees in her media empire, her leadership influence is primarily seen in her ability to influence viewers of The Oprah Winfrey Show and readers of ‘O’ magazine. In what is often called “The Oprah Effect”, when Oprah endorses an idea or product, everyone wants a piece of it. For example, when Oprah began her book club in 1996 whereby she selected a book for discussion on her show and encouraged her audience to read the book, she single-handedly bolstered the publishing industry and book sales (Hussain, 2007). We’re talking about the type of spike in sales that have never before been seen in history. She has been called the most influential person in the world. According to Wong (2006), you won’t see Oprah doing traditional endorsements such as getting paid to have her name associated with any certain brand of clothing or shoes, but rather Winfrey aims to share what she is passionate about with others. And if you happen to be in the business of selling something Oprah is passionate about, then you are in for a windfall. Her influence, however, goes beyond spiking retail sales. That is simply a fortunate by-product of sharing what she is passionate about and she is passionate about more than just products. She is also passionate about philanthropy and education. As with everything else Winfrey is passionate about, she is able to inspire others to be passionate about philanthropy and education too. The purpose of my research was to find out what makes Oprah Winfrey such a charismatic leader. How is

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