The Dynamics of Power - Part 3 - Characteristics of Leadership

in psychology •  last year 

Social Reality: Violence, Power, and Change
The Dynamics of Power - Part 3 - Characteristics of Leadership

On this series on the Dynamics of Power in Part 1 we talked about the Legitimacy of Authority and in Part 2 about the Models of Leadership and in this post we will analyze the Characteristics of Leadership,. followed by two posts about the Interrelationship and Decision-making processes.
Leadership is a phenomenon where a person invested with hierarchical Power interacts in a group, using a set of interpersonal influences in a given context and the communication processes to create motivation to achieve determined strategic results.
"I think it only makes sense to seek out and identify structures of authority, hierarchy, and domination in every aspect of life, and to challenge them; unless a justification for them can be given, they are illegitimate, and should be dismantled, to increase the scope of human freedom". - Noam Chomsky
Another definition was given in the previous post showing that the culture Culture (Past) of the system conditionates the Political , Economic and Organizational Climate(present) that is transformed by Leadership and people (Future) to be reabsorbed in the Culture.

1- The Potential of Leadership

The Potential of Leadership can be expressed in how much Power one individual can get under the influence of a group and situational factors.
We are not going to focus in the perspective of the leader's traits of or attributes, but how their personality creates a process of identification in the subordinated., like self-confidence and interpersonal sensitivity (normally not seen in autocratic leadership).
We want to know the conditions for the emergence of leaders with influence and legitimated by the process of their acceptance by the people.

The desire of being a Leader normally attracts people that support and accepted his/her position, using motivation and rewarding to influence in a positive way and accomplish tasks that need to be led by a central person.
The Potential of Leadership is determined by the group and the situation conditions, that augments the latent capacities of the leader based on the personal history and social experiences.


Other studies emphasized the dimension of the valence of Leadership that is expressed in individuals that contribute more for the situations their group problem-solving capacity, based in the positive power of attraction for identification (influence without imposition) or a negative one (coercion and punishment).
This is based on the assumption people have that the actions of the leader respond to their needs.
So the Potential for Leadership is a function of people's evaluation how the leader responds to their expectancies.

2 - The Leader with Charisma

In social day-to-day life, the chief alone is seen as the vortex of the social tissue's organization and stabilization.
"One leader, one people, signifies one master and millions of slaves". - Albert Camus
Weber in 1947 identified the concept of the authority of the charismatic Leader based in subjective possession of a "gift" of qualities of creating people's affective dependency based on love and admiration.
"Recognition by those who are dominated decides the validity of the charism" - Max Weber
Moscovici proved that this reciprocity was a mystification based on the illusion that people have to be like, and depend on the leader, subordinating their will with voluntary acceptance of submission.
Weber saw charismatic leaders as a kind of prophets to define new rules and beliefs for the functioning of society, and they are obeyed, feared, and followed on the base of exemplary qualities.Weber recognized that charisma is irrational because it is empowered by "magical powers", that reveals the hidden ideal of the ego of people in the process of identication.
As Freud said,the leader is the ideal of our ego by identification.
"Power is the domain, the control, and therefore a very selective form of truth, which is a lie." - Wole Soyinka Seneca

3- Leadership as a Style

The problem with ancient theories of Leadership is to see the leader as a static capacity of a person to be a leader in any circumstances.
That's where the concept of Style associated with malleability to choose a style in the function of his personal inclinations that responds to the situation, the structuring of the tasks, and subordinates demands.
We are going to finish this post with Kets the Vries, that in 1980 described five types of leaders with styles associated with pathologies like neurosis, psychosis, and depression: The compulsive, the theatrical, the depressive, the paranoid and the schizoid.

  • The Compulsive - he/she is afraid of the forthcoming events, so he standardizes, programs rigidly, and prepares obsessively every detail, and uses domination and submission so that there is no space for the subordinates to have initiative.
  • The Theatrical - is a controller that has a fixation on the desire of being ahead of the situations, and he takes unreflective measures, in an impulsive way, even assumes contradictions and incongruent risks, just to satisfy his/her will for power. He takes credit for any success and totally minimizes people and blocks ascendent communication making people feel totally dominated and coerced.
  • The Depressive - with low self-esteem and feeling hopeless to change events he/she sticks to the old rules and programs, and have total resistance to change, using mainly bureaucratic control, coercion and to generate total passivity.
  • The Paranoid - He/she doesn't trust anybody and is always looking for hidden motives hostile to him/her so he minuciously spies, watch, pursuit to confirm their suspicions. She/ He is allergic to change, creativity and innovation making people feel asfixiated, diluded, insecure, and helpless.
  • The Schizoid - is always afraid of the consequences of interacting with others, and tries to escape by isolation, nervousness, incoherence and without objectives, and people have to make decisions, and fight for it but always unconsciously waiting for the boss approval.
  • This fixed categories are very difficult to find in reality pure "caricatures" of this state, but they are combined in people's personality, that can have more then one pathology trait that ifluences the Style of Leadership. On this series on the Dynamics of Power in Part 1 we talked about the Legitimacy of Authority and in Part 2 about the Models of Leadership, in this post we have analyzed the Characteristics of Leadership, and the next two posts are about the Interrelationship and Decision-making processes.

    Last posts in this series on Social Reality: Violence, Power and Change Introduction:

    Social Reality: Violence, Power and Change

    A - Violence:

    An Introduction to Violence The Concepts of Violence, Aggression, and Aggressiveness The Theories on Violence The influencers of Violence -Part One - Culture and Social Context The influencers of Violence -Part Two - Social , Cognitive and Environmental Factors The ascend of Today's Violence

    B -Power:

    What is Power? - Introduction The Nature of Power The Dynamics of Power:

    Articles from the next series of posts about Social Reality, Violence, Power and Change:

    • Part 4 - The Relation in Leadership
    • Part 5 - Decision-making and Leadership
    The Effects and Consequences of Power

    C - Change:

    Change and Culture The Theories and conceptualization of Change Factors determining Change The ways of Change Social Change

    References consulted:

    Les concepts fondamentaux de la psychologie sociale - Gustave-Nicolas Fischer
    La psychologie sociale - Gustave-Nicolas Fischer
    The social-violence dynamics, Power, change - Gustave-Nicolas Fischer Planeta / ISPA, 1980
    Gustave-Nicolas Fischer is Professor of Psychology and Director of the Psychology Laboratory at the University of Metz.
    French, J. R. P., and Raven, B.H. (1959). The bases of social Power.
    Raven, B. H. and Rubin, J. Z. (1976). Social psychology: People in groups
    Castel, R. The metamorphoses of the social question. Voices, 1998.
    Moscovici, S. (1976). Social influence and social change. London: Academic Press
    Michel Foucault, Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison
    Festinger, L. (1954). A theory of social comparison processes. Human Relations,
    French, J. R. P., Morrison, H. W., and Levinger, G. (1960). Coercive Power and forces affecting conformity
    Dahl, R.A. (1957), The Concept of Power.
    Giddens, Anthony, Capitalism and Modern Social Theory: An Analysis of the Writings of Marx, Durkheim and Max Weber, 1971.
    Grabb, Edward G., Theories of Social Inequality: Classical and Contemporary Perspectives,1990.
    Weber, Max, Economy and Society: An Outline of Interpretive Sociology, 1968.
    Porter, L. and Lawler, E. (1968). Atitudes e Performances Administrativas. Homewood, Ill.: Dorsey Press.
    Vroom, V. (1964). Trabalho e Motivação. Nova Iorque: Jon Wiley and Sons.
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Yeah, whether the compulsive, the theatrical, depressive, paranoid or schizoid, all of them are embodying great inner fears not having been dealt with. And it is all these fears which dictate their decision-making. So we come back again to the most-embraced method these days: the best way to avoid fear is to cause others to have fear....

Thanks once again for these linguistically and content-wise high level reads!

The leader is not made with the position held. But leaders make a position. There are characteristics that make leaders stand out. This characteristic is similar to plastic surgery to be comfortable so that it becomes part of the body. This kind of person makes leadership look easy. Great leaders do not have to be communications experts, reliable salesmen, or even humorists. They have a person who says, "I have a high personal integrity and respect for people and life." The essence of this person comes from who they are, not what is said or done. They want the leader's actions, because they will lose charisma if a leader does not keep his promise. Employees and customers are no longer easily fooled by rhetoric and charisma. Great leaders have much better legality than those who are led. The skill of great leaders is to motivate people to be leaders themselves.

Power as an aspect of domination and the other is to maintain it.
I don't believe that people need leaders, but like we said we can educate any citizen to be an agent of change.
Leadership is about centralized power, oligarchic organizations that are getting too big, blind, deaf and dumb to feel people's needs and opinions.
Power as to be decentralized too and have to give back the inalienable rights of every person.
Political leaders usurps the rights of people.
Montesquieu said that there was to kinds of corruption: one when people do not observe the Law and the other is when the Law corrupts them and erases the difference between colect taxes and theft.

Leadership must be responsible
And be responsible for any defect that occurs and must be held accountable when making mistakes

Today's leadership is irresponsible and works for the big capital interests.
We need agents of change instead of leaders
Agents of Change act with goals focused on the overall needs of each community and not on their own needs or external interests. In the future, each citizen will be an agent of change in the decentralized communities.

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